Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Highlights of 2015 (Part 3)

From arriving on Scilly at the end of September until the end of the year.

Red-eyed Vireo- St Agnes, Scilly. Gave me the run-around before popping up next to me. Top of my most wanted list.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth- St Agnes, Scilly. Trapped in our garden. Enormous!

Small Copper (form Schmidtii)- St Agnes, Scilly. Stunning and well twitched.

Red-flanked Bluetail- St Agnes, Scilly. A mad dash from the boat to beat the crowds.

Radde's Warbler- St Mary's, Scilly. Thanks to a local for the lift and to Andy for the photo.

Short-eared owl- St Mary's, Scilly. Flushed from the golf course.

Jack Snipe- St Mary's, Scilly. This is how they show on Scilly!

Blyth's Pipit- St Mary's, Scilly. An excellent catch-up after not going for the Yorkshire bird.

Hudsonian Whimbrel- Tresco, Scilly. Cracking bird, that posed for the camera.

Clouded Yellow- St Mary's, Scilly. Always good to see.

Yellow-browed Warbler- St Martin's, Scilly. Not many on Scilly this year.

Olive-backed Pipit- St Martin's, Scilly. Gave cracking views once the crowds had gone.

Short-toed Lark- St Mary's, Scilly. A birthday find for me.

Richard's Pipit- St Mary's, Scilly. Showing well on the air field.

Minke Whale- St Mary's, Scilly. Whale tick!

Ortolan Bunting- St Martin's, Scilly. Another big gap in my list filled. Eventually showed down to a few feet.

Common Dolphin- Scillonian. Goodbye to Scilly for the year.

Ferruginous Duck- Washington WT. Looking wild!

Arctic Warbler- Marsden. It's not over till it's over.

Long-billed Dowitcher- Cresswell. Close, but in near darkness.

Crag Martin- Chesterfield. Wow! A great pull-back after dipping in Yorkshire in 2014

Surf Scoter- Hartlepool. In a howling gale.

Waxwing- Team Valley. One of five to give a late addition to the Gateshead year list.

Short-eared Owl- Cresswell. Gave cracking views.

Egyptian Goose- Ladyburn Lake. Still rare up here.

Glaucous Gull, Whitburn. If only it all came this close!

Also loads of seawatching from Whitburn, with some cracking birds, too distant for photos. The day of the record-breaking 17 Great Northern Divers was superb.

A canny year.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Highlights of 2015 (Part 2)

Following from the last post and starting at the beginning of June until I headed to Scilly at the end of September.

Common Rosefinch- Whitburn. Not very pretty, but a Durham tick.
Red-necked Phalarope- Grindon Lough. Miles away, but looked great through a scope.

Otter- Near Ullapool. Not what I was expecting while surveying 2000 ft up a mountain. Blowing bubbles at me from 10 ft away.
Black-throated Diver- North of Ullapool. Another highlight of working in some horrendous Scottish, summer weather.
Banded Demoiselle- Lamesley, Gateshead. A good year for these locally.
Black-tailed Skimmer- Kibblesworth, Gateshead.
Pectoral Sandpiper- Newton Scrape. My second self-found Pec of the year.
Beautiful Demoiselle- Forge Valley, Yorkshire. A bonus after a Honey Buzzard at Wykeham. Stunning!
Red-footed Falcon- Chatterley-Whitfield. Just brief views for us, but a great tick.
Golden Eagle- Near Ullapool. Great views while working, shame about the weather.
Bee-eater- Brampton. Viewing area miles from the birds, but still great to see.
Caspian Gull- Amble. Back again and handily labelled.
Greenshank- Hauxley. I like Greenshank!
Black Stork- Spurn. We didn't expect it to show this well!
Black Tern- Hartlepool. 2 of 35 in the space of an hour.
Wryneck- Whitburn. First bird I saw! Bonus Greenish Warbler later in the day.
Wood Sandpiper- Whitburn. Incredibly tame bird that spent a few days feeding on washed up seaweed.
Red-backed Shrike- East Chevington. A one day bird.

Red-footed Falcon- Helmscott Hill. Superb!
Woodchat Shrike- Nosterfield
Buff-breasted Sandpiper- Whitburn. An excellent bird, showing down to a few feet.
Also loads of seawatching done over this period with some excellent birds. Ticking Little and Great Shearwater on successive days definitely the highlight!
Scilly through to the end of the year in the final 2015 Highlight post.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Highlights of 2015 (Part 1)

After delaying for a day to go for the Yorkshire Little Bustard (and dipping painfully), the year could only get better. A slow start though, just picking up local year ticks.

Black Grouse-Teesdale

Rose-coloured Starling- Prudhoe. Not pretty, but first rarity of the year.
Harlequin Duck- Aberdeen. A frantic, sweaty dash 3 miles upstream and back, before finding the bird back where I started, just as the light was fading. Superb!
Waxwing- South Shields. Popular single bird on the Leas.
Shore Lark- Harlepool. Giving excellent views just north of the Jewish Cemetery, feeding amongst the rubbish.
Laughing Gull- New Brighton. My first since the 80s.
Long-tailed Duck- Stella, Gateshead. A self-found Gateshead tick.
Ring-billed Gull- Dunfermline. Again my first since the 80s
King Eider- Largo Bay, Fife. A Queen!
Great Grey Shrike- Stanhope. Best ever views and first singing.

White-tailed Eagle- Bollihope, Durham. Took some effort, but rewarded with fantastic views as it sailed just over-head.

Red-crested Pochard- Holywell. My first drakes.

Ring Ouzel- Edmundbyers. Fantastically tame.
Bearded Tit- East Chevington. Displaying male in the sunshine.
Ptarmigan- Cairngorm. Cracking start to a Scottish holiday in perfect weather.
Portsoy. A bit distant for photos, but there were 10 White-billed Diver here. Yeah, 10!
Capercallie. What a beast, at point-blank range.

American Wigeon- Holywell. Bonus bird on the way back from Scotland.
Eider- Bill Quay, Gateshead. A long-awaited Gateshead tick.
Hudsonian Godwit- Somerset. A great bird on a long day. Bonus Pied-billed Grebe on way home.
Wood Warbler- Muggleswick. Always good to see.
Red-throated Pipit- Seaton Common. Nice to tick a proper 'red' bird.
Lesser Yellowlegs- Newton Scrape. I assume, last year's returning bird.
Pectoral Sandpiper- Newton Scrape. Self-found while twitching the Yellowlegs.

Turtle Dove- Sutton Bank, Yorkshire. Cracking views on way home from ticking Montagu's Harrier

Black-winged Pratincole- Bothal Pond. Back from last year.

Black Tern- Whittle Dene.

That brings May to an end. More to follow.