Back to Holy Island in late May for another birdwatching retreat. This time I was co-leading as the birding guide for a weekend event in The Open Gate's 2014 programme. Once again we went to see the colony of Arctic and Little Terns at the 'Long Nanny' reserve south of Beadnell. Despite the rain we all enjoyed our Saturday afternoon visit, watching Arctic Terns close by, including the prolonged intimacies of a mating pair performing only feet away.

The rest of our birdwatching was done on the island itself where the weather stayed dry for us. Saturday morning at Holy Island Lough provided a wonderful trio of singing Reed Bunting, Sedge and Reed Warblers, giving us the opportunity to compare their songs. But my highlight came on Sunday. Having picnic lunch on a sandy beach in warm sunshine was a magical moment as we watched a large flock of Sanderling in their adult summer plumage of contrasting rufous brown and white feeding on the kelp while Fulmars were flying overhead - back and forth to their nests on the sandstone cliff next to us. It was truly special and I didn't want to leave.

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