We had quiet morning to prepare ourselves for the next part of the journey but decided to visit Low Newton again later. It was a damp sort of evening with rain beginning to settle in. The Ship Pub & Brewery had impressed us a few days before, since they brewed on the premises we decided to go back and to sample some more of their brews. Not only the beer was enjoyable but the company that we encountered was not only that but informative as well. The place was packed with people eating at all the tables. We took our pints outside and spoke to a couple from Leicestershire who were into birding and photography. They said that within half a mile of where we were staying was a colony of terns at Long Nanny Burn. The rain increased so we moved back to the bar. Standing there were two guys that we now know as Andy from Falmouth and Geoff from Bristol. They were on the southern leg of Kayaking around Britain and having started from Falmouth they were on their way home. What an adventure that must be and we gave them full credit for even thinking about doing it let alone giving it a go. They were stocking up on calories as they had only emergency food with them and a tent to protect them from the wonderful wet summer. They said that they had to shelter for 14 days in total with three of the days being consecutive. I remarked that the wildlife would be wonderful as they would be so close to it being only inches above the water. I think that their best encounters were with three groups of sea otters on the west coast of Scotland and also eagles. Great stuff for they have our respect and we hope that they have a safe onward voyage. You see, it pays to go for a beer even if the only excuse is to do research and get something to write about. Even Prince Charles is going there next Tuesday when he visits the region to support small businesses. I say ‘good for him’.
The following morning we visited the tern colony, saw Common Terns in flight and managed to get a shot on camera. It is a protected RSPB site which can be ‘googled’ for more information. Next, came a visit to The Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre at Washington, right on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland. This is a relatively small site but with some great community activity as well as ancient woodland, wet areas and fresh water ponds. We had great views of Lapwing, Shoveller, Redshank and Grey Heron. The wintering birds had still to arrive which will increase the population significantly. The small birds are there but we had not sufficient time to find them and these would have included Bullfinch, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and other warblers. I did however see one Willow Warbler. I would love to spend a day there.