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Coquet Island and Amble

From Opus

Photo by Delia Todd Amble Estuary at Warkworth
Photo by Delia Todd
Amble Estuary at Warkworth

England, Northumberland


[edit] Overview

A low, flat-topped island just off the coast of Northumberland, Coquet Island is a RSPB reserve. Amble is a town on the adjacent mainland, at the mouth of the River Coquet, the estuary of which has a good area of tidal sand and mud attractive to waders.

[edit] Birds

[edit] Notable Species

Coquet Island, a kilometre offshore from the small town of Amble, is best known for its terns with Common Tern, Arctic Tern and Sandwich Tern breeding and also good numbers of the rare Roseate Tern. This is the British stronghold for this declining species and an upsurge in numbers in the early 2000s resulted in a rise from 34 pairs in 2000 to a peak of 111 pairs in 2015; in 2016 there were 104 pairs. The period for seeing the Roseate Terns is mid May to early September. In addition to the terns, there are breeding Common Eider and Atlantic Puffin.

The River Coquet meets the sea at Amble and the harbour and estuary here are always worth checking for gulls, waders and seaduck in winter and during passage periods. Most of the commoner northern waders can be seen here including Jack Snipe as well as Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Common Eider, and Common Shelduck. The 'Gut', a tidal channel on the north side of the estuary (accessed from Warkworth Beach Road car park) has recently been improved for wader habitat, and is one of the best places in Northumberland for Little Egret with up to 8 in late summer; it also held a wintering Spotted Redshank in the 2012-3 and 2013-4 winters. The sand dunes north of the estuary hold breeding Stonechats, and the beach just east of here can be a good area for wintering Snow Buntings.

[edit] Rarities

A Bridled Tern summered on Coquet Island in 1988, with perhaps the same individual visiting briefly in 1992. A Pallid Harrier on the Coquet estuary briefly on 9 September 2015 was the first Northumberland record of this species. Rare waders recorded on the Coquet estuary mudflats include Long-billed Dowitcher, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and Wilson's Phalarope. A careful search through the harbour's gulls may reveal the odd Mediterranean Gull, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull or Caspian Gull; a returning bird of the last bearing a yellow colour-ring lettered PKCS, ringed in southern Poland, was present in late summers of 2015 and 2016.

[edit] Check-list

Birds you can see here include:

Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Northern Fulmar, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Common Shelduck, Mallard, Common Eider, Common Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Merlin, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Jack Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Roseate Tern, Atlantic Puffin, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Common Wren, European Stonechat, Snow Bunting

[edit] Other Wildlife

Grey Seals are commonly seen around the island. Offshore, Harbour Porpoise, White-beaked Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin are all reasonably regular, and Minke Whale occasional.

[edit] Site Information

[edit] Areas of Interest

The mudflats and river can be viewed from the picnic area at Amble Braid.

[edit] Access and Facilities

Coquet Island lies 1.5km offshore from the town of Amble. Boat trips around the island can be arranged in Amble in late spring and summer but landing is prohibited.

A range of accommodation is available in the area.

Grid reference: NU293045

[edit] Contact Details

RSPB Tel: 0191 233 4300

[edit] External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve


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