Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Wrong Direction

Not convinced that the Collared Flycatcher would stick around at St. Abb's I headed south and spent the morning not seeing any Dotterel at North Gare.

A few migrants around Hartlepool Headland with Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler along with decent numbers of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.

Lesser Whitethroat

Pied Flycatcher

Gateshead was quiet with just a fall of Wheatear at Burdon Moor. Plenty of Butterflies about in the sun with Large, Small and Green-veined White, Orange Tip and Peacock.


A brief look around the Derwent Reservoir area a calling Cuckoo near the reservoir and 2 singing Pied Flycatcher at Muggleswick, but otherwise it was very quiet.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Couple of year ticks

A jaunt around Gateshead before work. Watergate was quiet with a calling Green Woodpecker the only bird of note. Up to a fog shrouded Burdon Moor where there was a couple of Wheatear and Whitethroat with yesterday's Whimbrel heard, but not seen.

At Birtley reed beds a Sedge Warbler, 4 Reed Warbler and a Garden Warbler were singing, the latter two species my first of the year.

As the rain began to fall it was off to the hide at Lamesley. 3 Yellow and 3 White Wagtail, 3 Pink-footed Geese and a summer plumage Dunlin were on view.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Gateshead Whimbrel

Another good wader for Gateshead with a Whimbrel right on top of Burdon Moor this evening. Also here were 20+ Wheatear and singing Whitethroat.

At Birtley reed beds a pair of Gadwall were on show from the view point.

At Lamesley 3 Pink-footed Geese had dropped in with 3 Yellow and 2 White Wagtail on show.
Pink-footed Geese
Shibdon, this morning, still held the Black-tailed Godwit along with a Common Sandpiper.

Friday, 25 April 2014


Popped up to Druridge after work through some awful weather and horrendous traffic. The Spoonbill was in front of the Budge screen, preening before going on a fishing spree. The most active Spoonbill I have seen.

A quick look at Cresswell on the way past gave 2 Avocet and a Red-breasted Merganser on the pond to the north of the causeway.


Thursday, 24 April 2014


Newton first again this morning. A Grasshopper Warbler reeling by the tin church, but no new migrants in the trees here. A Roe buck was by the path and plenty of Rock Pipit and a couple of Wheatear at the point where a few Sandwich Tern passed.

Roe Buck
Rock Pipit
Meadow Pipit
At the scrape were 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Ruff and a Dunlin. 3 new in Sedge Warbler were singing by the hide, from which were a few Gadwall and a Cormorant.
Black-tailed Godwit & Ruff
Stag Rocks was disappointing for birds, but 6 White-beaked Dolphin moved south fairly close in.
White-beaked Dolphin
Down to East Chevington for the first year tick of the year when 10 Common Tern flew in to join a few Sandwich Tern. The Black-necked Grebe was still here with 8 Great Crested Grebe and a Whimbrel flew north calling.
I bypassed home and headed down to Seaton Carew for the Wryneck on the golf course at North Gare. I jammed in here when I was heading for some birders searching for the bird I stumbled across the Wryneck sitting out in the open on the fairway.

On the way home I called in at Lamesley where there were 3 Yellow and 1 White Wagtail, 2 Common Sandpiper and 4 Snipe. At Burdon Moor were a dozen Wheatear and a drumming Snipe.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

One Good Tern...

Up north first thing, hoping for migrants on the easterly winds. The walk from the tin church at Newton to the point yielded nothing, but a Raven was on the rocks- my first away from the uplands.

The scrape was more productive with 2 Ruff, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Stonechat. Surprisingly no Yellow Wagtails or Wheatear.
Bar-tailed Godwit
At the car park the Grasshopper Warbler was reeling, sometimes only a couple of feet from me and eventually popped up for photos.

Grasshopper Warbler
Next up to Seahouses for a bacon sarnie and a Sarnie Tern from the car as I drove north. At Stag Rocks there was a good movement of Sandwich Tern, Gannet and Kittiwake.
Sandwich Tern
Heading south I called in at a couple of sites, but the only highlight was a distant Black-necked Grebe at East Chevington.
At Shibdon the pair of Shoveler that George had found were by the hide. These are the first in Gateshead for the year. The Black-tailed Godwit was still feeding in the centre of the pond.

Down to Teesside and the Black Tern was seen immediately feeding over Saltholme East. Never coming close and with the mist it was no good for photos. Also here was a Long-tailed Duck.
Black Tern
From the Phil Stead hide there was a fine drake Scaup and a couple of Little Egret.
Little Egret
On the way home I called in at Lamesley and the Black-tailed Godwit that Mike had found was still there, but no sign of any Yellow Wagtail.



Monday, 21 April 2014


Shibdon came up with the goods today after a quiet spell. A fine summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit was feeding furiously in the middle of the pond. Annual in recent years, but historically a very rare bird in Gateshead.

Black-tailed Godwit
Good numbers of Wheatear at Burdon Moor and a Yellow Wagtail at Lamesley this morning. By this evening the Yellow Wag tally was up to 4, feeding in front of the gate with a White Wagtail.
Brief views of a Lesser Whitethroat at Birtley reed beds.

Sunday, 20 April 2014


First up this morning was Watergate where Willow Warbler were everywhere. Nothing new on the lake, but a newly fledged Dipper was at the top of the waterfall.

Another dump of Wheatear at Burdon Moor with at least 15 in the lower fields. These had moved on by early afternoon.
No new warblers were singing at Birtley reed beds on a cold morning, but a House Martin was feeding over the water treatment works.
A Little Owl was at it's usual spot by Pennyfine Road and another returning to an abandoned site means there are at least 4 pairs around Ravensworth Fell.
The Grasshopper warbler was singing strongly and showed briefly, but not well enough for photos. A Whitethroat gave a short burst of song and a Red Kite drifted over.
News of a singing Redstart meant a mini twitch to Bradley Fell. Although no longer singing the bird eventually showed well at a distance at the edge of a shelter belt. Also here were several Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.
Shibdon was disappointing, but a Speckled Wood there was my first of the year.
Speckled Wood
At Lamesley Yellow and White Wagtail, plus a Wigeon were near the gate. Several Tree Sparrow were calling from the hedge here.
Yellow Wagtail

Saturday, 19 April 2014


A dash around Gateshead tonight under a brilliant blue sky. Birtley reed beds first failed to give the Sedge and Reed Warblers or the Lesser Whitethroats that Mike had had when I was working this morning. A couple of Water Rail were calling and there were several butterfly with Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma.

Small Tortoiseshell
It was all going on at Lamesley at the normally quiet oak tree end. 2 Yellow and 3 White Wagtail on the far side and 2 Green Sandpiper feeding on the near bank.

Yellow Wagtail and Sand Martin
Green Sandpiper
At  Burdon Moor most of the Wheatear have moved through with just 2 on the top field. Plenty of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Curlew and a Red-legged Partridge.

Meadow Pipit
A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling on and off at Far Pasture and showed briefly.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Year Ticks

A tip off from the Dragonhunter had me at Far Pasture in the frost before work this morning. After a few minutes a Grasshopper Warbler started reeling and was soon joined by another. A scarce bird in Gateshead for the last couple of years with, I think, just one last year and none the year before. A Whitethroat popped up with a short burst of song before disappearing back into the hedge.

A walk around Burdon Moor gave 12+ Wheatear and loads of Skylark and Meadow Pipit.


Another wander around Burdon in the evening gave similar numbers of Wheatear, but little else.

On the flash pool at Lamesley were 2 Yellow Wagtail. The first of the year and hopefully the first of many after last year's bumper crop.

Distant Yellow Wagtail

Monday, 14 April 2014

Close to home

Closer to home today. Had an early start on the off chance that yesterdays Red-rumped Swallow had hung around. No sign today with just a Swallow and 3 Sand Martin moving quickly north. 4 Little Ringed Plover put on a good display.

Little Ringed Plover
A walk around Burdon Moor before breakfast gave 20ish Wheatear in a stiff north westerly.
Another look around Derwent Reservoir failed to give a passing Osprey, but good views of the Long-tailed Duck and a displaying pair of Great Crested Grebe.
Long-tailed Duck
Great Crested Grebe
Up to Edmundbyers and plenty of Red Grouse and Wheatear. A Ring Ouzel kept typically distant and a Merlin made a brief appearance over the ridge. An untagged Red Kite was a constant presence.

Red Grouse
Ring Ouzel
Red Kite

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Flamborough Dip

Got up early and arrived at Flamborough for 07.30 and 20 mins late. Craig Martin remains elusive. I have had a good run and was due a kick in the pods, so I wont dwell on it. During the seven hours that I spent there I did year tick Puffin, had a fine Peregrine and saw loads of Gannet.

I called in at Lamesley on the way back and had a White Wagtail.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Craig Martin?

I got the news that the Crag Martin had disappeared from Flamborough when I was about 10 mins from Scarborough. I pressed on in the hope it would be re-found, but when I arrived on site there were frowns all round as people trudged back to their cars. My own fault, I should have gone when the news broke instead of waited to see if it would hang around. He who hesitates...

On a brighter note, a Tawny Pipit had been found half an hour before I got there. Although it had moved by the time I got there I managed to get reasonable views a few hundred yards south of the light house. My third lifer of the year, but I've got to admit I would have preferred the Martin. Or both!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A couple of egrets

Started the morning at Watergate before most of the dog walkers got there. No new water birds, but a Dipper zipped along the pond edge. Spring has sprung with 5 singing Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap and loads of Chiffchaff.

Willow Warbler
The first proper arrival of Wheatear at Burdon Moor, with 10 scattered about. 2 Willow Warbler were singing along the bottom path and yesterday's Ring Ouzel eventually showed in the top fields.
Ring Ouzel
A trip up to Derwent Reservoir was fairly fruitless, but the long staying Long-tailed Duck was still near the dam.
After lunch I headed to Teesside with news of a Great White Egret. As I arrived at Dorman's Pool a low flying helicopter had flushed everything, but luckily the bird was just landing as I pulled up. Good, but distant views were had. Also here was a Little Egret and a couple of squealing Water Rail.
Great White Egret