Talk by Tom Cadwallender ‘Tommy Noddies, Tarries and Cuddy Ducks’ on 7th November 2023

Tom Cadwallender, a renowned Ornithologist from Northumberland gave us an enthusiastic talk at Leyburn Methodist Church Hall, about Summer Birds of the Northumberland Coast.

He had found some ‘Cuddy Ducks’, or Eider Ducks, nesting unusually, under hedges on the mainland. Normally they nest on the islands. Newly hatched ducklings form creches of 30 or more with ‘Aunties’ helping these large groups to survive on the sea.

With some excellent photographs Tom took us to the Stacks of The Farne Islands where Guillemots crowd the cliffs and to

Inner Farne where ‘Tommy Noddies’ or Puffins dig burrows for their nests to protect their young, and bring in Sand Eels for their food.

Tom told us about Coquet Island where his favorite, Roseate Terns return, from migration to Southern Africa, to breed each year.

He explained how to differentiate between Arctic and Common Terns, and the exceptionally long route the Arctic Terns take to migrate to the Antarctic and back, which has been discovered by using Geolocators.

Arctic Tern with short red legs and a totally red beak.

It was interesting but sad to learn how populations of these seabirds have changed over the last 50 years and how after recovering from decline they have been severely hit by Avian flu in the last two years.