Sunday, 17 November 2013

Plain Lazy

Too lazy to do Gateshead this morning, but a quick look at Shibdon on the way to work gave a cracking Water Rail just in front of the hide.

Water Rail

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Accidental Yank

Started at Newton, where there were already a fair few watching the Lesser Grey Shrike from the car park. The bird showed well down to about 50 feet and was chased at one point by a small flock of Reed Bunting and Chaffinch. An easy twitch.

Lesser Grey Shrike
After an hour I headed to Seahouses to buy a bacon sarnie and on to Stag Rocks to eat it. Between bites I could pick up a bit on the sea from the warmth of the car. Among the Eider and Common Scoter were a Slavonian Grebe, 2 Red-throated Diver, 6 Long-tailed Duck and a pair of Velvet Scoter.
Velvet Scoter
I braved the cold and got the scope out. With just 5 gulls on the sea I had a quick scan. Second bird in was the dainty, black billed Bonaparte's Gull that I had previously spent many hours dipping. It felt like cheating today with so few gulls to scan through.
Bonaparte's Gull
A quick look at Prestwick Carr and Shibdon on the way home was fruitless.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Another look around Gateshead.

Watergate had 1 Little Grebe on the pond with little else. 1 Curlew, 1 Grey Wagtail and 1 Redpoll were fly overs.

At Lamesley there were still 2 Black-tailed Godwit with 17 Curlew.

At Burdon Moor a Peregrine drifted over west. Also here were 1 Red Kite, 1 Kestrel, 1 Skylark and 1 Meadow Pipit.

The Ruff was still at Shibdon with a Shelduck the only other bird of note.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


A spin around Gateshead this morning.

Watergate had 2 adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Water Rail, 13 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe and 2 Grey Wagtail. Med Gulls seem to be everywhere.

Mediterranean Gull
Lamesley had 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Curlew on the water meadow and a Tree Sparrow by the house.
I also had a look at Burdon Moor, Far Pasture and Shibdon, with nothing seen of note.
Not bad, as it is usually crap after the previous night's fireworks.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bonus Tit and Bittern

With blue sky instead of the expected rain, I headed back up to Stag Rocks. The gull flock has shrank and it looks like the Bonaparte's is a gonner. On the sea were 6 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Velvet Scoter, 15 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Crested Grebe and 300+ Common Scoter. 100+ Linnet were feeding on the beach and rocks with 20+ Meadow Pipit.

The Long Nanny was overrun with dog walkers and there was nothing except the very mobile flock of Twite.

Called in at East Chevington on the way south and after just 10 mins the Bearded Tit 'pinged' through the reeds, showing well before dropping into the reed bed to the east of the hide. Just as it disappeared the gulls went berserk as a Bittern flew west over the pool.

A good range of ducks on the pool with Red-breasted Merganser, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted, Wigeon and Goldeneye. Also single Little and Great Crested Grebe. 140 Pink-footed Geese headed over south.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Out of Lark

A trip back up to Long Nanny in a howling westerly. No luck with yesterday's reported Shore Lark, but a good selection of winter birds. First up was a Lapland Bunting flushed from the path and then a single Barnacle Goose battling west, just over my head. The flock of 50+ Twite were showing well with 8 Snow Bunting. 15 Fieldfare and 1 Redwing flew in off the sea, while 1 Jack Snipe and 10 Snipe were flushed from the marsh.

Snow Bunting
Next up was another try for the Bonaparte's Gull at Stag Rocks. Again no luck despite searching through several hundred Black-headed Gull. A Velvet Scoter and 12 Common Scoter were among the Eider, but little else on a very choppy sea.

Velvet Scoter
The rising tide gave a good opportunity to photograph the waders, which relieved the tedium of picking through the gulls.
Purple Sandpiper
Grey Plover

Saturday, 2 November 2013


Frost on the car this morning. A great day for standing on the beach, in the cold, watching people run around, shouting while their dogs shitted happily. There was no Bonaparte's Gull at Stag Rocks today, it was holidaying at the dog-free Farnes. There was an adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Kittiwake, 30+ Purple Sandpiper and 30+ Knot.

Purple Sandpiper
Rock Pipit
Once I was very cold I headed for a coffee at Seahouses and then the Long Nanny. It was raining now and after a slog from the car park I was pleased to find a couple of kind-hearted souls letting their two dogs run amok on the salt marsh. I bit my tongue, but met their hellos with a Paddington stare. I must be getting soft! Luckily just down stream from the bridge I found The flock of 50+ Twite, which gave great views in the murky light.
With nothing else about I headed south. Stopping just north of Howick to check out a Buzzard I found a flock of 300 Pink-footed Geese with 1 Barnacle Goose among them.
A call in at Shibdon gave 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff and 2 Dunlin.