Thursday, 31 May 2018

More Quail

After this morning's seawatch was spoilt by fog, I headed down to Hartlepool for another look at the Quail. It has taken to popping under the bowling green fence to feed on the edge of the town moor and allowed some stunning views out in the open.


Tuesday, 29 May 2018


Stuck at work while photo after photo of the Quail at Hartlepool forced me to drive down this evening. Cold and gloomy, it was a long wait before the Quail gave stunning views, just a shame that it was almost dark.


Saturday, 26 May 2018

Pec Sand

A after-work trip up to Druridge with fairly close views of the smart Pectoral Sandpiper. An excellent supporting cast of Glossy Ibis, Little Gull, Little Stint, Greenshank, Ruff, Yellow Wagtail and a very red Knot.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Little Gull

Friday, 18 May 2018


A quiet seawatch from Whitburn this morning saved by 30+ Bottlenose Dolphin heading north, the rear-guard continuously breaching as they passed.

Just as quiet around Gateshead with no sign of most of yesterday's good birds.

Late news that the Rose-coloured Starling had been pinned down in Ashington had me heading north. Stunning close views, hampered by having to view through the gaps between the planks of a fence.

Rose-coloured Starling

Rather than battle back through the rush hour traffic I headed up to Druridge. The flash pools to the north were superb with the Glossy Ibis, 2 Little Stint, a Garganey, a Wood Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail.

Glossy Ibis

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Great Northern

Seawatching from Whitburn over the last couple of days has been dominated by a northerly wind. Good numbers of birds, with Great Northern Diver the star species. Five yesterday, two today and all in spanking summer plumage. One was particularly close.

Great Northern Diver
Back in Gateshead this morning I picked out a drake Mandarin hiding in the sedge. I returned later when it eventually showed much better.

Checking a traditional site near Greenside turned up trumps with a singing Tree Pipit, still clinging on to a toe-hold in Gateshead.

Tree Pipit
Another difficult, once common, species for Gateshead was next with a Spotted Flycatcher in Chopwell Woods.

Spotted Flycatcher
At Burdon Moor my first Broad-bodied Chaser of the year was basking in the sun.

Broad-bodied Chaser

Monday, 14 May 2018


Two Avocet were found on the Tyne at Dunston this morning by RSPB staff viewing from the north bank. Messages from Ross A and Michael F had me abandoning a cuppa and hurtling down the hill. Difficult to view at first as they were hidden below the mud banks, they eventually showed well and spent the afternoon high tide bobbing around the flooded Timber Beach like Phalaropes. With only one previous record, way back in April 1984, this was a long over-due blocker.


A trip up to Dipton Woods was well worth it, with boat-loads of Green Hairstreak on a perfect spring day. 

Green Hairstreak


Sunday, 13 May 2018

Gateshead Garganey

While I was having a second breakfast following seawatching, Paul D was digging out a pair of Garganey from the vegetation at Lamesley. Spending most of the time hidden in small patches of water mint, they occasionally showed very well.

 A few other bits and bobs from the last few days included Red-necked Phalarope at Grindon Lough, the first Little Ringed Plover past Whitburn Obs and a Little Stint at Druridge. The Glossy Ibis continued to show superbly at Druridge.

Glossy Ibis
The female Mandarin was looking sharp at Shibdon.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018


Out west to a freshly sown field, south of Hallington Reservoir. The six Dotterel were distant, but gave great scope views. A fantastic location with Redstart and Yellow Wagtail providing the soundtrack.



A trip to Druridge to get photos of the Ibis without the heat-haze was fruitless as it had been flushed further from the path. An hour sat waiting for it to return gave two drake Garganey and some close Black-tailed Godwit.

Black-tailed Godwit

Sedge Warbler

Back home and a call from George got me down to Shibdon for a female Mandarin.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Glossy Ibis

After a quiet seawatch it was up to Druridge to get photos of the very confiding Glossy Ibis.

Glossy Ibis

At Bell's Farm the Channel Wagtail was showing well on the manure heap along with a female Yellow Wagtail.

Channel Wagtail

Monday, 7 May 2018

American Wigeon

An after work jaunt across to Grindon Lough for good, but distant views of the American Wigeon. It's much easier when there are only half a dozen Wigeon to look through. No sign of the Long-billed Dowitcher, but there were an impressive 21 Black-tailed Godwit.

American Wigeon
A male Whinchat was at Burdon Moor this morning, but all quiet at Lamesley.

Red-legged Partridge

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Hooded Merganser

A decent look around Gateshead this morning, starting with a good show from a Long-eared Owl.

Long-eared Owl

An unexpected Gateshead year-tick was a lone Whooper Swan at Lamesley flash pool. Unfortunately distant and only showing its head and neck.

Whooper Swan
Very quiet at Shibdon, but the light was superb.

Grey Heron

Also here was my first Holly Blue of the year.

Holly Blue
Stuck at work I was unable to get down to Seaton Common for the Hooded Merganser until last thing. Luckily it was still showing in the ditch running across the common. Hopefully it makes the grade.

Hooded Merganser