Thursday, 23 March 2017

Glauc pull-back

A couple of morning seawatches from Whitburn, where due to tardiness and leaving early I've managed to miss most of the good birds. Still, I managed my first Sandwich Terns of the year.

A Toad on the Obs path

I've given Gateshead a good thrash, with mixed results. Yesterday's only highlights were a huge flock of 250+ Siskin at Watergate, where a drake Goosander was taking advantage of the lack of dog walkers due to the foul weather. Today I year-ticked Red-legged Partridge at Lamesley before hitting lucky with the juvenile Glaucous Gull just over the Gateshead boundary at Birtley Brick Works. My luck was in when the flock took off and headed north and into Gateshead. I arrived at Lamesley in time to see the Glauc low overhead before it headed high towards Kibblesworth.

Glaucous Gull
A new Gateshead record of 18 Gadwall were also at Lamesley.

I again dipped the Rock Pipit at Dunston for the umpteenth time. The two drake Garganey were still at Shibdon, where they are looking at home and were both displaying to a female Teal.


Monday, 20 March 2017

Like buses

I called in to Shibdon at dusk last night to check for gulls. No gulls, but just as darkness fell I picked up a drake Garganey at the far side of the pond. The first in Gateshead since May 2012. Mike managed to twitch it in the dark, but with no chance of photos I returned this morning.

This morning the one turned into two. One awake, but distant and the other asleep on the main island. Hopefully this is a good omen as last time we had a Garganey, a Black-winged Stilt turned up the following week.

Sleeping Garganey
Some of 35 Shelduck
Paul D had a juv Glaucous Gull at Lamesley at lunch-time, so a bit starting to happen.

Thursday, 16 March 2017


A good seawatch from Whitburn this morning with departing Whooper Swan and 2 Little Egret heading south. The latter still a rare bird from the Obs and the first multiple day-record. With a bit of warmth and a steady south-westerly there was a decent movement of passerines, mostly pipits and wagtails, but also a Snow Bunting.

Not a great deal back in Gateshead, but a tweet from David A got me down to Dunston in time to see the Iceland Gull that he'd found on the Tyne mud. Also here were the 2 Ringed Plover that have been hanging around for the last week.

Juvenile Iceland Gull
A good record at Shibdon was a day-flying Woodcock, presumably disturbed from reserve. I also had at least 5 of these last night, roding at Burdon Moor along with my first bats of the year.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

American Wigeon

A bit chilly this morning, but the conditions looked ideal for displaying raptors, so I headed up to the wilds of Northumberland. Unfortunately the birds weren't playing ball. Hunting Buzzard and Kestrel, plus a very brief Goshawk were all I saw in the first couple of hours. I was then treated to prolonged (though distant) views of a pair of Goshawk chasing each other low over the woods and through the clear fell areas. Also several Crossbill, including a young male drinking from a small puddle in the middle of the road.

From here it was down to Grindon Lough where the American Wigeon eventually gave itself up after two hours scoping in an icy wind. Also here were 13 Russian White-fronted Geese and 3 Pochard.

American Wigeon

Sunday, 26 February 2017


A cracking Whooper Swan at Kibblesworth brickworks this morning. Found yesterday by Chris Bill, this is possibly the bird kicking around Lamesley at the turn of the year. Having spent some time with the local Mutes it is far from timid.


Decent numbers of wildfowl at Lamesley with 27 Wigeon and 9 Gadwall, along with the first returning 3 Redshank of the year. A couple of Lesser Black-backed Gull were on the mud at Dunston while a Mute Swan made a few fly-pasts.

Mute Swan
A quiet month with a couple of trips to Rufforth to see the seagulls. Difficult this year, with all birds distant and jumpy, but we did manage 2 Caspian, a Yellow-legged, plus decent numbers of Iceland and Glaucous. A handful of seawatches at Whitburn have been lacklustre, but a Slavonian Grebe north on the 15th was a star bird.

The best bird in Gateshead has been an Iceland Gull found by Paul H on the playing fields opposite the Cardinal Hume School. This bird has been covering a fairly large area, flying around the roof-tops of the Wrekenton and Low Fell.

The Rock Pipit on the Tyne at Dunston has continued to give me the run-around.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


A quiet seawatch from Whitburn was livened up by a fly-by Iceland Gull, but little else.

I called in at Washington WT on the way back and paid a tenner for cracking views of the drake Ferruginous Duck.

Ferruginous Duck

Back in Gateshead I failed again to see the Rock Pipit at Dunston, but the Waxwing flock was still at Swalwell.


At Lamesley there was a Barnacle Goose with the Greylag flock, plus 20 Wigeon and 7 Gadwall. By the oak tree there were 50+ Redwing, 20+ Fieldfare, 5 Mistle Thrush, 30+ Linnet and 15+ Greenfinch.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


A strong south-southeasterly failed to bring much, other than good numbers of Gannet past Whitburn this morning. The crab sandwich team picked up a juvenile Glaucous Gull as it drifted south, just in front of the obs.

Glaucous Gull
An adult Mediterranean Gull was by the cliff-top car park at Marsden.

Mediterranean Gull
A stop-off at Primrose Nature Reserve on the way home gave point blank views of a drake Mandarin.


Yesterday I found a flock of 15 Waxwing on Whickham Bank, Swalwell while stuck in traffic on the way to work. Today the flock had swollen to 37, but stayed distant while I was there.

Shibdon remains quiet with just 8 Shoveler to speak of. A Pink-foot with the Greylag at Lamseley was a Gateshead year tick. Also here were 17 Wigeon, 7 Gadwall and 2 Shoveler.