The phone rang 2pm on Saturday with news of the Ivory Gull at Seahouses Golf Course...surely still just time for a quick dash to the coast. The unexpected lack of a crowd at SGC, and cars accelerating sharply south suggested Beadnell might be worth a try; sure enough, chaps lugging scopes confirmed there were 'two' (TWO?) in the bay- 'just follow that path to the shore'. But yet another gaggle of birders there indicated a 'Lowry-like group of matchstick men' on the rocks way to the north....... the birds had flown yet again. Following a brisk walk towards Annstead Beach ( I don't do fast) and out over the seaweed covered rocks to join the others, I was finally rewarded with great views of these young gulls on a skerry just offshore. ( No doubt the Ivory Gulls were driven south from their High Arctic abode by the recent severe gales).
We waited patiently for the next twenty minutes anticipating the moment when the incoming tide would cover their skerry; then we all enjoyed that magic moment when they took off northwards heading towards Seahouses.... revealing the full beauty of the delicate black etching lines of their plumage. The light was fading fast by the time I retraced my steps to Beadnell, but not before a spectacular red sunset briefly lit up the Cheviots...........a fitting end to a memorable afternoon.