Sunday, 29 October 2017

Northerlies deliver!

We set out to Newbiggin this morning with quite high hopes as the pressure charts for the previous night looked quite good. However, when we arrived it was a bit quiet with just a couple of Manx Shearwaters and Great Skuas going past. An hour and a half later we were even contemplating going somewhere else when we saw that a White-billed Diver had been seen passing Whitburn.

Over the next twenty minutes or so reports filtered in of a bird passing a number of sites in Tyneside. It was at around 10:57 that my dad picked up a diver coming north.

The bird was more distant than we were expecting, although the sun caught it and revealed the ivory yellow bill of my first ever White-billed Diver, and with its head and neck appearing all black, this bird was still in its summer plumage. We were really pleased to see it despite it being a lot further out than we had hoped for.

However, twenty minutes later I got onto two more divers going north and realised that alongside a Great Northern Diver was another White-billed Diver. This WBD was in winter plumage and was incredibly close in providing some awesome scope views and a great comparison to the Great Northern next to it.

It quietened down again after this although at 12:45 I picked up a European Storm Petrel about half way out, which was my first on a seawatch. The sea was relatively calm so some more good scope views were had.

Here's our full totals for 08:30-13:30...

2 White-billed Diver
1 European Storm Petrel
17 Goldeneye
7 Long-tailed Duck
6 Red-throated Diver
34 Common Scoter
2 Manx Shearwater
3 Great Northern Diver
11 Whooper Swan
3 Great Skua
3 Red-breasted Merganser
1 Arctic Tern
1 Goosander
Mallard
1 Velvet Scoter
9 Teal

The second White-billed Diver - © Chris Barlow
The best I could manage (White-billed on the left, Great Northern on the right)
Arctic Tern
Also a few other bits from the last week...

Two of three Velvet Scoter off Chevington.
Shore Lark and Snow Buntings at Chevington


Yellow-browed Warbler calling near Snab Point

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