Monday, 31 August 2015


With the wind starting to turn northerly it was time for some seawatching from Whitburn. Although the north wind hadn't been blowing for long there was plenty passing. Two watches with the morning being more profitable.

Red-throated Diver    1n  3s
Common Scoter    52n  6s
Curlew    2n
Little Gull    13n  19s
Shag    20n  6s
Sandwich Tern    4n  29s
Wigeon    69n
Common Tern    17n  44s
Arctic Skua    9n  3s
Sooty Shearwater   1n
Purple Sandpiper    1n
Knot    22n  1s
Manx Shearwater    11n
Grey Wagtail    1s
Turnstone    3s
Arctic Tern    9n  1s
Redshank    4n  96s
Common Gull    3n  1s
Dunlin    2n  4s
Swallow    59n
Teal    750n  7s
Puffin    1s
Bonxie    3n
Tufted Duck    2n
Ringed Plover    1n
Pintail    3n

Common Tern    2n  18s
Sandwich Tern    10n  70s
Wigeon    2n
Teal    33s
Red-throated Diver    1n
Dunlin    6n
Eider    2 on sea
Little Gull    7n
Grey Wagtail    1s
Shag    2n
Arctic Skua    1n
Swallow    2n
Bonxie    2s
Manx Shearwater    2n

All quiet again at Shibdon with 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Dunlin and 3 Black-tailed Godwit.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Red-backed Shrike

Popped up to East Chevington this afternoon for the Red-backed Shrike. Thanks to the couple who frantically waved at me to get me onto the bird, I managed excellent views. Favouring thick scrub, just to the north of the turning circle, the shrike was thankfully sitting out in the open.

Red-backed Shrike

All quiet at Shibdon today with 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 2 Dunlin, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Water Rail.

Saturday, 29 August 2015


A lazy day today with just a couple of visits to Shibdon. Waders today were 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin and 14 Black-tailed Godwit.

With a fail in getting a shot of the Spotted Crake at Blacktoft yesterday, here are a couple of a more confiding bird at Druridge in April 2013.

Spotted Crake

Friday, 28 August 2015


A day trip to Spurn today. No great rarities seen, but an excellent walk out to the point passing a couple of Pied Flycatcher, Wheatear, Redstart and Whinchat, in beautiful sunshine. Good numbers of Painted Lady were along the point and a few hunting Common Hawker, There seemed to a bit of a fall on return to the village with loads of Whinchat (including 6 together), another Pied Flycatcher and a couple of Lesser Whitethroat.

Pied Flycatcher

Common Hawker

Beacon Pond held only a few waders, but there was Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Little Stint. Quality over quantity.

With not much happening and knackered from walking we headed home via a stop at Blacktoft Sands. With no reports of the Spotted Crake for four days the visit was speculative, but after 40 mins the crake ran across the edge of the reeds, giving good, but fleeting views. An arse-up with the camera unfortunately meant no photo. Also here were 2 Marsh Harrier, Water Rail and Little Egret.

Little Egret

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Wood Sandpiper

An hour seawatching saw a few Tern passing and a Ruff heading south, just off shore. A look at Whitburn Steel was more successful and the Wood Sandpiper showed superbly at close range. A Ruff was among the Sanderling and Dunlin feeding amongst the seaweed.

Wood Sandpiper

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Black Tern

Just a short evening seawatch from Whitburn. Not much was passing with a calm sea and a light westerly, but there was a good passage of Little Gull and with them, a Black Tern.

16.30 - 17.45
Common Tern    9n   28s
Little Gull    3n   41s
Sandwich Tern    4n   2s
Dunlin    1s
Turnstone    2s
Redshank    1s
Teal    1n   8s
Black Tern    1s
Porpoise    1n

Monday, 24 August 2015

Whitburn Wryneck

First bird of the day at Whitburn as a Wryneck, showing well for a few seconds at point blank range. Also in the same area were Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat. Unfortunately the major fall that was expected hadn't happened and the area was pretty quiet. Things perked up when Mark N found a Greenish Warbler. It took an age to track the bird down, eventually getting brief, but good views as it flitted about the south end of the big mound.

A few fly-overs while around the mound with 7 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank and a Bonxie.

Marsden Quarry held a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat and 2 Wheatear. Several Painted Lady were around the quarry and 100+ Red Admiral along the edge of the golf course.

Spotted Flycatcher
Painted Lady
A short seawatch produced a few Little Gull, a Common Sandpiper and a flock of 12 Greenshank heading south. 2 Mediterranean Gull were in the ploughed field by the Obs.

A bit of a clear out at Shibdon with most of the scarcer waders leaving, with just 23 Black-tailed Godwit remaining.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

The calm before the storm?

Seawatching at Whitburn this morning. Nothing rare, but plenty happening and good to see plenty of Arctic Skua. A Merlin shooting through on the walk down to the Obs was a good start.

Arctic Skua    16n  10s
Shag    2n
Common Scoter    31n  51s
Manx Shearwater    3n  5s
Teal    4n  18s
Arctic Tern    3n  3s
Red-throated Diver    2s
Common Tern    166n   40s
Knot    21s
Bonxie    1n
Sandwich Tern    13n  23s
Sparrowhawk    1n
Golden Plover    8s
Greenshank    1s
Oystercatcher    1s
Wheatear    1 on wall
Eider    2n
Turnstone    2s

Next down to Whitburn Steel where The Wood Sandpiper Failed to show. Did get some excellent close views of Knot, Sanderling and Dunlin. 2 Wheatear were on the beach.


A walk around The country park failed to turn up any migrants so headed for Boldon Flats. Just as I arrived I got news of a Gull-billed Tern heading south past St. Mary's. A mad dash back to the Obs, but unfortunately the bird failed to show. Some compensation were 2 Roseate Tern heading south and a young Peregrine heading out to sea.
Another go at Boldon Flats was more successful with 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper and 14 Ruff.
Shibdon was superb tonight with 3 Green Sandpiper, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Curlew, 1 Dunlin, 6 Snipe, 10 Shoveler along with 400+ Lapwing and 200+ Redshank. As the light was fading a Little Egret dropped in.
Four of the Common Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Little Egret

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Spot Fly

Just local today. Shibdon held 2 Greenshank, 32 Black-tailed Godwit and a Dunlin. The site is looking excellent, with loads of mud, it can only be a matter of time before a decent wader drops in.

Black-tailed Godwit
A good Gateshead bird was a Spotted Flycatcher, found by Mark F at Far Pasture. Showing pretty well by the access road, but difficult to photograph in poor light. Also here were 2 Jay, 2 Willow Tit, a Great Spotted Woodpecker plus loads of young Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. A flock of 20+ Golden Plover were over Fellside.

Spotted Flycatcher

Friday, 21 August 2015


A difficult seawatch at Whitburn this morning with few birds and awful viewing conditions. I missed Paul's Spotted Redshank and a distant Shearwater was probably Balearic, but not certain through the haze. A few waders were heading south, including a few Whimbrel.

Back in Gateshead there were 33 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Greenshank. A walk around the tidal section of the Derwent gave 2 Kingfisher, 3 Grey Wagtail and a Common Sandpiper.

Grey Wagtail

Thursday, 20 August 2015


Started the day at Whitburn with a seawatch. Quiet today with 2 Arctic Skua and 2 Bonxie being the highlights. An hour or so around the country park and up to the lime kilns failed to turn up any migrants, so headed home.

Listened to the morning's cricket then headed down to North Gare. The skulking Wryneck gave occasionally excellent views and I managed some crap photos when it wasn't showing so well. A Pied Flycatcher was sharing the same bushes.

Pied Flycatcher
With record numbers of Black Tern going past Hartlepool I popped up to the headland and saw about 35 go south, close to shore in just over an hour. A Balearic Shearwater went south at pretty close range. Probably my best ever views in perfect light.

Black Tern

30 Black-tailed Godwit and a Dunlin were at Shibdon tonight.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


A short, but excellent seawatch from Whitburn this morning. three species of Skua with 2 Pomarine, 3 Arctic and 2 Bonxie. A drake Velvet Scoter blasted north and a 2nd summer/winter Mediterranean Gull drifted south. A Green Sandpiper picked up by Paul head south over the Obs was my first from a seawatch.

After a late second breakfast it was up to Holy Island for another go at Icterine Warbler. Again no luck, an hour spent staring into a garden at the Snook failed to turn up anything. On to Half-moon Slack where a very skulky Barred Warbler saved the day. Also here were several Willow Warbler and a Redstart. Another Redstart was at Chare End, but that was it with the island over-run with tourists. Plenty of butterflies in the sun with loads of Meadow Brown, smaller numbers of Dark-green Fritillary, Common Blue, Large White, Red Admiral and Peacock. A very smart Painted Lady was only my second of the year.

Painted Lady
Called in at Shibdon on the way home where there were 7 Black-tailed Godwit and a Dunlin. George had 3 Green Sandpiper and 10 Black-tailed Godwit this morning.

Monday, 17 August 2015

No Icky

An early start and down to South Gare to spend 3 hours dipping an Icterine Warbler. This is turning into my bogey site. Did get reasonable views of the Reed Warbler that did decide to hang around. A couple of Yellow Wagtail flew over, while a few Little Tern were still hanging around.

Reed Warbler

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Token Kingfisher

Very quiet at Shibdon today. No sign of the Greenshank or Green Sandpiper, with just 4 Black-tailed Godwit hanging on. Two juvenile Water Rail were showing, with one flying past the hide. A Kingfisher spent an hour flying around the pond, sitting on the mud on several islands and occasionally perching by the hide.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

A bit better

After two days of toil with nothing to show for it, today was a bit better. Started the day with a seawatch at Whitburn where the highlights were Velvet Scoter, Ruff and 2 Pintail, but there was a good passage of birds and good crack. A search for migrants in the country park was a little disappointing, but did give 1-2 Spotted Flycatcher with a few Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. A Peregrine flew over hunting.

Back at Shibdon a Greenshank had turned up giving a belated Gateshead year tick. Also here were a Green Sandpiper, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and a juvenile Dunlin. A male Sparrowhawk shot through hunting a Swallow.


Wednesday, 12 August 2015


Down to the Allotment Pool at Haverton this morning where the surprise summer Smew was showing well, but distantly. My phone scoping skills were lacking today.

Called into Dormans where it was difficult to view the shrinking pool through the heat haze. 200+ Dunlin with a handful of Ruff and 20+ Black-tailed Godwit. 13 Little Egret were at the north end of the pool.

Up to the Derwent Reservoir area. Vast numbers of Lapwing at what remains of the reservoir along with 30+ Golden Plover and a Greenshank. At Winnows Hill there was no sign of any Golden-ringed Dragonfly, but there were 2-3 Common Hawker and a couple of the enormous fly Mesembrina meridian.

Tachina grossa
Back in Gateshead just the 24 Black-tailed Godwit with an influx of 314 Black-headed Gull. At Burdon Moor 2 Willow Tit and a Southern Hawker.