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East coast or West coast UK

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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 20:22   #1
rokermartin
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East coast or West coast UK

If you had a choose where would you move to for birdwatching the east coast or west coast.I live on the east coast and i think it's excellent for seeing a good variety of bird species.On the east coast you get falls of migrants,breeding seabirds and skuas,petrels,shearwaters,divers grebes seaducks Little Auks flying past.It has excellent migration hot spots like Spurn,Holy Island,St Abbs,Teeside,The Farnes,Filey,Flamborough,Bempton the Norfolk and Suffolk coast etc.I think i would find the west coast a bit boring especially at migrations times i would miss seeing YB Warblers,Greenish Warblers,Pallas's Warblers,RB Shrikes,Wrynecks, falls of migrants and all the rarities that the east coast gets as well as all the seabirds.But on the other hand the west coast has huge numbers of geese,swans and wildfowl that winter and nature reserves such as Martin Mere,Leighton Moss,Hilbre Island,St Bees for Black Guillemot and the Solway Firth.

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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 20:45   #2
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Well as a west coaster, i'd have to say i'd have a house on the Wirral (preferably next to Jane so I can get all those rarities she has) but a place at Flamborough or Filey would prove very tempting!!


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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 21:01   #3
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I was thinking about this the other day as I was visiting Aberlady Bay. The shores around the Forth are so much more productive than those around the Clyde where I live, but I'd probably still prefer to stay on the west coast, the islands and different landscapes all up and down the west coast of Scotland make it special for me.

Plus I can get to Aberlady Bay in about 1.5 hours, so living where I do makes getting around to such varied places really easy. Loch Lomond and the Highlands to the north, Fife, East Lothian, Kinross to the east, Dumfries-shire to the south and the Ayrshire coast to the south-west.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 21:12   #4
rokermartin
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I was thinking about this the other day as I was visiting Aberlady Bay. The shores around the Forth are so much more productive than those around the Clyde where I live, but I'd probably still prefer to stay on the west coast, the islands and different landscapes all up and down the west coast of Scotland make it special for me.

Plus I can get to Aberlady Bay in about 1.5 hours, so living where I do makes getting around to such varied places really easy. Loch Lomond and the Highlands to the north, Fife, East Lothian, Kinross to the east, Dumfries-shire to the south and the Ayrshire coast to the south-west.
Where i am situated in Sunderland it takes about 3 hours to get to Aberlady and 2 hours to get to Leighton Moss.So i am in a handy position to get to the west coast if i want to.I have to agree with you there are some beautiful places on the west coast of Scotland and some special birds.

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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 21:15   #5
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Has to be the east coast Martin, though i would move about 60 mile further north given the chance.More than our fair share of wildfowl anyway and just think you might have missed the EC Warbler if you didnt live here.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 21:21   #6
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Has to be the east coast Martin, though i would move about 60 mile further north given the chance.More than our fair share of wildfowl anyway and just think you might have missed the EC Warbler if you didnt live here.
Thats a good point Adam about the EC Warbler.The west coast does get a few rarities but nothing like the number that the east coast gets.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 21:28   #7
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Just out of interest Martin, if you had the choice would you live anywhere other than the north east?
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 21:48   #8
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I live on the west here in Wales and although we do have a fair amount of good stuff, for real variety it's got to be East.

I look longingly at the scarcity reports coming in and there's always a diversity of stuff being blown in over the North Sea. It takes a real strong storm and an initially very strong bird to get across the Atlantic, and even then Ireland manages to get the best stuff.

'Fraid for birding it would have to be East coast but as a Welshie, I guess I'll just have those big diesel bills coming over to Norfolk and the likes to bump up my UK list!
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 21:51   #9
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Just out of interest Martin, if you had the choice would you live anywhere other than the north east?
It would have to be Norfolk you are spoilt for birds there all year round.Winter time you get thousands of geese,wildfowl,swans,good numbers of raptors,Snow Buntings grebes,divers ,sea ducks,Hawfinches etc,spring is excellent for rarities and passage birds ,summer you have the breeding birds,Stone Curlews,Woodlarks,Golden Orioles,Honey Buzzards,Monty Harriers,Nightjars,Nightingales,Cranes,Bitterns, Avocets,autumn can be amazing for falls of migrants and rarities.I dont think you can beat Norfolk for birds.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 21:54   #10
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It would have to be Norfolk you are spoilt for birds there all year round.Winter time you get thousands of geese,wildfowl,swans,good numbers of raptors,Snow Buntings grebes,divers ,sea ducks,Hawfinches etc,spring is excellent for rarities and passage birds ,summer you have the breeding birds,Stone Curlews,Woodlarks,Golden Orioles,Honey Buzzards,Monty Harriers,Nightjars,Nightingales,Cranes,Bitterns,Avocets,autumn can be amazing for falls of migrants and rarities.I dont think you can beat Norfolk for birds.
Thats a pretty convincing arguement Martin,it would have to be Northumberland for me not because its better than anywhere else for birds as such but i just love the place.
I dont think we do too bad in little old Sunderland though when you think of some of the rarities we've had pretty much within walking distance and the sea watching can be very good.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 22:00   #11
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Thats a pretty convincing arguement Martin,it would have to be Northumberland for me not because its better than anywhere else for birds as such but i just love the place.
I dont think we do too bad in little old Sunderland though when you think of some of the rarities we've had pretty much within walking distance and the sea watching can be very good.
Adam agree Northumberland is a excellent county for birds i think it's even better than Durham.I wouldn't mind living on the Yorkshire coast that can be amazing for birds especially Spurn.I would say Spurn is the best migration place on the east coast.It has had a string of rarities over the years.It had Pacific Swift and Little Swift on the same day a few years ago.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 22:05   #12
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Adam agree Northumberland is a excellent county for birds i think it's even better than Durham.I wouldn't mind living on the Yorkshire coast that can be amazing for birds especially Spurn.I would say Spurn is the best migration place on the east coast.It has had a string of rarities over the years.It had Pacific Swift and Little Swift on the same day a few years ago.
Yes Spurn seems to be very good, i guess the grass is always greener on the other side though where ever you are something will turn up elsewhere but all in all i think we're in a pretty good spot as we are and its fairly easy to travel in any direction without too much trouble.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 22:14   #13
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Yes Spurn seems to be very good, i guess the grass is always greener on the other side though where ever you are something will turn up elsewhere but all in all i think we're in a pretty good spot as we are and its fairly easy to travel in any direction without too much trouble.
I dont think i would move from where we live as you say it's a pretty good spot for getting elsewhere.Tell you one thing i would hate to live inland somewhere. I feel a bit sorry for inland birdwatchers missing out on falls of migrants and seabirds etc.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 22:31   #14
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I go to Spurn every autumn for a weekend (usually the weekend that turns up nothing other than westerlies) but I enjoy it all the same. Most of my rarities have been in the area. As a Shropshire man through and through I do feel a pull for the North Wales coast. Some excellent birding to be had around the Orme and onto Anglesey, though for shear numbers of birds, you can't beat the east...

As you say Rokermartin, it can be a bit grim being inland, the Firecest currently on the Wrekin is a big bird for us.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 22:52   #15
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I go to Spurn every autumn for a weekend (usually the weekend that turns up nothing other than westerlies) but I enjoy it all the same. Most of my rarities have been in the area. As a Shropshire man through and through I do feel a pull for the North Wales coast. Some excellent birding to be had around the Orme and onto Anglesey, though for shear numbers of birds, you can't beat the east...

As you say Rokermartin, it can be a bit grim being inland, the Firecest currently on the Wrekin is a big bird for us.
Some inland places are not to bad.I can think of one which does exceptionally well Farmoor reservoir it's had Sabine's Gull,Long tailed Skua,Buff-bellied pipit,Water pipits,American Black Tern,Black Terns,WW Black Terns.It must be one of the best inland sites in the uk for birds.Also Rutland Water is a good inland site.

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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 23:07   #16
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pity none of them are in Shropshire
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 07:33   #17
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Its a bit of a silly argument as it very much depends what you want to see.

The Westernmost point of the British mainland (here's a weird fact) is the Point of Ardnamurchan. From there you can see Pinkfeet, Greylags and Whoopers leaving for their breeding grounds in driven snow in March/April; Great Northern Divers and Black Guillemots in immaculate summer plumage; the odd passing White-tailed Sea Eagle; cetaceans including Common, White-beaked, Bottlenose and Risso's Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, Minke Whales and Orcas; Otters of course; newts in the pools on top of the headland; assorted seabirds including huge rafts of Manx Shearwaters and at the right times of year up to four species of skua; flockettes of Twite - on and on, and that's just at the Point itself. Back from there are locans with Teal and Wigeon, moors with Curlew and Lapwing, Red Deer, Hen Harriers, Short-eared Owls, Golden Eagles, Peregrines and Merlins, and then the sun goes down and the Tawnies and Barn Owls appear, the Pine Martens and Wildcats respectively bounce and slink about, Woodcock feed on the roadsides.....

You can have the east coast for me, its all right for a twitch I suppose but for a week....!

Gotta get back up there

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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 07:55   #18
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For me it's east coast. Although I've been to the west coast a few times and it was amazing (oh, wow yes!) in purely practical terms I find East Anglia a bit easier to travel around without a car and I love the places and birds I've seen here. The kites, ravens, dippers and seabird colonies of the west are big pluses for that side of the country and the gorgeous countryside and seascapes and islands like Skomer and Lundy, but here I can pretty easily get to lots of great coastal sites on the train or bus. Places like Southend, the Blackwater and Stour estuaries, the Naze and north Norfolk plus the inland reservoirs, rivers and woods give ample opportunity for me - the potential of which I've hardly scratched the surface of. I guess I'm also too much of a local lad really and easily pleased. I find plenty to watch around here and I love the East Anglian landscape even if it's often compromised by man and where I live in Essex is home of the chav.
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 07:55   #19
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I think you always defend your home area when it comes to comparisions. If it's just down to lists of rarities in the last few years, the NW of England has produced many goodies: Stilt Sand, White-th Sparrow, Wh-cr Sparrow, Hudsonian Whimbrel, White-tailed Lapwing, Little Swift, Pallid Swift, Chimney Swift, Great Knot, Paddyfield Warbler, American Herring Gull etc etc etc - to name just a few. The west coast gets more Melodious than the east, big movements of Leach's Petrels, better numbers of wildfowl and waders... Always pros and cons to any area, but it's not just rare and scarce birds that make the birding enjoyable. Lists of rarities mean nothing.
Personally, I prefer east coast birding, just because thats what I was brought up on. Given a choice on where to live in the UK? Definitely not Norfolk - far too many birders! Maybe Cornwall? I enjoy Durham at the moment because most people ignore it - easy to have a great days birding and not see another birder.
Given totally free choice, I'd be out of this country in a flash and be living in Goa.
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 08:04   #20
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You're right on both counts! We do tend to defend our 'patch' and Norfolk does have a rather high number of scope carriers! I do love the place though, the pace of life there is great and even though the honeypots can be busy it's still easy to go out into the country and see few people but lots of wildlife. A lot of the visitors only appear during the day too so I found that the good times at either end of the day are usually pretty peaceful, especially if the weather isn't perfect - ideal for a bit of Barn Owl or Bat watching. The locals are very friendly too, I find the place very welcoming.
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 08:16   #21
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I suppose everyone has their favourite habitats and favourite type of watching. That's the good thing about birding, everyone can do their own thing and get equal enjoyment.
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 09:45   #22
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The UK does of course have another good birding coast, the south! Mediterranean overshoots in spring, trickle down of east coast migrants in the autumn plus all the breeding and wintering birds, seabirds and yanks........ Just being a bit regionalist!!

O
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 10:38   #23
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At the rate the East coast is eroding it won't be long before us here in the West will have the best of both worlds - living in the West and just a short journey to the East!!!
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 11:06   #24
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The UK does of course have another good birding coast, the south! Mediterranean overshoots in spring, trickle down of east coast migrants in the autumn plus all the breeding and wintering birds, seabirds and yanks........ Just being a bit regionalist!!

O
I agree the south coast can be excellent for birds and it has some good reserves.
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 11:19   #25
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You're right on both counts! We do tend to defend our 'patch' and Norfolk does have a rather high number of scope carriers! I do love the place though, the pace of life there is great and even though the honeypots can be busy it's still easy to go out into the country and see few people but lots of wildlife. A lot of the visitors only appear during the day too so I found that the good times at either end of the day are usually pretty peaceful, especially if the weather isn't perfect - ideal for a bit of Barn Owl or Bat watching. The locals are very friendly too, I find the place very welcoming.
Reading on the Norfolk thread there are still quite alot of underwatched areas on the Norfolk coast.Birdwatchers tend to go to the hots spots like Holkam,Cley,Twitchwell,etc.I am sure birdwatchers if they wanted to avoid the crowds could find some new interesting areas to check out and find there own rarities.I think bank holidays are the worst time for birdwatching and getting round in Norfolk with all the traffic on the coast road.
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