Saturday, 3 March 2018


An extra cold seawatch from Whitburn Obs in a stiff easterly produced little this morning. A Little Gull and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser were the star birds.

A stop-off at South Shields Pier was more productive with a Little Gull feeding with a flock of Black-headed, a Glaucous Gull and 3 wind-swept Snow Bunting.

Little Gull
Glaucous Gull
Snow Bunting
A check of the Tyne from Bill Quay upstream revealed little, other than 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull at Dunston and a Ringed Plover at Stella, where 3 Oystercatcher were displaying in the middle of the road. No sign of Darren's Guillemot from yesterday. 20 Wigeon were at a mostly frozen Lamesley.

An afternoon walk in the snow when a hunting Barn Owl flew past, almost brushing my arm.

Barn Owl
Late on at Shibdon the decent gull roost held nothing unusual, other than a 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull. Two pairs of Shoveler were back on the pond and there were single Jack and Common Snipe.

Common Snipe

Thursday, 1 March 2018

No beast from the east.

A bit of a dusting of snow has meant a couple of days birding close to home, mostly on foot. The first sign of the hard weather was the marauding bands of hungry Redwing and Fieldfare around Whickham.

The confiding Water Rail was still in residence yesterday in the outlet channel at Watergate, but absent or hiding today.

Water Rail

Shibdon Pond this morning held both Jack Snipe and Woodcock. Little else was seen in the heavy snow and stiff easterly wind. 

Jack Snipe

At Watergate my first Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year was with a large flock of Common and Black-headed Gull. No sign of any rare ducks pushed west by the weather, but a pair of Gadwall were a site-tick for me.

Lesser Black-backed Gull
A pair of Dipper were around the top of the waterfall along with a Grey Wagtail. Several Snipe were feeding along the inlet stream, both in the open area and into Washingwell woods, where I spooked a Woodcock.


Common Snipe