A walk around The Point...
Many bird species nest and breed at Sunderland. Swallows, Coot, Starling, Collared Dove, Moorhen and Martins are prominent in Summer months as well as numerous species of tit, finch, thrush and warblers. Curlew and Peewit provide spectacular shows of sight and sound out on the salt marsh. Waders and sea birds are equally visible and the sight of the Heron in the morning a lovely addition to the sunrise.
Sunderland Point is an important stopping off point for many migrating birds as similar habitat has been lost to developments in elsewhere on the coast. The rare sound of night-time bird song is heard frequently as the tide comes in and covers the land where birds have been resting or looking for food.
The varied habitat - farmland, beach, mudflat, salt marsh, fresh and salt water all within a mile or so mean that a walk around the Point gives the chance to see a wide variety of bird life. The list below were all seen on one Winter’s day - January 1st 2006:
- Hedge Sparrow
- Blue Tit
- Knot Redshank
- Peregrine Falcon
- Little Egret
- Pied Wagtail
The Point itself is at the edge of two migratory routes - south down the Lune & south along the West shore. Armed with binoculars, even an amateur bird watcher can see hundreds (if not thousands) of birds as they pass the Point end and the West Shore.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds assesses the populations of birds and maintains red, amber and green lists to indicate the health of populations. There is significant concern for birds on the red and amber lists. Of birds on the Red List, the following are seen in Sunderland Point:
Lapwing - Dunlin - Black-tailed Godwit - Grey Partridge - Linnet - House Sparrow - Tree Sparrow - Reed Bunting, - Skylark - Song Thrush - Twite
Over thirty birds from the Amber List can also be seen around the Point. From Autumn to Winter, particularly, it is spectacular to watch as birds are pushed from the sand banks to the salt marsh (or Merse) for the high tide roost.
Tide tables should be consulted before visiting. Both the
Causeway and car park are likely to be under several feet of water for 1 to 2 hours before and after high tide.
DO NOT RISK IT!
Heron diving for fish, reflected in the water and in the splash
Shelduck and chicks taking to the water
A mute swan about to take off