Friday, 20 April 2018


I pulled up at the lay-by on top of Burdon Moor tonight to scan for Wheatear when a Ring Ouzel hopped out of the grass. Showing superbly for 15 mins in the evening sun, it unfortunately disappeared before it could be twitched. 3 Wheatear were also on the top.

Ring Ouzel

A decent spell in Gateshead with 6 Hawfinch briefly at Far Pasture on the 12th (my first in Gateshead since the early 90s) and the pair of Common Scoter found by Stephen W on the 15th (a full Gateshead tick for me). I was unable to re-find the Red-throated Diver that flew upstream on the 18th. 

Common Scoter

On the 18th I popped over to Grindon Lough for distant views of the Long-billed Dowitcher, 2 Ruff, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and a smart drake Pintail.

A fairly quiet seawatch from Whitburn on 19th was followed by a trip to Saltholme for again distant views of the Ring-necked Duck and closer views of a pair of Black-necked Grebe.


Tuesday, 3 April 2018


Some excellent views of the White-spotted Bluethroat at Newbiggin this morning, before it was flushed and disappeared for several hours. My first Wheatear of the year was briefly on the cliff top.


Little was at Cresswell other than a pair of Pintail, but 3 Mediterranean Gull were at Bell's Farm flash.

Druridge was more productive, with the reserve looking superb. 34 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Pintail along with plenty of Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler. A Chiffchaff was just outside the Budge Screen, but the star birds were 2 Water Pipit. Unfortunately the brighter of the two birds didn't come close enough for photos.

Water Pipit
Late on I popped into Shibdon while waiting for a curry. Pleased with a drake Goosander, but over the moon with a Great Crested Grebe fishing in front of the hide. The first Gateshead record since 2012. No camera, but I managed a phone-binned shot- not bad in fading light!

Great Crested Grebe

Sunday, 1 April 2018

White-winged Scoter

An excellent trip up to Musselburgh with Mike, passing a hunting Barn Owl just past Alnwick on the way north. Immediate views of the White-winged Scoter amongst a small flock of Velvet Scoter. Great conditions, but unfortunately the tide was right out and the birds were distant. Panning to the left gave equally good, but again distant views of the Surf Scoter. A few other bits and bobs, including a female Scaup and a Long-tailed Duck. Happy, we were on our way back south again by 9.

First stop was Newton, where we had brief views of a roof-top Black Redstart. On the scrape the Grey Phalarope was still present, spinning away at the closest point to the path.

Next it was down to Newbiggin, where the Bluethroat was flitting around the base of the cliffs below the caravan park.


3 adult Mediterranean Gulls on the south beach capped off a top day.