Sunday, 31 August 2014

Showy Little Stints...

We set off to Cresswell this morning hoping to catch up with the Little Stints which have been there recently. We arrived to hear that they had both been flushed. A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was however feeding on the mud infront of the hide.

1 Curlew Sandpiper
2 Little Egret
1 Ruff
3 Black-tailed Godwit
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Turnstone

After we had looked around some of the sites (where the highlights were 10 Ruff at Druridge Pools and a Pintail at Chevington) we drove past Cresswell again and saw some photographers on the causeway. We went and joined them and sure enough there was the 2 Little Stints walking around the mud less than four metres away.

Little Stints


Thursday, 28 August 2014


With plenty of scarce migrants down south and in Durham we arrived at Holy Island hoping that we might be able to find one. Despite some thorough searching we could turn up nothing more interesting than 3 Pied Flycatchers and a smart juvenile Cuckoo. Here's the counts...

3 Robin
10 Willow Warbler
1 Cuckoo
3 Pied Flycatchers
1 Chiffchaff
3 Little Egret
11 Whimbrel
1 Peregrine

On the way home we had a quick look at North Charlton Flash where the adult Pectoral Sandpiper showed nicely along with 17 Ruff and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover.

Pectoral Sandpiper


Monday, 25 August 2014

Water Vole...

A few photos of a Water Vole at Slimbridge over the weekend...

Water Vole

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A Great seawatch!

We arrived at Newbiggin at 11:30, in the hopes of a good seawatch. It started off well with a steady passage of Manx Shearwaters. I was gradually scanning south and then out of nowhere a Great Shearwater flew into view. My Dad was soon onto the bird, which steadily moved north at really close range, closer than all the Manx Shearwaters!

We had fantastic views and it was surely one of my best birding moments! We put the news out soon and were pleased to hear that it was also seen from Snab Point, Beadnell and The Farne Islands as it made its way north.

Totals over the four and a half hours we were there:

1 Great Shearwater
2 Sooty Shearwater - one gave very nice views.
205 Manx Shearwater
2 Great Skua
5 Arctic Skua
7 Teal
9 Common Scoter
2 Red-throated Diver
1 Whimbrel
3 Golden Plover

A Wheatear was also on the cliffs and a Grey Seal and Harbour Porpoise was offshore.

Monday, 18 August 2014

A bit quiet...

We started off this morning with an hour and a half sea watch off Snab Point this morning where the highlight was a Black Tern flying north, and 10 Manx Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua also flew past, and a Ruff over the car park.

Cresswell was the quietest it's been for us in the past few weeks with no more than a Ruff, 2 Little Egrets and 2 Common Sandpipers. 2 Greenshanks, 7+ Ruff and a Little Egret was at Druridge Pools, as was a Stoat.

There was nothing to report from Hauxley, and 3 Mediterranean Gulls were at Bothal Pond; my highest count from there. Another Greenshank and 6 more Ruff were also at Bothal.



Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Caspian Gull

So after a failed attempt at seeing the Amble Caspian Gull yesterday, we set off this morning to have another look. It had already been reported so things were looking up. That was until we got there. There was hardly any big gulls in sight around the harbour.

Next to Warkworth Gut, where it was the same there. Through the scope we could see a few big gulls around the harbour again, so back we went. This time almost as soon as we got there we were waved over by another birder, and sure enough there was the striking adult Caspian Gull (I can't see any reason why it isn't one, but I'm not an expert! For now at least it's on my Northumberland list).

It performed well for the hour or so, coming to bread we threw in occasionally, and landing very close by at one point.

At Cresswell the adult Stilt Sandpiper was still on the west shore, and a juvenile Spotted Redshank put in a brief appearance before flying north. Also at Cresswell there was a couple of Mediterranean Gulls, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover, adult Ruff, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 juvenile Black-tailed Godwits.

Caspian Gull

Stilt Sandpiper

Mediterranean Gulls

Ruff at Hauxley, 11th

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Gairloch (Scotland), 2-9 August

Days 1 & 2
On the journey we didn't see much more than a few Hooded Crows and Ravens. On day two I took some time to explore the meadow beside our house, where we discovered 10+ Black Darters, 2+ Scotch Argus, 3+ Dark Green Fritillary, 3+ Common Hawker, 1 Common 'Highland' Darter and a Common Lizard.

Black Darter

Common 'Highland' Darter

Common Hawker

Common Lizard

Day 3
On day three we first went to Gruinard Island, where we couldn't find any Eagles, but there was the first Black Guillemot of the trip and a Common Seal. At Altbea there was a Black-throated Diver. When we reached Inverpoly there was a singing Black-throated Diver, 3 Ravens, 2+ Hooded Crow and 7 Red Deer on the way back.

Sundews, any suggestions as to which species?

Day 4
The next day we spent looking for dragonflies at Slattadale on the shores of Loch Maree. A Golden-ringed Dragonfly was the highlight, and 10+ Common Hawker and 30+ Common 'Highland' Darter were also on the wing. On the way back to the house I saw my first Spotted Flycatchers of the year, as well as a Common Seal and a Raven.

After a unsuccessful night spent waiting to see what had been eating the jam sandwiches we put out, it was a brilliant surprise when my first Pine Marten visited our garden at 18:45.

Pine Marten (thanks to the family member that let me use this photo. I wasn't quick enough!)

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Common Hawker

Day 5
Today we decided to go on a boat trip with Hebridean Whale Cruises. It was a great success with the highlights being my first 2 Minke Whales and lots of European Storm-petrels (at least 50, including a group of 29 at one point). Lots of other birds were seen on the trip including Great and Arctic Skuas, Manx Shearwaters, Black Guillemot and plenty of Harbour Porpoises.

Around home we also saw a Cuckoo and a very confiding Red Deer.

Minke Whales (and 2 European Storm-petrels)

European Storm-petrels

Great Skua

Red Deer

Day 6
3 Ravens were flying around Altbea today, and 2 Twite, Wheatears and Rock Doves were at Mellon Udrigle. We went to watch the sunset at Redpoint and I managed to see 6 Black Guillemots flying past.

Sunset at Redpoint

Day 7
Another look at Slattadale in the morning produced a  blue morph female Azure Hawker. 5+ Common Hawkers, 15+ Common 'Highland' Darter, 15+ Common Crossbill and 2 Hooded Crows were also about.

Later on the way to get fish and chips we stopped in Gairloch and saw 6 Black-throated Diver and 7 Red-throated Divers close to the shore as well as 3 showy Hooded Crows.

Common Hawker

Common 'Highland' Darter

Any suggestions?

Hooded Crows

Black-throated Divers