Sunday, 26 April 2015

Gateshead Warblers

Started the day at Burdon Moor, frosty, but blue sky. There were still 3-4 Whinchat and 6+ Wheatear around the loop, a singing Whitethroat and a low fly-over Red Kite.

Red Kite
There were singing Reed and Sedge Warbler at Birtley reed beds, Reed Warbler at Shibdon and 6 Garden Warbler at Far Pasture.

Almost a whole Garden Warbler

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Wood Sandpiper

Back to cold and grey today. First stop was East Chevington where there was no sign of any Bearded Tit, but there were a couple of Grasshopper Warbler reeling in the rain.

Grasshopper Warbler
A fruitless stop at Arcot meant that we missed the American Wigeon at Holywell by 5 minutes. Now cold, wet and miserable we headed back up the coast to Cresswell. Here spirits were perked up by the find of a very confiding Wood Sandpiper just south of the causeway. A smart summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit was showing from the hide.

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
At Druridge there was a Ruff and 2 Dunlin from the Budge Hide.

Up to Ladyburn Lake where an adult Little Gull was hawking insects over the lake with about 20 Common Tern.

Little Gull
Little Gull
Another look at East Chevington produced a couple of brief views of Bearded Tit and great views of a male Marsh Harrier.

Marsh Harrier
Back down to Gateshead and there were now 4 Whinchat with 6+ Wheatear.


Friday, 24 April 2015


Today was spent mopping up the new arrivals around Gateshead. Two Reed Warblers were singing at Birtley reed beds, but unfortunately no Sedge Warbler. A Common Tern was at Shibdon, but the reserve was quiet. A call from Paul D had me at Far Pasture where a Garden Warbler was singing in the car park and a Whitethroat was flitting around the scrub.

Up to the hills where Redstart and Pied Flycatcher were showing well at Muggleswick.

Pied Flycatcher
It turned cloudy and cool so the hunt for Tree Pipit and Cuckoo was fruitless.

Back in Gateshead a Speckled Wood was at Birtley reed beds and the Yellow Wagtail showed distantly at Lamesley.

Speckled Wood
Yellow Wagtail
News from Russell had me up to Burdon Moor where there had been a fall of 20+ Wheatear and a smart Whinchat.


Thursday, 23 April 2015


A few days in Scotland with no internet access, so this will be a long one.

Started on Monday 20th April in grotty weather dipping the White-billed Diver at Torness and headed north via a fly-by Osprey to Cairn Gorm. Four Ring Ouzel gave cracking views around the car park and displaying Red Grouse were around the lower slopes.

Ring Ouzel
Displaying Red Grouse
Being lazy we got the train up the mountain, which led to stunning views of 4 Ptarmigan and 2 Snow Bunting.

Snow Bunting
A herd of Reindeer were kicking around the lower slopes.


The rest of the day was spent in the woods around Loch Garten where we managed 4 Crested Tit, but all high in the trees and difficult to photograph. An Osprey flew over as we sat outside the chippy in Aviemore.

Crested Tit
On Tuesday we started with a Red Squirrel through the window during breakfast. The morning was spent walking around Abernethy Forest where we had 4 female Capercaillie crashing through the branches, 6 singing Tree Pipit and a Crested Tit.

Tree Pipit
The afternoon was spent in the Findhorn Valley where we had an unbelievable raptor fest. All through the scope unfortunately, but in brilliant sunshine and just the odd fluffy cloud. Look at this list!

Golden Eagle 2 adults & a sub-adult
White-tailed Eagle 2 adults & a juvenile
Peregrine 2
Red Kite 1
Merlin 1
Kestrel 4
Sparrowhawk 2
Buzzard 5
Raven 4+
Hooded Crow 1

Highlights were the 3 White-tailed Eagle in the air together mobbed by a Red Kite and last thing an adult Golden Eagle mobbed by a Merlin and a Peregrine. Also here were 2 singing Redstart, a Mountain Hare and 2 Brown Hare. The high tops were covered in Red Deer and wild goats were along the valley bottom.

Mountain Hare
Wigeon in a woodland pool
On Wednesday it was up to the stunning Portsoy where we were hoping that one of the White-billed Diver would still be there. Scoping over a millpond sea the second bird I saw was a summer plumage White-billed Diver, the ivory, banana-shaped bill shining in the sun. Amazingly the lads started calling out more and eventually we totted up 10, all but 2 in summer plumage. A supporting cast of 6 Great Northern Diver, 6 Black Guillemot, 50+ Long-tailed Duck and 4 Common Scoter. 17 Bottlenose Dolphin and 4 Porpoise moved west just offshore.

Bottlenose Dolphin


The afternoon was spent in the woods around Grantown hunting for Scottish Crossbill. No luck, just a single Common Crossbill and a couple of Tree Pipit.

This morning started at six with a walk around the Glenmore Forest where we had 7 Common Crossbill and 2 Tree Pipit. After breakfast it was back into the forest where we had stunning views of a male Capercaillie feeding just above our heads.

A 250 mile drive south followed and we arrived at Holywell to excellent views of the American Wigeon.

American Wigeon
I then had to get across town as the Dragon Hunter had found a Mandarin at Far Pasture. Nightmare traffic and then an hour wait for the bird to reappear and the Mandarin was in the bag.

Roe Buck
Finished the day with a Yellow Wagtail at Lamesley.

What a cracking few days and thanks to Andy for driving.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Little Owl

An unpleasant, cold northerly today meant no new migrants. A few Little Owl were showing around Gateshead.

Little Owl

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Bearded Tit

A cold, foggy start when I left home, but beautiful by the time I got to Druridge Bay. At East Chevington two Sedge Warbler were picked up immediately, singing by the turning circle. The star bird of the day was next, a cracking male Bearded Tit display flighting over the reeds. Up to the south end of the north pool where a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling and 3 Common Tern resting on the island.

Bearded Tit
Sedge Warbler
At Cresswell a Whitethroat singing in the north car park was new for the year. Avocet numbers have built up to 17 and several Wheatear were to the north of the causeway.

A good slog around Gateshead this afternoon failed to turn up anything new.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Sad end

Sad news this morning when the Long-eared Owl that has been entertaining so many was found dead. No obvious cause of death, possibly due to collision with fence.

All pretty quiet around Gateshead. Plenty of newly arrived Willow Warbler and Blackcap everywhere, 2 Pink-footed Geese at Lamesley and George had the first Common Tern of the year at Shibdon.

Willow Warbler at Birtley reed beds
Another trip up to the hills gave similar birds to yesterday. Pied Flycatcher showed well, the Ring Ouzel was a bit distant and a couple of Tree Pipit at Winnows Hill were new for the year.

Pied Flycatcher
Roadside female Red Grouse
Male Red Grouse
Looking Good

Thursday, 16 April 2015


A nice start to the day.

Long-eared Owl
A successful attack
At Burdon Moor the Redstart was still around the loop and an excellent shout from Ron got us all onto 2 Ring Ouzel flying over north.

Not much else around Gateshead today, other than a Common Sandpiper at Lamesley and a few butterflies at Shibdon.

Small Tortoiseshell
This evening it was a trip to the hills. A Muggleswick 2 Pied Flycatcher were showing well.

Pied Flycatcher
Next up to Edmundbyers for another look for Ring Ouzel. A pleasant stroll in the sun with Wheatear zipping about, a pair of Stonechat and a Buzzard overhead. A pair of Ring Ouzel flew over calling and showed distantly, before one flew towards us and landed just 20 yards away. Unbelievable views as the bird spent the next 20 mins feeding out in the open.

Ring Ouzel

A quick look at Derwent Reservoir gave distant views of the Long-tailed Duck. A cracking day!