Monday, 29 February 2016

Bits and pieces...

Picked up a new camera body on Saturday and on the way back we stopped at Gosforth Park where 2 Bitterns were lurking in the reeds in front of the Pearce hide...

While on Sunday I practiced with the new camera at Chevington feeding station...

Long-tailed Tit  
Blue Tit
Reed Bunting
Great Tit

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Gulls. Lots of them.

We spent Saturday in Yorkshire at Rufforth hoping to see some gulls. We weren't disappointed! We spent most of the time around the airfield though we also checked be flooded fields just to the east. Here's a run down of the highlights among the many thousands of gulls present...

Caspian Gull
A minimum of 5 birds seen throughout the day; 2 first-winters (including the bird seen near Woodhorn in January), 2 second-winters including a sort of bleached looking individual and an adult.

The first-winter Caspian Gull which was seen near Woodhorn in January (note the bill and greater covert patterns).

Another first-winter
The pale second-winter.
First-winter Caspian Gull
Above photo copyright - S Clifton

The distant adult - a lot more distinctive in the field!
Glaucous Gull
Four juveniles seen; three standard birds at the same time and a pale bird later on.

One of the standard juveniles...

Along with the pale (and quite small) bird.
Iceland Gull
Adult appeared late on before flying overhead back to the tip.

Lesser Black-backed Gull
One or two seen during the day.

Herring Gull
A striking leucistic individual...

First thoughts were of Yellow-legged Gull with this bird, but now thinking maybe a Herring x LBBG hybrid? Comments welcome...

We also weren't sure about this gull, could it even be a Caspian Gull??

A great day in the end despite the wind and rain making photos difficult! I would highly recommend a trip...

Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Thousands of gulls were in the roost at Lingham Lake, North Yorkshire this evening, however the birds were very flighty so it was hard work picking anything out. My first Lesser Black-backed Gulls of the year were present and the highlight was a smart second-winter Caspian Gull which for once was one of the first birds we looked at...

Caspian Gull

Monday, 15 February 2016

Round the bay...

A similar selection of birds in the bay again today...

First at Woodhorn the goose flock to the southeast of the main roundabout held 5 Greenland White-fronted Geese and 2 European White-fronted Geese. A brief seawatch from Hadston Carrs provided a Great Northern Diver and a Velvet Scoter heading north, with Gannet and Skylark both new for the patch year list.

Moving south to Druridge Bay Country Park the drake Goosander was very confiding with 9 Red-breasted Mergansers also on the lake. On reaching Chevington a Merlin whizzed through chasing a Snipe. The north pool still held the Black-necked Grebe and female Common Scoter. 15 Whooper Swans were visible in the distance.

By the road just north of Widdrington the Waxwing was feeding on the solitary berry-covered hawthorn. 4 more Whooper Swans were opposite the entrance to Druridge Pools with 3 drake Pintail on the Budge Fields. Finally the first-winter Long-billed Dowitcher was again at Cresswell Pond.


Saturday, 6 February 2016


Had another trip to the patch this afternoon hoping to catch up with a Bittern, while we were unsuccessful with this it was still a nice afternoon's birding...

Chevington had a very similar selection to last weekend with the north pool holding the Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes still, the pair of Scaup and female Common Scoter were also still present along with a Water Rail and 6 Red-breasted Merganser. The female Marsh Harrier was once again over the south pool with an adult Mediterranean Gull over and a Barn Owl again.

A further 5 Red-breasted Merganser were at Druridge Bay Country Park along with a drake Goosander. The goose flock was the highlight at Druridge Pools. It held 10 European White-fronted Geese (including five first-winters), a first-winter Greenland White-fronted Goose and a Barnacle Goose among the 400+ Pink-feet. 15 Whooper Swans were also visible in the distance.

From 2012 on Teesside - a first-winter Greenland White-fronted Goose (front) with Eurasian White-fronts.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Something a bit different today, these nacreous or mother-of-pearl clouds over our house looked stunning just before sunrise...