Monday, 20 October 2014


For ten hours on the train from Penzance yesterday I was bombarded with news of the Olive-backed Pipit and Rough-legged Buzzard. I slept with fingers crossed and was down at Roker just after first light. Sunderland's 8-0 thrashing had obviously affected the weather as it was pretty gloomy staring up the slope under the vegetation. After a nervous hour the pipit eventually crept into view, crawling mouse-like through the leaf litter. An absolute stunner, giving cracking views down to ten feet. A shame it was so dark this morning as even at an ISO of 2500 it was a struggle to get a photo.

Olive-backed Pipit

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Although I should have hung around for the light to improve I was keen to see the Rough-legged Buzzard so headed off to Follingsby Lane. The bird was on show when I got there giving excellent scope views before taking flight. The bird had a very floppy flight on incredible long wings showing the white tail band and dark carpal patches. I drove along to the Gateshead end of the lane in the hope that the buzzard would fly over, but no such luck! I did have 5+ Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 20+ Redwing, 12 Grey Partridge and a Kingfisher.

Rough-legged Buzzard

On the drive back to Gateshead a flock of 200+ Barnacle Geese flew north over Lamesley. At Burdon Moor a Stonechat was at the bottom of the loop. Also here were 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Red Kite, 1 Kestrel, 13 Skylark, 6 Meadow Pipit,  Jay, 1 Yellow Hammer and 1 Bullfinch.

Far Pasture is looking superb now the water level has been dropped. No sign of the Jack Snipe, but there were 3 Water Rail, 28 Snipe, 48 Teal, 2 Little Grebe and 2 Grey Wagtail.

Water Rail
Shibdon still has 150+ each of Redshank and Lapwing with single Dunlin and Ruff. 26 Shoveler were on the pond with a single Lesser Black-backed Gull.

The last couple of days on Scilly added just Redwing and Merlin to the trip list. Views of Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Mediterranean Gull were had around the island, plus excellent views of a Scilly Shrew.

Mediterranean Gull
Scilly Shrew

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