Tuesday, 31 January 2017


A strong south-southeasterly failed to bring much, other than good numbers of Gannet past Whitburn this morning. The crab sandwich team picked up a juvenile Glaucous Gull as it drifted south, just in front of the obs.

Glaucous Gull
An adult Mediterranean Gull was by the cliff-top car park at Marsden.

Mediterranean Gull
A stop-off at Primrose Nature Reserve on the way home gave point blank views of a drake Mandarin.


Yesterday I found a flock of 15 Waxwing on Whickham Bank, Swalwell while stuck in traffic on the way to work. Today the flock had swollen to 37, but stayed distant while I was there.

Shibdon remains quiet with just 8 Shoveler to speak of. A Pink-foot with the Greylag at Lamseley was a Gateshead year tick. Also here were 17 Wigeon, 7 Gadwall and 2 Shoveler.

Friday, 27 January 2017


Yesterday was bloody freezing. After Wednesday's sun, it was cold, grey and windy. Seawatching was slow, but produced a few good birds, with an Iceland Gull and an extremely early Manx Shearwater being the star birds.

Back in Gateshead at Lamesley there were 18 Wigeon, 7 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler and 17 Snipe. At Saltwell along with 53 Tufted Duck there was a pair of Pochard. These were the first in Gateshead since November 2015. A far cry from the hundreds that used to winter at Shibdon in the 80s.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017


A pleasant day out in the sun, around Northumberland. Prestwick Carr was first up where the Great Grey Shrike eventually gave itself up. The bird was about 300m north of the sentry box and showed well, close to the path.

Great Grey Shrike

From here it was up to East Chevington where I was hoping to get some shots of the Shorelark and Twite, but unfortunately the beach had been cleared by a profusion of dog-walkers.

At Ladyburn Lake the Pacific Diver was still present, but spending much of its time sleeping or feeding far from the shore. I did manage a few shots to show the vent stripe and chin strap.

Pacific Diver

Next was North Shields Fish Quay for a quarter of Poor Bens, plus 3 Glaucous and an Iceland Gull.

Glaucous Gull

Iceland Gull


Sunday, 22 January 2017


After a nervous day stuck at work I was up to Ladyburn Lake at first light this morning. Luckily the Pacific Diver had done the decent thing and stuck around. On show immediately in the half-light, it continued to show superbly for the next couple of hours, sometimes just 20 feet off the bank.

Pacific Diver

Also here were 3 fly-over Crossbill, while a quick stop at Woodhorn on the way to work gave a flock of 15 White-front Geese, mostly Russian, but at least a couple of Greenland birds.

Wednesday morning was seawatching at Whitburn where the calm conditions gave a quiet session. From here it was through the tunnel to North Shields fish quay where 2 Glaucous and a Lesser Black-backed Gull showed well, but the Iceland failed to show.

Glaucous Gull
Back in Gateshead 7 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler and 9 Wigeon at Lamesley, while a Stonechat continues to hang on at Burdon Moor.

Thursday was down to Teesside where after quite a wait a Water Pipit eventually dropped in at Dorman's Pool. At Saltholme there was a Long-tailed Duck and 5 Scaup, but no sign of the Green-winged Teal. The wintering Spotted Redshank was on the Saltern and a Greenshank on Greenabella. A walk out to the Snook was rewarded with 40+ Twite and the Mediterranean Gull was on a lamp-post at Newburn Bridge.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


A decent trip up to Druridge today, passing a flock of 7 Waxwing at Kingston Park on the way.

The Bittern failed to show in the two hours that I spent at East Chevington, but the crack was good and we were treated to several flybys by a ring-tail Hen Harrier. Also here were 2 Whooper Swan and a drake Scaup.

Hen Harrier

At the burn mouth the wintering flock of 7 Shorelark were showing very well at the top of the beach in bright sunshine.


From here it was down to Druridge Pools where 2 drake Pintail were on the Budge Field and a Ruff dropped in to feed with Redshank. Unfortunately too far for photos, an ermine Stoat was running along a distant fence-line, pure white, bar the black tip to its tail.

I was hoping to see Whit-fronted Geese at Woodhorn, but the entire goose flock had moved on.

Back in Gateshead a male Stonechat was at Burdon Moor, 12 Wigeon and 5 Gadwall at Lamesley.

A slower start to the new year with a return to work, but I did manage a couple of looks out last week. The first rarity of the year with crap views of the Black Scoter at Goswick was followed by clearing up most of the regular wintering birds.