Wednesday, 31 August 2016


A flat sea, a light southwesterly and crap light, it wasn't looking great for sea watching this morning. Not planning to go, but I was awake, so headed down. The birds were luckily ignoring the conditions with a trickle of Manx Shearwater and a few Arctic Skua. A Green Sandpiper almost flew into the Obs and I failed to get onto a Pomarine Skua before it landed on the sea.

The star bird headed south just after Paul had headed off for his final day at work. I was pleased Mark called the Cory's Shearwater, as I was already following the bird and although my brain was screaming 'Cory's' this slow, lolloping bird looked so different to the charging birds that I saw on Scilly. Initially at a good distance it gradually headed further out as it headed south. Obviously nothing like the close views that I had in the south west, but a great addition to my Durham list and an eye-opener on how different a bird can look in different weather conditions.

Back in Gateshead there were 3 Green Sandpiper at Lamesley, plus 9 Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper at Shibdon.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Disappearing marsh tern

A disappointing twitch of the White-winged Black Tern at Saltholme this morning. Arriving at 06.40 The traffic was already at a standstill due to the protesting non-workers so I was forced to park at the reserve enterance. A quick check with the bins and I could see a marsh tern flying around Saltholme West. All was well, so I headed to along the road to get a closer view. A view from the layby and the tern had gone. Bugger! 3 Little Stint were scant consolation.

I hung around hoping the tern would reappear and saw a few birds from the Phil Stead hide. 2 Marsh Harrier, 4 Garganey and Greenshank was the haul.

The Long Drag, once a prime site, was very quiet with just 2 Avocet and a Greenshank. A fly-over Merlin and a Whinchat improved it a bit.

A walk out to the Snook gave a Curlew Sandpiper amongst the roosting Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A Little Tern was fishing in the estuary.

The Snook
Sea Rocket

Monday, 29 August 2016

Black Darter

Bright sunshine, a flat sea and an almost flat sea don't make for a great seawatch from Whitburn, so it was no surprise that it was quiet this morning. Best bird was a Sooty Shearwater, along with a few Arctic Skua.

Back in Gateshead 2 Green Sandpiper were still at Lamesley and a Black-tailed Godwit at Shibdon.

At Kibblesworth the warm sunshine brought out 2 male Black Darter.

Black Darter

Sunday, 28 August 2016


An excellent day seawatching from Whitburn. Starting with heavy rain and gradually clearing an cracking range of species seen. Bird of the day was a Long-tailed Skua that flew north at reasonable range with an Arctic Skua. Great views of Black and Roseate Tern along with the best run of Skua of the year so far made for a top day. Full results here.

On a lunch-time high tide at Whitburn Steel there were two Little Stint.

Back in Gateshead 2 Green Sandpiper were at Lamesley and a Black-tailed Godwit at Shibdon.

Yesterday's seawatching highlight was a Little Egret, while in Gateshead 3 Green Sandpiper at Lamesley and a Ringed Plover at Timber Beach.

Gorse Shield Bug at Burdon Moor

Friday, 26 August 2016

More White-rumped

Another trip up to Amble and after a long wait I managed some better shots of the White-rumped Sandpiper when it came close in bright sunshine.

White-rumped Sandpiper

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Thursday, 25 August 2016


The White-rumped Sandpiper at Amble Braid did the decent thing and hung around for me to get back from Cornwall. Some cracking views as the tide started to drop. Flushed by a Sparrowhawk before returning to feed with Dunlin.

White-rumped Sandpiper

With Dunlin

Before this I stopped at Lynemouth Flash where there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper. Cresswell held 14 Little Egret, 6 Greenshank and a Ruff.

On the way back south I stopped at Cresswell north car park, but the Wood Warbler that Dave E hed seen earlier was keeping its head down in the drizzle. While here two Little Stint flew over with a flock of around 20 Dunlin. No sign of the Black Tern at QE11, but a Ruff did buzz the lake.

This evening a Greenshank dropped in at Shibdon. Hopefully a start for a run of waders here.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Pelican and Whimbrel

It would have been rude not to, so another night in Penzance was booked and I made my way on public transport to Point Quay. By 10.45 I was overlooking the very nice Restronguet Creek towards a very distant, large white blob. Through the scope this turned into the Dalmatian Pelican, pretty inactive while I was there, but impressive none the less due to its immense size.

Dalmatian Pelican- looking wild
My luck was in, as a birder (John) turned up and after briefly viewing the Pelican he offered a lift to Perranuthnoe for the Hudsonian Whimbrel. Unfortunately for John the three hours we spent scrambling over rocks failed to turn up the rare Whimbrel. Not long after he left a birder picked up a Whimbrel on a distant, rocky island. After another hour the bird flew a bit closer to reveal the tell-tale dark rump and underwing. The Hudsonian was in the bag! A seven mile walk back to the digs in the baking sun followed.

Hudsonian Whimbrel

A couple of very bad and distant flight shots show the dark underwing, tail and rump.

St Michael's Mount

Monday, 22 August 2016

Icky and out

Last day on Scilly today. The morning was spent with the Icterine Warbler on the Garrison, that occasionally showed very well. There was time to dip a Wryneck before getting the boat. The voyage back to Penzance wasn't overly exciting, but we did manage a Cory's, 2 Sooty, a Balearic and 140 Manx Shearwater along with 2 Storm Petrel. Just time before dark to dip the Hudsonian Whimbrel.

Icterine Warbler

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Last pelagic

My final pelagic of the trip today. Not the hoped for mega, but still an excellent day. With a lighter wind the sea wasn't as rough so we headed further out. Despite 150+ Storm Petrel joining the slick, a Wilson's surprisingly failed to show. Plenty else though with a Long-tailed Skua, 3 Bonxie along with 3 Cory's, 2 Great and 3 Sooty Shearwater. Three Blue Shark were caught and tagged, while a few Common Dolphin showed briefly. The Yellow-legged Gull again joined the flock to follow us home.

Cory's Shearwater

Sooty Shearwater

Great Shearwater

Long-tailed Skua
Storm Petrel

Yellow-legged Gull

Blue Shark

A brilliant weekend.