Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Little and Large Xmas Special

With work closed due to it nearly being Santa's birthday, I headed south to year tick Bewick's Swan. Not really knowing where to go I headed towards Sadberge until four distant white dots in a field made me pull over. Scope out and there was the Bewick with 3 Whoopers feeding in crops. Not obvious at that distance, but the massive size difference was clear when the Bewick's waddled over and sat next to the adult Whooper.

Bewick's and Whooper Swans
With the swan in the bag and the wind beginning to bite I jumped in the car and headed home. I have obviously been a very good boy all year and just south of Bradbury a Great Grey Shrike flitted over the road. Thank you Santa! I pulled over and ran back to get some distant, crap shots before heading home to the joys of wrapping.
Great Grey Shrike
A look at Chopwell for assorted Crossbills was aborted after ten minutes when it started snowing.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Right White-wing

A morning seawatch did not produce the big displacement of birds following the storms, Great Northern Diver and Velvet Scoter the highlights. A single Brent Goose feeding in the field by the Obs gave me a chance to try my new phone/scope kit.

Dark-bellied Brent
After lunch reports of an Ivory Gull at Seahouses launched me north. I pulled up at the golf course to the news that the single Ivory Gull had morphed into two and both had flown off south east.
The bitter taste of defeat was short lived as news that the gulls had been re found had me hurtling over the dunes for lung-bursting run along the beach towards Beadnell. The two first winter Ivory Gulls were hunched down on rocks by the surf, giving great, but distant views in fading light. Very chuffed after dipping the Saltburn bird in 1986.
Ivory Gull


Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Got down to Lamesley this morning, despite shredding a tyre driving over Pennyfine Road. The Barnacle Goose found yesterday was still feeding with Greylag and Canada Geese. A rare bird for Gateshead, usually only seen in flight during migration. The only other bird of note was a female Wigeon.

Barnacle Goose

Barnacle with Greylag
Very quiet at Watergate and Shibdon, hopefully the forecast northerlies will bring something in.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Wrong White-wing

A quiet couple of weeks. I have put in some effort around Gateshead, but without success.

Today I headed to Whitburn at first light in the hope that yesterday's Ivory Gull would drift past. No luck today, but a pretty good seawatch with Iceland Gull and Great Northern Diver the highlights. There was also a good passage of Shag and Red-throated Diver.

A quick look at Boldon Flats gave 4 Black-tailed Godwit before news of a Shore Lark had me heading down to Hartlepool.

I arrived at the Jewish Cemetery to news that the bird had not been seen since its initial sighting, so I went for an optimistic walk along the beach. I flushed the bird almost immediately, but it took a good 20 mins to pin it down and get good, though distant views.

A couple of shots of a Kestrel at Burdon Moor from last week.