Sunday, 26 March 2017

Water Pipit influx...

We headed to the Budge Screen for an hour this evening and had a really nice selection of birds on the fields. Most unusual were the Water Pipits with five different individuals walking around on the wet grass. They were starting to moult into summer plumage with a nice pink wash to the underparts visible on some of them.

Also nice to see were a Great White Egret, a brief Short-eared Owl, 3 Pintail, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, a Little Egret, and surprisingly, both a female Goosander and a female Red-breasted Merganser.

Water Pipit - video best viewed in HD at 720p/1080p

Great White Egret

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Patch Ring-neck!

After hearing that was no sign of the Ring-necked Duck at Hauxley this morning we decided to head to Chevington instead as there was perhaps a chance the bird would have relocated there instead of back to the USA...

A few minutes later I was scanning the Tufties and there was a really smart drake Ring-necked Duck! Not only a patch tick but a county tick for me as well! Other birds around this morning included 20 Whooper Swans, 12 Scaup (5 on south pool), 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, the Slavonian Grebe and a few more Pochards and Tufted Ducks than usual.

Ring-necked Duck - with the Slav Grebe in photo 3!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Great Grey Shrike...

Me and my dad continued our poor run of form with eastern thrushes in Northumbs this evening, being unable to relocate the Black-throated Thrush at Prestwick Carr. So that's White's, Eyebrowed and now two Black-throated Thrushes we have't seen in Northumbs over the past six months!

However it wasn't all bad as we did manage to see the Great Grey Shrike this time...

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Spring underway...

Despite the cold, drizzly and dark weather yesterday morning, there were a few signs that spring is finally getting underway...

On arrival at Chevington the rain had forced 8 Sand Martins low over the pool. The Slavonian Grebe was still present on the pool along with 8 Scaup, but it seemed the Pacific Diver had finally moved off. A female Goosander had joined the 7 Red-breasted Mergansers and was my first of the year on the patch.

Whooper Swans were around in good numbers with 128 in the south pool and another 70 in a field just to the south-west. A walk down to the burn mouth produced 4 Shore Larks and a flyover Twite and Snow Bunting, while 3 Velvet Scoters were showing pretty well quite close offshore.

Other birds seen recently include 5 Avocets at Cresswell, several Chiffchaffs, 3 Scaup at Bothal Pond and a Short-eared Owl and 61 Whooper Swans at Longhirst Flash last weekend. My dad had a male Wheatear here this afternoon.

Shore Lark
Goosander with 3 Red-breasted Mergansers
Velvet Scoter record shot!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

North Yorkshire PINE BUNTING...

Yesterday as spent mostly at Dunnington just east of York where we hoped to catch up with the Pine Bunting which had been wintering there. As we arrived at its favourite stubble field just off Kerver Lane we could see the birders on site all looking through their scopes and pointing. However, when we got to the group we were told "it was there 30 seconds ago!". Given that we'd heard some people had spent a day here without seeing the bird, I started to wonder if we'd missed our chance...

Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long (by this bird's standards at least!) as an hour and a half later we were all scrutinising the distant buntings at the other end of the field, when I noticed a bird land in one of the closest trees. I got in the scope and there was a male PINE BUNTING. What a bird! A lot brighter than we were expecting.

It wasn't long before it flew off again, however. Eventually the flock of buntings and finches started to move closer to us and they were once again joined by the Pine Bunting. At first it sat in the top of an alder for a minute or two before flying much closer and sitting in the hedge pretty close to us. We felt pretty lucky to get such good views.

The bird also had a great supporting cast in the stubble: 80+ Yellowhammer, 3+ Corn Bunting, Tree and House Sparrows, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, a few Reed Buntings and a single Brambling and Greenfinch.

Next we headed to Rufforth to look at the gulls. Stopping on the main road just south of the tip we saw 4 juvenile Glaucous Gulls on the tip and a flock of 9 Waxwings briefly landed in the trees overhead. Moving around the corner to Upper Poppleton, another juvenile Glaucous Gull was in the fields here, along with a second-winter. Six Glaucs in just over an hour isn't bad! 4 Red Kites were also seen from the car on our journey down from Northumbs.

A really good day and a big thanks to my uncle for driving us!

My best dodgy digiscopes!
A bit better - © S. Clifton
Second-winter Glaucous Gull at Upper Poppleton
A very pale juvenile Glaucous Gull on the tip at Rufforth.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Catch up...

A catch up blog post today as increasing amounts of school work recently and a fractured wrist have left me with less time for editing photos and writing blog posts...

Greenland White-fronted Goose with the PFG south of Cresswell Pond yesterday afternoon, along with 8 Eurasians. 4 more Greenlands were at Longhirst as well as another 8 Eurasian White-fronts.
Iceland Gull in poor light at North Shields on the 12th.

Two juvenile Glaucous Gulls also at NSFQ...

Along with the impressive escaped falcon.
One of three Scaup at Linton Pond this afternoon.
'Continental' (sinensis) Cormorant phonescoped at Linton Pond.


Sunday, 29 January 2017


Good numbers of Eurasian White-fronted Geese were in the bay this morning with 33 south over Druidge Pools and probably another 9 at Cresswell, along with a Barnacle Goose. Today the Budge Fields held 6 Black-tailed Godwits along with the Ruff.

Eurasian White-fronts