Friday, 28 November 2014

Bean there

With Burdon Moor shrouded in fog this morning I carried on over the hill and on to Boldon Flats. The Tundra Bean Goose was picked up quickly, feeding with Wigeon at the far side of the pool. Also here were 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a smart Mediterranean Gull.

On to Whitburn Steel and 2 Water Pipit were eventually seen through the drizzle, despite the efforts of the ever thoughtful dog-walkers that plague the beach.

The Bean Goose was much closer to the road on the way back, allowing some photos through the gloom.

Bean Goose

Monday, 24 November 2014


Handily, news of the Isabelline Wheatear broke just minutes after I had booked today off work. I was worried it might disappear during a clear night, but I got the happy news it was still showing when almost there this morning. The bird was showing superbly as it fed at the top of the beach and among the dunes. Coming to within ten feet at times, cracking views were had.

Isabelline Wheatear

After an hour I was suitably chilled, so headed north to try for the Smew at East Chevington. No sign today, but great, distant views of an otter that was fishing the north pool. A look on the beach by the burn mouth gave great views of 8 Twite.


All quiet at Cresswell so I headed south for another look at the Hume's Warbler at Whitley Bay. Three Waxwing were feeding in bushes by the road as I got out of the car.

The Hume's Warbler was showing well in its favoured sycamore on the south side of the dene.

Hume's Warbler

Not a bad day!

Sunday, 23 November 2014


Stuck at work yesterday, so first light saw me at Brierdene, Whitley Bay. It took a few minutes to find the right area before the Hume's Warbler was picked up calling loudly and continuously from a sycamore on the south side of the dene. Skulking at first, the bird eventually showed really well. Like a pale, ghostly Yellow-Browed Warbler it was very distinctive and made up for the wonky Scilly bird from 2012 that I had to strike from my list. My 3rd tick in a month and all Phylloscs. Sadly no photos as it was again dark and dingy.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Water Pipit

I got the Water Pipit at Whitburn Steel this morning, feeding just below the cliffs with 15+ Rock Pipit. Very dark and murky this morning, so no chance of a photo.

I should have had some cracking shots when two Sparrowhawk landed to fight over some prey, but even with the ISO at 1250 the action is just a blur.

Monday, 17 November 2014


Proper easterlies this morning made for an excellent seawatch at Whitburn. 33 Pomarine Skua , including two flocks of 8, were the highlights.


Little Auk    279n
Red-throated Diver    11n  5s
Long-tailed Duck    1n
Long-tailed Skua    1 probable distant south
Little Gull    1s
Arctic Skua    1n
Eider    1n  3s
Common Scoter    21n  4s
Pomarine Skua    33n
Woodcock    1n
Bonxie    1n

The Water Pipit failed to show at Whitburn Steel, with just Rock Pipits below the cliffs. A Little Auk briefly joined a flock of Starling before peeling off and heading high inland.

Little Auk heading inland
Another go for the Siberian Stonechat at Cleadon was eventually successful. Unlike the two previous, very showy, Sibe Chats that I've seen, this bird spent an hour and a half skulking  in deep cover. Good, but brief, views were had, although no chance of a photo. A Stonechat and a flyover Short-eared Owl were also here.

Another unsuccessful try for the Water Pipit (where a Pomarine Skua flew over head) was curtailed by heavy rain and I headed for home.

Saturday, 15 November 2014


Spent the morning dipping. First up was the Grey Phalarope at South Shields, which failed to show. Birds seen here were 4 Purple Sandpiper on the pier and a mixed flock of Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plover on the beach. The next no show was the Siberian Stonechat at Cleadon, where little else was seen.

Almost home when news of a Pallas's Warbler at Whitley Bay cemetery had me heading over the river. By the time I arrived the bird had disappeared and the carrier flock of tits was long gone. Two hours of extensive searching revealed nothing, but a Chiffchaff and a Grey Wagtail before a Barn Owl put on a show.

Barn Owl
Trudging back to the car, sure I had dipped, and the news came through that the Pallas's was showing again. A dash back along the lane and the bird was in the bag, giving excellent  close range views as it flitted about some back gardens. Light was a bit poor for photos, but you can see what it is!

Pallas's Warbler
Pallas's Warbler
A bit of rump

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

More Little Auks

Whitburn again this morning in brisk south easterlies. Not the big numbers of last week, but still a pretty good seawatch.


Great Northern Diver    1n
Red-throated Diver    5n
Little Gull    8s
Golden Plover    2000+ s
Little Auk    23n
Red-breasted Merganser    2n
Common Scoter    4n  1s
Red-necked Grebe    1n
Eider    1n
Goldeneye    3s
Snow Bunting    1s
Bonxie    1n

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Little Auk

I hadn't seen a Little Auk since about 1985. This morning I saw 932 of them, all heading north past Whitburn. Travelling in small flocks and singles, some passed close inshore where they unfortunately fell to hungry Great Black-backed Gulls. Also heading north at 08.17 was a Black Guillemot, accompanying 4 Common Scoter, which was also my first since the early eighties. Also this morning was a trickle of Thrushes, limping in just above the waves. A Woodcock flushed from the path down to the Obs.


Little Auk    932n
Common Scoter    75n  1s
Goldeneye    2n  2s
Red-throated Diver    10n  1s
Great Crested Grebe    1n  1s
Wigeon    37n
Teal    53n  25s
Fieldfare    79 in off sea
Curlew    2s
Golden Plover    80n
Black Guillemot    1n
Little Gull    4s
Common Tern    1n
Red-breasted Merganser    1n
Black-throated Diver     1s
Great Northern Diver    1s
Eider    7n
Shelduck    3n
Blackbird   3 in off sea
Redwing    10 in off sea
Mallard    4s