Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Bits and bobs

A few bits and bobs from the last week. Temminck's Stint have been a feature this week and I managed 3 of the 4 at Back Saltholme, giving good, but distant views from the road.

The Red-necked Phalarope has returned to Grindon Lough for its third year, frustratingly on my visit it was hugging the southern bank and initially only visible by standing on the roof of the car.

An embarrassing miss from my Durham list got me down to Stoneybeck Lake, Bishop Middleham on Saturday after seawatching. The Egyptian Goose was distant (and ugly), but safely on the list.

Egyptian Goose
Back from here to Whitburn for the Turtle Dove that was showing well and coming to seed in a private garden.

Turtle Dove
Today I had great views in the sun of an adult Spoonbill at Boldon Flats, plus a singing Gateshead Spotted Flycatcher. Last night the 'squeaky-gate' calls of at least two juvenile Long-eared Owls revealed successful local breeding again this year.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Red-rumped Swallow

With nothing doing around Gateshead, plus news of a Red-rumped Swallow at Druridge and the hope that the rain would ground some waders, I headed north. Not expecting the swallow to hang around I even stopped in Cresswell for an ice-cream. I arrived at Druridge to see half a dozen birders looking back along the track towards me. Just overhead were now 2 Red-rumped Swallow. Held in place by the rain they gave superb views for 20 mins before the rain cleared and they drifted off.

Red-rumped Swallow

A flock

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Citrine Wagtail

Luckily the Citrine Wagtail at Lynemouth hung around for me to finish work. I was apprehensive driving to the coast as it got duller and foggier the closer I got. No need to worry as it was showing well, although fairly distantly, before flying closer. Eventually point-blank views as it walked the water's edge less than ten feet away.

Citrine Wagtail

On Thursday I had an unsuccessful trip to Boulmer, where the Dotterel had disappeared overnight, followed by an unsuccessful hunt for Wood Warbler. Loads of Pied Flycatcher and Redstart, plus my first Cuckoo of the year. A single Green Hairstreak was on the wing above Muggleswick.

Green Hairstreak
A text from George got me down to Shibdon where an unseasonal Whooper Swan had dropped in with a flock of Mutes.

Whooper Swan

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Up the junction.

Out on the windy common this morning, high above Catton, Northumberland I eventually managed great views of the Short-toed Lark. Showing well at times on the gravel road, it was very flighty and disappeared for long periods. What it was doing up there is beyond me. A hunting Short-eared Owl was a pleasant diversion from the cold as I waited two hours for it to first appear.

Short-toed Lark

At Derwent Reservoir there were a pair of Redstart, but little on the water. The plan was to visit Muggleswick Gorge, but the road was closed for the day, so I headed back for a tour of Gateshead.


All quiet, but the afternoon was saved by a singing Tree Pipit on Bradley Fell.

Tree Pipit

Sunday, 23 April 2017


Slow migration with the continuing lacklustre temperature, but I was pleased with a Whimbrel on the top of Burdon Moor tonight.

Last night a quick run up the coast after work started well with an Iceland Gull low over the car at the outskirts of Ashington. The Black Tern was still at East Chevington initially sitting on a rock in the north pool before feeding with Common Tern. Also here were 2 Whooper Swan and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler.

Phonescoped Black Tern
A quick stop at Cresswell gave great views of a Barn Owl.

Barn Owl

Mid-week the Green-winged Teal eventually showed at Hauxley, along with 2 Spoonbill at Druridge.

Phonescoped Green-winged Teal
In Gateshead the Iceland Gull has been off and on Lamesley and there has been a scattering of Common Sandpiper here and at Shibdon.

Common Sandpiper

Monday, 17 April 2017


A drake Scaup found at Shibdon this morning did the decent thing and hung around until I had finished work. This is the first in Gateshead since another drake commuted between Shibdon and Watergate in the Spring of 2012. Also here was a Black-tailed Godwit.


Yesterday I managed to catch up with the Iceland Gull at Lamesley, where a couple of Black-tailed Godwit have spent the week. Also here was my first singing Sedge Warbler of the year.

Iceland Gull
Black-tailed Godwit
A slow start to April with the odd decent bird. An Osprey over Marley Hill and a brief Harrier species at Burdon Moor on the 5th were the best local and a Crane in the dark at Druridge the best of the rest.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Ring-necked Duck

An excellent morning up in Northumberland. The Ring-necked Duck showed almost immediately at Hauxley in the only sun of the day.

Ring-necked Duck
Down to East Chevington where there was a Slavonian Grebe and 9 Scaup on the North Pool.
A male Marsh Harrier was getting bombarded by a Carrion Crow around the South Pool.

Marsh Harrier
At the burn mouth there were still 3 Shorelark and 32 very showy Twite, until flushed by dog-walkers.


At Druridge a Water Pipit was on show from the Budge Screen. This bird was a bit tatty in mid-moult to summer plumage, but this was joined by another in almost full summer garb. Unfortunately only the tatty bird was close enough for photos.

Water Pipit
The Great White Egret was very distant and also on show were 3 Pintail, 4 Little Egret and a White-fronted Goose.

Great White Egret
6 Avocet were at Cresswell when I had a quick look on the way back south.

This evening the 2 Garganey were still at Shibdon, this time much closer to the hide where they could be heard singing as they displayed to a female Teal.


Last night at Shibdon, as well as the 2 Garganey I saw my first Sand Martin and Jack Snipe of the year.