Monday, 30 September 2013

Garden Tick

The afternoon started well as an adult Mediterranean Gull drifted low over the house. I presume that this is the bird that has been showing off and on at Shibdon. A welcome garden tick.

The day went downhill as there was no sign of the Richard's Pipit at Whitburn. A couple of flyover Redwing were pretty much all I saw.

A good thrash around Marsden Quarry was better and gave a Jack Snipe flushed from the gorse, a single Brambling, Wheatear and frequent passes from a Sparrowhawk.

It will get better!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Dawn till dusk dipping

Started the day at Whitburn Obs at dawn for a pretty quiet sea watch. Bird highlights were Red-necked Grebe, Med Gull, 19 Red-throated Diver, 18 Barnacle Geese and 1 Brent Goose. Just one Manx Shearwater and no Skuas. The best was a pod of 14+ Bottle-nosed Dolphin that spent 30 mins passing south.

Bottle-nosed Dolphin with young

Bottle-nosed Dolphin

The walk back from the Obs to the car gave a calling Yellow-browed Warbler.

Shibdon was similar to yesterday with 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, 1 Ruff and a Water Rail. A Buzzard drifted over.

Water Rail
Also dipped Blyth's Reed Warbler, Rustic Bunting, Common Rosefinch and Richard's Pipit. Not a good day!

Thursday, 26 September 2013


Started again at Whitburn and again little other than wet feet. Large numbers of Speckled Wood and a Common Darter on the sunny side of the mound, but little in the way of birds.

Marsden Quarry was similar with just a handful of Chiffchaff.

The Hall was much better with 2 Yellow-browed Warbler and 2 Goldcrest flitting about in the sun. 50+ Speckled Wood were also here.


Now back to Gateshead with a quick look at Lamesley produced a Dunlin on the flash pool and a Kingfisher on the river.

Shibdon held 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff, 2 Dunlin and 6 Shoveler, with a Red Kite drifting over.

News of good sea watching this morning sent me back to Whitburn hoping that stuff would still be passing. Over the next two and a half hours I scored with 14 Red-throated Diver, 110 Common Scoter, 17 Arctic Skua, 3 Bonxie, 1 Manx Shearwater, 4 Sandwich Tern and good numbers of Teal, Wigeon and 12 Brent Geese. The star of the show was a juvenile Long-tailed Skua that headed north early on.
I then spent an hour in fading light dipping Blyth's Reed Warbler.



Wednesday, 25 September 2013

First Post

With easterly winds and murky weather forecast, today had to be at the coast. An early start at Whitburn produced nothing except a couple of Redwing heading in off. A trip to Marsden Quarry gave nothing to show other than a Chiffchaff and wet feet. Marsden Hall gave brief views of a small warbler in the canopy and then the sound of a Yellow-browed Warbler calling. Despite searching I couldn't pick it out, so back to Whitburn.

A few minutes after I arrived the lads pulled a Yellow-browed Warbler from the nets and showed it to the throng.

Next was a trip through the tunnel to St. Mary's Island. Following directions from Hartley, I quickly connected with the Bluethroat. A stunning bird that was happily hopping up and down the path, coming too close to focus the camera.

Walking further south gave a Whinchat on the fence and a Yellow-browed Warbler drop in just before heading to the island.

Once on the island I had a further 4 Yellow-browed Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff flitting around the garden.

Retreat followed as I was soaked to the skin, but it is looking good for tomorrow.