Sunday, 4 December 2016


This redhead Smew at Bolam Lake this morning was my first for over two years, while other birds seen on a walk around the lake included a Marsh Tit, 2 Goosanders and several Bullfinches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Nuthatches...


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Shore Larks & Water Pipits...

Headed straight to Chevington this morning for another go at the Shore Larks, and at first it seemed we were in for another dip, as the birds flew off minutes before we got there. However, we needn't have worried as within forty minutes the seven Shore Larks had reappeared at the burn mouth. They showed well throughout the morning and we're still around when we returned in the evening. Great birds as ever, and my first flock in Northumberland! 2 Great Crested Grebes were also offshore.

While watching the Larks my dad mentioned that quite a lot of pipits were flying around the sea pool, so we wandered over, and he managed to pick up a Water Pipit among the 20+ Meadow Pipits. All the birds then flew towards the south pool. 7 Whooper Swans also flew over along with 3 Long-tailed Ducks

Next we went to Druridge Pools where I picked up a Water Pipit from the screen. It was joined by another and they gave great views for a while, before a Hen Harrier flew across the fields flushing all the birds. Cresswell was quiet with 2 Little Egrets, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Kingfisher the best on offer.

Shore Larks - second photo only included to show all seven together!

Water Pipits at Druridge Pools - the last two photos show the two different birds.

Hen Harrier - still haven't managed a decent photo of this bird!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The autumn that keeps on giving...

We were visiting relatives in Teesside yesterday afternoon so decided to call in at Hartlepool Headland and Saltholme on the way down. As soon as we arrived at Hartlepool the extremely smart first-winter male Eastern Black Redstart was showing well in the memorial gardens, and at one point it approached to within a few metres of us on the grass at the Heugh. We were also able to watch 7 Whooper Swans fly over the sea and into the Tees Bay. Saltholme provided a Long-tailed Duck, Long-eared Owl and a probable fly-over Water Pipit.

This morning it was back to the patch, and we stayed for the whole time at Chevington north pool. The number of wildfowl was once again impressive, including lots of Goldeneye, 3 Long-tailed Ducks, 8 Pintail and an incredible 20 Scaup! My dad spotted a ringtail Hen Harrier flying south through the dunes, a Kingfisher flew along the east edge and 16 Black-tailed Godwits flew over south. I then heard an almost sparrrow like "shreep!" come from above us and looked up to see a long-tailed, long-winged, sandy coloured bird flying north. Somehow ADMc managed to get the bird in his scope and confirm it was a large pipit. A Richard's Pipit!! Just my second in Northumberland and a very welcome self found tick.

We drove home via Ashington, where there were 6 Waxwings by the police station and c.25 more flying over North Seaton Cemetery before disappearing into the nearby housing estate.

PWC 2016
Species: 165
Points: 230

Eastern Black Redstart

Long-tailed Ducks and Scaup

Tufted Ducks, Goldeneye, Pochard and at least five Scaup

Hen Harrier at Chevington


Sunday, 30 October 2016

They don't get much better...

After an anxious wait of about an hour and a half this morning, eventually the stunning SIBERIAN ACCENTOR appeared feeding on the its favoured track. While everyone stood still the bird would happily work its way along the path to within about ten metres of the crowd, and not only did it become extremely close, the sun was also out and the Accentor was in really bright, smart plumage. What a bird!! A Great Northern Diver also flew over high, heading inland while we were there, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the bushes.

Videos best viewed in HD at 720p/1080p

Saturday, 29 October 2016

A Showy Izzy...

Headed to The Leas in South Shields this morning for what would turn out to be our easiest twitch with the Isabelline Shrike of the race isabellinus or Daurian Shrike showing superbly in great light. We were able to watch the bird at close quarters as it caught flies and bees around the low vegetation.

Heading back north of the Tyne, we failed to find anything of interest around the beach just south of the power station so gave Cresswell a look. 2 Greenshank were on the pool today, along with 4 Little Egrets, a Red-breasted Merganser and a young male Merlin which flew across the pond before landing on a post at the north end.

The north pool at Chevington held good numbers of ducks this afternoon and we were able to find 5 Scaup (one adult female, two first-winter females and two first-winter drakes) as well as 23 Pintail.

Isabelline Shrike - videos best viewed in HD at 720p/1080p

Sunday, 23 October 2016

A visit from the King...

We were on driving through Ashington this morning on our way to check the bushes at Lynemouth when news came through of a King Eider passing Whitburn. Ten minutes later we had arrived in the car park at Newbiggin. After running down to the end of Church Point, it was another ten minutes before my dad picked up the drake King Eider flying north close inshore (at around 09:02). For a change, given last week, we seemed to be in exactly the right place at the right time, and I was happy to add Northumberland's first King Eider for 19 years to my county list. We did not feel the bird was a full adult drake as we thought the head markings were a bit subdued and the upperwings were mostly dark, however this was hard to judge as we were largely looking into the sun. We were also pleased to hear that the bird was tracked flying further up the Northumberland coast being seen at Cullernose Point, Beadnell, The Farnes and then Holy Island.

Cresswell Pond was a lot less exciting with a Greenshank, Water Rail, Red-breasted Merganser, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose and 2 Little Egrets. A Great White Egret was on the Budge Fields and was our third sighting of one of on the patch this year. A Greenshank and Little Egret were also present.

At Chevington the obvious highlight was a female Velvet Scoter on the north pool which was my first on freshwater. Nice to get a chance to view one at relatively close quarters. Continuing the duck theme to the day, the pool also held a Pintail and a Red-breasted Merganser, and Bothal Pond played host to a couple of Scaup.

Video best viewed in HD at 720p/1080p

Friday, 21 October 2016

Baird's revisited

After a disappointing morning on Holy Island today we stopped at Low Newton on the way home for some more views of Baird's Sandpiper on the scrapes. The bird was showing really well, especially when walking around the grass on the close shore. Unfortunately we were looking into the sun, which made photos difficult. 15 Whooper Swans also flew over calling.

Baird's Sandpiper - best viewed in HD at 1080p

Also, here's a few photos from Holy Island last Saturday (15th)...

Siberian Chiffchaff
Ring Ouzel
Lesser Whitethroat
Song Thrush
Great Grey Shrike - best viewed in HD at 1080p