Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Ring-necked Duck

An excellent morning up in Northumberland. The Ring-necked Duck showed almost immediately at Hauxley in the only sun of the day.

Ring-necked Duck
Down to East Chevington where there was a Slavonian Grebe and 9 Scaup on the North Pool.
A male Marsh Harrier was getting bombarded by a Carrion Crow around the South Pool.

Marsh Harrier
At the burn mouth there were still 3 Shorelark and 32 very showy Twite, until flushed by dog-walkers.


At Druridge a Water Pipit was on show from the Budge Screen. This bird was a bit tatty in mid-moult to summer plumage, but this was joined by another in almost full summer garb. Unfortunately only the tatty bird was close enough for photos.

Water Pipit
The Great White Egret was very distant and also on show were 3 Pintail, 4 Little Egret and a White-fronted Goose.

Great White Egret
6 Avocet were at Cresswell when I had a quick look on the way back south.

This evening the 2 Garganey were still at Shibdon, this time much closer to the hide where they could be heard singing as they displayed to a female Teal.


Last night at Shibdon, as well as the 2 Garganey I saw my first Sand Martin and Jack Snipe of the year.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Glauc pull-back

A couple of morning seawatches from Whitburn, where due to tardiness and leaving early I've managed to miss most of the good birds. Still, I managed my first Sandwich Terns of the year.

A Toad on the Obs path

I've given Gateshead a good thrash, with mixed results. Yesterday's only highlights were a huge flock of 250+ Siskin at Watergate, where a drake Goosander was taking advantage of the lack of dog walkers due to the foul weather. Today I year-ticked Red-legged Partridge at Lamesley before hitting lucky with the juvenile Glaucous Gull just over the Gateshead boundary at Birtley Brick Works. My luck was in when the flock took off and headed north and into Gateshead. I arrived at Lamesley in time to see the Glauc low overhead before it headed high towards Kibblesworth.

Glaucous Gull
A new Gateshead record of 18 Gadwall were also at Lamesley.

I again dipped the Rock Pipit at Dunston for the umpteenth time. The two drake Garganey were still at Shibdon, where they are looking at home and were both displaying to a female Teal.


Monday, 20 March 2017

Like buses

I called in to Shibdon at dusk last night to check for gulls. No gulls, but just as darkness fell I picked up a drake Garganey at the far side of the pond. The first in Gateshead since May 2012. Mike managed to twitch it in the dark, but with no chance of photos I returned this morning.

This morning the one turned into two. One awake, but distant and the other asleep on the main island. Hopefully this is a good omen as last time we had a Garganey, a Black-winged Stilt turned up the following week.

Sleeping Garganey
Some of 35 Shelduck
Paul D had a juv Glaucous Gull at Lamesley at lunch-time, so a bit starting to happen.

Thursday, 16 March 2017


A good seawatch from Whitburn this morning with departing Whooper Swan and 2 Little Egret heading south. The latter still a rare bird from the Obs and the first multiple day-record. With a bit of warmth and a steady south-westerly there was a decent movement of passerines, mostly pipits and wagtails, but also a Snow Bunting.

Not a great deal back in Gateshead, but a tweet from David A got me down to Dunston in time to see the Iceland Gull that he'd found on the Tyne mud. Also here were the 2 Ringed Plover that have been hanging around for the last week.

Juvenile Iceland Gull
A good record at Shibdon was a day-flying Woodcock, presumably disturbed from reserve. I also had at least 5 of these last night, roding at Burdon Moor along with my first bats of the year.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

American Wigeon

A bit chilly this morning, but the conditions looked ideal for displaying raptors, so I headed up to the wilds of Northumberland. Unfortunately the birds weren't playing ball. Hunting Buzzard and Kestrel, plus a very brief Goshawk were all I saw in the first couple of hours. I was then treated to prolonged (though distant) views of a pair of Goshawk chasing each other low over the woods and through the clear fell areas. Also several Crossbill, including a young male drinking from a small puddle in the middle of the road.

From here it was down to Grindon Lough where the American Wigeon eventually gave itself up after two hours scoping in an icy wind. Also here were 13 Russian White-fronted Geese and 3 Pochard.

American Wigeon