Sunday, 31 May 2015

No Tern

Bothal Pond again this morning where the Black-winged Pratincole was showing well in the rain. No sign of the Gull-billed Tern.

Black-winged Pratincole
At Cresswell a Little Gull dropped onto the spit, where 6 Avocet were on nests and the first eggs hatching.

Little Gull
Three and a half hours in the bitter cold at Bothal this evening failed to turn up the Gull-billed Tern. The pratincole was still showing well along with 2 Yellow Wagtail.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Black Tern

News of a Gull-billed Tern at Bothal last night had me back up the road this morning. No sign of the tern, but good, distant views of the pratincole. A Yellow Wagtail was showing well on the near shore.

Yellow Wagtail
Over to Whittle Dene and the Black Tern was showing well, feeding with Common Tern over the south-western reservoir in a strong wind.
Black Tern

The only thing of note in Gateshead was a late Wheatear at Burdon Moor. 


Friday, 29 May 2015


A quiet few days was livened up with news of a Black-winged Pratincole at Bothal Pond. A frantic dive out of the hide at Shibdon was followed by 15 mins frantically being stuck in traffic. Luckily there was no real hurry as the bird was resting on the far shore, giving excellent scope views. Superb views were then had as the bird flew, flying low over the pond hawking insects.

Black-winged Pratincole

Highlights in Gateshead over the last couple of days; juvenile Grey Wagtail at Shibdon, Wall and Large Red Damsel at Burdon Moor.

Grey Wagtail
Large Red Damsel

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Corn Bunting

The Quail was still singing at Burdon Moor this morning. With nothing else here or at Lamesley, I headed down to Castle Lake at Bishop Middleham. Despite the sun, the strong wind meant it took a while to pick up the two singing Corn Bunting, both close to the hide. Also here were 3+ Yellow Wagtail and 2 Black-tailed Godwit.

Corn Bunting
This evening a walk round Kibblesworth Brick Works gave a few Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselfly sheltering in the long grass. A couple of Dingy Skipper were seen, but there were few butterflies in the wind.

Blue-tailed Damsel
Common Blue Damsel
The Quail was again singing at Burdon Moor, but there was little else here.


Monday, 25 May 2015

Wood Sand & Quail

Yesterday I spent the evening dipping Kentish Plover and Hoopoe in Northumberland. This morning I was getting ready for more Hoopoe dipping when a call from Mike had me out of the house and down to Lamesley. The Wood Sandpiper was showing well from the oak tree, but at 07.10 it took off calling and flew high to the south.

Wood Sandpiper
With Redshank
And away
A look up to Burdon Moor this evening produced a smart Whinchat. Not long back in the house and a message from Lee had me racing back up for a Quail singing in the field, just by the car park. Nice end to the day.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Dragons and Butterflies

The lack of birds in Gateshead continues, so on the first proper warm, sunny day I was wandering around looking for dragonflies and butterflies. My first dragons of the year at Kibblesworth brick works, with newly emerged Common Blue and Azure Damsel and Four-spotted Chaser. Surprisingly few butterflies out today, but I did see a couple of Dingy Skipper and the first Small Heath of the year.

Four-spotted Chaser
Common Blue
Orange Tip
Small Heath

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Monty's and Turtle

Montagu's Harrier at Blacktoft Sands was the target today, but with the reserve not opening until 9 we stopped off at Fairburn Ings. A Cetti's Warbler was singing loudly by the car park and a Ruddy Shelduck popped it's head up as we entered the hide. A probable Hobby was unfortunately a bit too distant for positive identification. A smart adult Spoonbill stood on a nest among the Cormorant colony.

Ruddy Shelduck
At Blacktoft Sands it only took a few minutes before the male Montagu's Harrier rose from the reeds, looking very small and slight against the Marsh Harrier that it had a brief tussle with. A few minutes quartering the reeds before rising higher and higher then drifting off to the west. We hit lucky, as this was the last sighting for at least the next four hours. Also here were 9+ Marsh Harrier, 80+ Avocet, Peregrine and a flyover Yellow Wagtail.

Montagu's and Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier and Avocet
Marsh Harrier and Avocet
A stop on the way home at Sutton Bank took longer than expected, but eventually 3 Turtle Dove flew in to show very well just by the visitor centre. Cheers to Andy for driving, a cracking day out.

Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

No Spoonbill

The Spoonbill found at Druridge by John A while I was tucking into my porridge didn't hang around until I got there. Bonus birds were a Marsh Harrier mobbed by Avocets at Cresswell and an Osprey drifting south over Druridge. Two Little Gull were at East Chevington.

Marsh Harrier
At Lamesley, despite some excellent mud, the only new wader was a Dunlin, that shared the pool with a White Wagtail.

A bonus tonight, while out running, was a fly-past Cuckoo near Burdon Moor.

Monday, 18 May 2015


Up early for a disappointing seawatch at Whitburn. A good passage south of Sandwich Tern and 8 Manx Shearwater were the highlights, so I headed back to Gateshead. Twenty minutes after arriving at Lamesley 4 very smart Black-tailed Godwit dropped in.

Black-tailed Godwit
After breakfast it was back up to Northumberland to hunt for the Spoonbill that turned up yesterday. Despite a good search there was no sign, but there were Wood Sandpiper at Cresswell and Druridge, plus Avocet and 2 Little Ringed Plover at Lynemouth Flash.

Wood Sandpiper at Cresswell
Hare at Druridge

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Little Stint

Meagre pickings around Gateshead this morning, so headed north to Cresswell. The reported Little Stint was showing well on the sand bar in front of the hide. Also here were 13 Avocet and 2 Summer plumage Dunlin.

Little Stint
Little Stint
The trip from Cresswell to Druridge gave good views of Stonechat and Yellow Wagtail.

Yellow Wagtail
At Druridge a drake Garganey was showing well at a distance and a Swallow showing very well, just outside the hide.

Back to Gateshead to check out the Tree Pipit found by Richard W at Fortune Hill, which straddles the Gateshead border, just outside Marley Hill. The bird was picked up immediately singing on the dark side of the border. After posing for photos it did the decent thing and flew over the border and onto my Gateshead year list.

Tree Pipit
Popped over to Boldon Flats this evening to get distant views of the Temminck's Stint along with 4 Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper.