Friday, 25 September 2015


All very quiet locally with a hunting Peregrine over Burdon Moor tonight, the highlight. At Shibdon a couple of Black-tailed Godwit are hanging on and 2 Wigeon dropped in for a day. In the warm, sunny spells there are still a few butterflies on show. At Shibdon today there were Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White and Speckled Wood, also several Migrant Hawker and Common Darter. On Tuesday a Black Darter was at Burdon Moor.

Painted Lady

Small Tortoiseshell

Monday, 21 September 2015

More Buff

Wet and grey this morning, so waited until this afternoon before heading out. The plan was to go seawatching with a quick look at the Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the way. I never got to the Obs as the Sandpiper was showing so well. After flying off towards the beach, it eventually returned and strolled up the field to give stunning views down to 25 feet.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

In the same field were 2 Mediterranean Gull and an adult Little Gull. A Peregrine drifted overhead.
Little Gull

Mediterranean Gull

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

This morning's seawatch at Whitburn was interrupted by Graham who announced that he had found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper in the ploughed field just south of the obs. Out we trooped and got distant scope views as it fed in the middle of the field with a few Ringed Plover and for a few seconds sharing a scope view with a Mediterranean Gull. By this afternoon it had moved to the western edge of the field, allowing excellent views and photos.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

The seawatch was better than expected with Sooty Shearwater, Pomarine & Arctic Skua. The first Pink-footed Geese of the autumn headed south, with over 100 distant birds.

Saturday, 19 September 2015


With the juvenile Woodchat Shrike spending a week at Nosterfield it would have been rude not to have a look. On show immediately on a distant fence line, it eventually flew much closer to allow some phone scoping.

Woodchat Shrike

While watching the shrike a Hobby flew over mobbed by Corvids, but also having a go back.

Back in Gateshead there were 2 Black-tailed Godwit along with a Fox. The Fox had a badly injured rear leg and the Lapwing allowed it to walk past, just a few feet away. At Burdon Moor there was the constant sound of gunfire, but I did manage 2 Snipe and 2 Golden Plover.

Thursday, 17 September 2015


A quiet couple of days. Yesterday was mostly spent not seeing the Blyth's Reed Warbler at Marsden, where a late Swift was scant consolation. Today a lunch time seawatch at Whitburn , hoping that the Cory's Shearwater would keep coming, was desperately dull with just a few Red-throated Diver. The Whinchat have moved on from Burdon Moor, but have been replaced by two Stonechat.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015


Very wet this morning, so didn't get far. Shibdon continues to disappoint with just 7 Black-tailed Godwit. Burdon Moor was alive with birds this afternoon with 3 Whinchat being the stars. 100+ Meadow Pipit, 50+ Goldfinch, 1 juv. Siskin, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap and a Red Kite.

Yesterday afternoon was spent dipping Blyth's Reed Warbler at Marsden Quarry.

Meadow Pipit

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler

A good trudge around Holy Island this morning revealed migrants in almost every bush. Unfortunately there was nothing rare and I missed the Yellow-browed Warbler due to an ill-timed trip to the ice-cream shop. Birds seen on the island were 1 Short-eared Owl, 10 Redstart, 7 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackcap, plus several Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.

Spotted Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
Heading back south a female Marsh Harrier was hunting the edge of Widdrington Lake. A quick look at the Red-footed Falcon field was falconless, but did provide 8 Wheatear and a Yellow Wagtail.

The walkway to the hide at Cresswell was the place to be with Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler showing well on and off, but always staying in the canopy. Also here were Pied Flycatcher, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Poor return

After spending 7 hours scouring the Marsden area in some foul weather I deserved a better return than Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and 8 Wheatear. Hopefully better tomorrow.

Black-tailed Godwit at Shibdon yesterday.

Thursday, 10 September 2015


The young male Red-footed Falcon showed superbly this morning, at Helmscott Hill, just north of Bell's Farm.

Red-footed Falcon

After showing for nearly 2 hours it took off north and was last seen high over Druridge Pond. Also here were Peregrine and a Yellow Wagtail.

At East Chevington there was a Pintail and 2 Greenshank on the north pool, while a Hobby was an excellent fly-over at the south pool.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

No happy Fea's

After last night's news of a Fea's Petrel moving past Yorkshire, I was sitting in the dark, waiting for daylight in Whitburn Obs. Unfortunately no sign of the Fea's, but there was a decent movement of ducks. News of another/the same Fea's passing Spurn got me back for a late afternoon session with fewer birds, but more quality.

Wigeon    90n
Teal    177n
Little Gull    2s
Red-throated Diver    8n  12s
Curlew    2n
Arctic Skua    2n  7s
Whimbrel    1s
Shag     1n
Sandwich Tern    5n  7s
White-beaked Dolphin    4n
Common Tern    8n  81s
Knot    1n
Dunlin    25n
Brent PB    6n
Black-headed Gull    6n  25s
Common Scoter    833n
Velvet Scoter    1n

Common Tern    51n
Manx Shearwater    5n
Arctic Skua    6n
Red-throated Diver    1s
Common Scoter    54n
Bonxie  2n
Puffin    10n
Little Gull    3n
Teal    7n
Sandwich Tern    1n  2s
Roseate Tern    8n
Balearic Shearwater    1n
Long-tailed Skua    1n
Eider    2n

Monday, 7 September 2015

End of the northerly

The last day of the northerly airflow, so another early seawatch at Whitburn. Again no stand-out rarities, but plenty of Artic Skua and Sooties, plus the first Red-necked Grebe of the autumn. Will be nice to get a lie in tomorrow.


Eider    5s
Sooty Shearwater    18n
Manx Shearwater    18n
Sandwich Tern    19n  21s
Shelduck    2n
Red-throated Diver    13n  8s
Bonxie    9n  1s
Arctic Skua    63n  5s
Dunlin    4n
Common Tern    110n  9s
Common Scoter    70n
Gadwall    1n
Grey Wagtail    1n  2s
Turnstone    1n
Peregrine  1n
Teal    113n
Wigeon    21n
Pomarine Skua    3n
Roseate    1 feeding offshore
Little Gull    6n
Velvet Scoter    1n
Tufted Duck    1n
Red-necked Grebe    1n
Mallard    1n
Swallow    39n

Another look at Kibblesworth brick works gave 3 male and 2 female Black Darter, loads of Common Darter, 3 Southern Hawker, 2 Common Hawker, Blue-tailed and Emerald Damsel. Still a few butterflies out in the sun with Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood.

Black Darter female
Black Darter male
Small Tortoiseshell
A look at Far Pasture failed to turn up a Ruddy Darter, but there were a few Common Darter basking on the fence.

Common Darter