Sunday, 28 December 2014

Iceland Gull at NSFQ

The second-winter Iceland Gull showed really well while we were at the North Shields Fish Quay this morning, down to just a few metres at times. It's the first non-Kumlien's Iceland Gull I've seen for almost two years.

Iceland Gull

Saturday, 20 December 2014


QEll was our first stop as I hoped to photograph the Black-necked Grebe which had been there for the past few days. Eventually we found it and it showed really well at times, though could disappear at times. Also present was a Great Crested Grebe, Goosander and a Little Grebe.

Finally we stopped at West Hartford where we eventually got really good views of the Great Grey Shrike.

Black-necked Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

Great Grey Shrike

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Garden birds...

Just a few photos from my garden over the last couple of days...

Mistle Thrush

Blackcap - the second this winter.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Sooty Shearwater...

One flying north past Chevington this afternoon was my latest Sooty by at least a month, and as far as I'm aware it was only the second December record in Northumberland in the last 14 years...

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Black Redstarts

Three Black Redstarts at Newbiggin were the highlight of an otherwise quiet day. There was one male along with two female/first-winter types which showed well especially on my second attempt...

At Cresswell there was a single Black-tailed Godwit and Little Egret and a hybrid duck of some sort.

Black Redstart

Sunday, 23 November 2014


A walk along the beach and to the hide at Chevington this afternoon was quite productive with 8+ Twite allowing a close approach on the beach and a Lapland Bunting which flew over calling (my first since 2011!). The redhead Smew was still on the north pool with a Little Egret.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Hume's v Yellow-browed

Here's a couple of comparisons between today's Hume's Warbler and the Yellow-browed Warbler at Cresswell in October...

Hume's Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler

Hume's Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

End of autumn?

When we left this morning we weren't expecting anything too special, but we decided to start at Bamburgh. At Budle Bay there were plenty of Gulls and Wigeons as well as a few Grey Plovers and 2 Little Egrets. When we reached Fenham Flats the number of Wigeon on the flats was impressive. There must have been at least 1500. 6 Little Egrets, 4 Black-tailed Godwits and a Pintail were also there.

As we were leaving news came through of a Hume's Warbler showing well at Briar Dene so we decided to have a look. Straight away we were onto the Hume's Warbler in the top of a sycamore. Not long after it flew across the Dene and into a sycamore where it showed really well and was very vocal, and it provided me a great chance to use my new microphone. Scroll down for a recording.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Another county tick...

News of a Richard's Pipit at Low Newton had me heading north, to be greeted by great views of the bird just inland from the compound on Newton Point. Shortly after I got onto the Richard's Pipit, it was flushed by fishermen and flew a bit further away and continued to show. Eventually it walked into the long grass and disappeared. By the time I got round to digiscoping it, it was a bit distant, so my photos aren't very good...

Richard's Pipit

A single calling Common Chiffchaff was behind the Tin Church.


Yesterday I finally got to see a Rough-legged Buzzard during this autumn's influx. When we arrived the hill tops were shrouded in fog, so we weren't very hopeful. Eventually the fog started to clear, and we reached a suitable place to scan the moors. Straight away we were on to a typical juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard. We got some great views of it, before it flew over a hill and out of sight. Shortly after a darker-looking bird appeared and continued to show over the next couple of hours. Unfortunately it never came close enough for decent photos.

We also saw another 4 species of raptor in the area, which rounded off a great day's birding.

Rough-legged Buzzard

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Druridge again

Another trip around the bay this morning and the highlight was a single Little Auk flying north past Snab Point, along with 8+ Little Gulls offshore and a Mediterranean Gull. 3 Snow Buntings flew south over Newbiggin golf course.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Wind and rain

A quick trip to Druridge this afternoon was surprisingly good given the horrendous weather. Immediately 3 Snow Bunting were visible at Chevington burn mouth and an adult Little Gull was offshore. On the way to the north pool we flushed a Woodcock from beside the track, and 2 Whooper Swans, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, Pintail, Water Rail, Little Egret and Stoat were on the pool.

Finally at Cresswell Pond a Peregrine chased the Lapwings, also there were a Water Rail, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Common Chiffchaff.

Snow Bunting

Friday, 31 October 2014


Here's a video of the adult winter Spotted Redshank at Chevington this afternoon, the first time I've seen a winter-plumage bird in Northumberland...

Thursday, 30 October 2014


A couple of hours of easterlies last night was enough persuasion for me and my Dad to go to Holy Island today.

Before we even stopped the car we saw bushes full of thrushes. Sure enough there were hundreds of thrushes flying over and feeding on berries. It was an impressive spectacle with flocks of over a hundred Redwings and Fieldfares frequently heading west. Among these we managed to find 4 Ring Ouzels.

In the village my Dad spotted a Black Redstart in the back of the Captain's Garden, which disappeared not long after it appeared. In the afternoon we had another look in the village and there were 2 Yellow-browed Warblers and a Siberian Chiffchaff. Here's the counts...

3000+ Redwing
1500+ Fieldfare
250+ Blackbird
50+ Song Thrush
4 Ring Ouzel
5 Woodcock
11 Brambling
4 Blackcap
3 Chiffchaff
1 Siberian Chiffchaff
1 Black Redstart
1 Merlin
40 Twite
2 Yellow-browed Warbler
5 Little Egret
3 Black-tailed Godwit

Siberian Chiffchaff



Sunday, 19 October 2014


After the Torness Booted Warbler disappeared, we decided instead to go and have a look for the Olive-backed Pipit in Sunderland. It turned out this was a great decision, as the Olive-backed Pipit showed brilliantly while we were there, at times down to just 5 metres away. It was a great looking bird as well, and one I've always hoped to see.

A sandy Siberian Lesser Whitethroat was also just across the road, which my Dad heard call like a Great Tit. I didn't spend very long with this bird so my photos of it aren't great. Quite a few Redwings flew over throughout the day.

Olive-backed Pipit

Siberian Lesser Whitethroat record shot