Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Wild Goose Chase

Off to a good start with a Little Owl by the road over Burdon Moor.

A wind swept Greenabella Marsh held 14 freshly arrived Avocet, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank.

Black-tailed Godwit
After a cuppa at Dorman's Pool, where there were 37 Gadwall, I headed for Saltholme.
First up was the Waxwing which fed on the edge of a Hawthorn hedge. A Weasel dashed across the path here.
Next was the Long-eared Owl which took some finding. After a fair bit of scanning I eventually picked it up deep in a Elder bush. Not the best of photos!

Long-eared Owl
The walk to the Saltholme hide did not produce any Twite, but a Fox strolled close to the path.

At the Saltholme hide Green-winged Teal appeared after a short wait and showed well, although distant.

Green-winged Teal
On the drive back north I stopped off at Newburn Bridge for the adult Mediterranean Gull.
Mediterranean Gull
Lamesley was quiet with just a couple of Wigeon, so I headed west to Whittledene. The Green Sandpiper was seen almost immediately in the overflow stream.
Green Sandpiper
Before I could go looking for the Bean Geese I got the news that the Egyptian Goose was still at North Shields.
Not easy to get to quickly, the bird had flown across the bay towards Collingwood's monument by the time I arrived. Sadly the bird looked exhausted and having evaded being taken into care will be lucky to make it through the night.
Egyptian Goose

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Little Gull

A promising start at East Chevington gave 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebe and 3 Long-tailed Duck. No sign of the Marsh Harrier in the strong wind.

Druridge Bay Country Park yielded an adult Little Gull and both 1st and 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull.
Little Gull

Little Gull
1st winter Mediterranean Gull
2nd winter Mediterranean Gull
A drive over the hills to the west of Morpeth gave 2 Raven and several Common Buzzard.
Closer to home a plodge around Newburn Haugh had 1 Jack Snipe and 10 Common Snipe.
Back into Gateshead and 6 Goosander and 2 Goldeneye at Sled Lane Pond with 2 Wigeon and 1 Shelduck nearby at Bradley Hall Lake.
The Ruff was at Shibdon and a Kingfisher at Far Pasture.
Final stop was Lamesley where Gateshead's first two Oystercatchers of the year fed on the flash pool with 100+ Curlew.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014


Seal Sands this morning and a walk to the far end got me a Whimbrel, 2 Black-throated Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver and a Velvet Scoter.

The Spotted Redshank and the Greenshank were on Greenabella, but no sign of the Short-eared Owl at Cowpen.
Spotted Redshank
Quiet back in Gateshead with a Kingfisher and Lesser Black-backed Gull at Shibdon.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Chiffchaff Chiffchaff

In the sun at Far Pasture this afternoon I had 2 Chiffchaff feeding close to the car park. The first bird looked and sounded like standard, but the second was much more interesting. A much paler bird with a buff supercilium and almost white under parts. Silent for over half an hour it eventually called the standard collybita "hweet".

Chiffchaff No.1
Chiffchaff No.2
A disappointing trip to Teesmouth this morning yielded just a Black-throated Diver and a Velvet Scoter. No sign of the Short-eared Owl or Avocets.
Back in Gateshead the Ruff was still at Shibdon along with an adult Mediterranean Gull.

Saturday, 15 February 2014


The forecast changed over night and the day was pretty much a wash out. Didn't get the camera out all day as anything I had was distant. Highlights from Northumberland were Red-necked and 2 Slavonian Grebe with 2 Long-tailed Duck at East Chevington and a Slavonian Grebe at Maiden's Hall Lake. A few other sites visited, but all were quiet. A dash around Gateshead gave 2 Water Rail at Watergate and the Ruff at Shibdon.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Another Go

Yesterday with a late start at work, I had another go at getting some shots of the Myrtle Warbler. The bird stuck around the feeders and spent some time out in the semi-open, but the light was still pretty poor in the limited time that I had. Some good flashes of the yellow rump.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

More Myrtle

Work got in the way on Sunday so this morning was my first chance to try for a photo of the Myrtle Warbler. The bird was showing when I got there, with around 20 birders from all over the country. It spent most of its time feeding on a coconut low down in the hedge, but was briefly on view above the low scrub and once in a tree behind us. Poor light didn't help with photos.

Myrtle Warbler
A quick look around Gateshead before the forecast rain yielded nothing, but a fox from Far Pasture hide.


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Myrtle Madness

The crowd of about 50 assembled in the near darkness in the High Shincliffe housing estate. After a nervous 30 mins the Myrtle Warbler was seen by three birders away from the main group. A further 20 mins and it was in the bag. Seen well in trees and in flight as it flew between gardens, briefly stopping on feeders. No photos today, as work calls, but hopefully it will hang around. Spoke to a couple of residents who seemed bemused, but happy. Just hope that everyone behaves as well as they did today.

Get in!

Saturday, 8 February 2014


A quiet seawatch at Whitburn this morning. A Black-throated Diver motoring north in the strong southerly was the only highlight.

Back to Gateshead and Lamesley had a Wigeon and Shelduck.

A cracking Mediterranean Gull at Watergate with the first Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year and a fly over Grey Wagtail.

Mediterranean Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Far Pasture car park was alive with birds. 30+ Long-tailed Tits, 6 Bullfinch, Willow, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Redpoll, Goldcrest and Chaffinch. No Chiffchaff of any kind today, but a Grey Wagtail was on the hide roof and the drake Pochard was on the pond.
Grey Wagtail
At Shibdon I picked up another adult Mediterranean Gull and just managed to get the camera out as it flew off. The Ruff flew in to join the large Lapwing flock.
Mediterranean Gull


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Best Till Last

First thing down to Teesside to catch the tide in at Seal Sands. The walk out gave Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, 2 grey Plover and 19 Black-tailed Godwit on Greenabella marsh.

Greenshank & Spotted Redshank
Black-tailed Godwit
The flooded Seal Sands held just 4 birds, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and the target Velvet Scoter in a distant corner.
Velvet Scoter
After a quick look at the gulls on Seaton Common I headed north.
Houghton Gate had 2 Pink-footed Geese, 300+ Curlew, 40+ Wigeon and 7 Shoveler.
Lamesley was quiet with just a male Wigeon .There was no sign of the Jack Snipe.
Watergate held a Water Rail, but very few ducks.
Burdon Moor was wind-swept and covered in dozens of black sheep. The only birds of note were 2 Red Kite and a Skylark.

As soon as I got out of the car at Chopwell Woods a small flock of Crossbill were heard and seen disappearing into the wood. Also here were many Coal Tit and 2 Nuthatch.
With no sign of the Siberian Chiffchaff at Far Pasture I moved to the hide. As I sat down a small duck moved out from behind the large island at the back of the pond. Green-winged Teal, get in! I think, just the second record for Gateshead. Although staying distant, the bird showed well, disappearing into the reeds every now and then.
Green-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal
A Kingfisher also put in an appearance and the Gateshead Pochard was in residence.

Saturday, 1 February 2014


The day started at Ward Jackson Park in Hartlepool. The Ring-necked Parakeets were initially heard and then around a dozen were seen around the old clock tower.

Ring-necked Parakeet
Greatham Creek and the Long Drag were pretty bird free in the strong, cold wind, with 1 Greenshank and 3 Black-tailed Godwit the only highlights. The tide was out and Seal Sands was covered in common waders.
A small group of gulls was scoped from the road at Back Saltholme and smack in the middle was a juvenile Iceland Gull. Also here were 15 Barnacle Geese close to the road.
Barnacle Geese
The next couple of hours was spent on gulls at Seaton Common and tip with no success. The only bird of note was an apparent adult large gull with pure white wing tips and blotchy grey back and wings. Seen briefly in flight the bird dropped onto the tip, out of view and never to reappear.