It was an early start this morning, picking up Phil at half seven and then heading north. Our destination, Holy Island, was almost an hour away. The journey up was quiet - a fox just north of Morpeth and a dare devil red-legged partridge were the highlights.
Parked up a Chare Ends, just as Stewart arrived - it's been a while since we last met. He was playing it cool, with time for a coffee before the walk up to the crooked lonnen. Phil and I headed straight off, with song thrush at the main car park making a belated addition to the year list.
Our target bird was jammed on the walk towards the assembled crowd - the cattle egret, a blocker for all but three of Northumberlands birding community, was in flight. Almost barn owl like in impression, the egret flew round the back if a cottage and onto a large area of flooded field where it fed for a short while. Possibly better than that was the long-eared owl that had also ventured out, landing on the fence in front for a few minutes!
The egret was distant to say the least, and when it took flight later it was only to go back into the confines of a secluded garden to feed on the lawn. Viewing was restricted to distant glimpses...
The journey back took in a few northern sites, but little was on offer - very blustery conditions meant sea watching was limited. And by golly it was cold!