A great coastal site in Scot­land named af­ter a con­ser­va­tion pi­o­neer

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - JOHN MILES

JOHN MUIR WAS born in nearby Dun­bar, and made his name in the USA as an early ad­vo­cate of the preser­va­tion of wilder­ness, helping cre­ate na­tional parks and the en­vi­ron­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion, Sierra Club. This park is named af­ter him, along with a 130-mile walk­ing route that passes through it. The 1,740 acre site is made up of the River Tyne and its es­tu­ary, along with mud­flats and salt­marsh, grass­land and scrub. A rocky promon­tory of St Bal­dred’s Cra­dle (named af­ter a Northum­brian her­mit) lies at the mouth of the River Tyne. Waders are a ma­jor rea­son to go bird­ing here, with a long-stay­ing Semi­pal­mated Sand­piper in 2010 putting the park on the map. Win­ter­ing waders in­clude Oys­ter­catcher, Curlew, Lap­wing, Grey Plover, Dun­lin, Ringed Plover and Bar-tailed God­wit, with pas­sage waders in­clud­ing Ruff, Spot­ted Red­shank, Green­shank, Whim­brel, Lit­tle Ringed Plover, Curlew Sand­piper and Lit­tle Stint. Other rare waders have in­cluded Buff-breasted, White-rumped and Pec­toral Sand­pipers and Dot­terel. Wi­geon winter in the area along with Teal and Mal­lard, while off­shore, Common Scoter flocks can con­tain Vel­vet Scoter and Long­tailed Duck. Both Shel­duck and Red-breasted Mer­gansers can be found along with Gold­en­eye in winter but the beaches some­times are home to both Snow and La­p­land Bunt­ing, with a record 12 Shore Larks in 2010. Seafield Pond at­tracts sev­eral duck species, with Tufted, Pochard and even Gar­ganey in summer pos­si­ble. Hed­der­wick Plan­ta­tion in the park of­fers you mixed wood­land birds, from Great Spot­ted and Green Wood­peck­ers to finches.

Grey Plover


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