Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Harwood Shrike

The Great Grey Shrike was the highlight of a trip to Harwood Forest today. While watching it through the scope we saw the Shrike drop onto the ground and catch a lizard, which it impaled on the top of some dead sticks. The bird flew away so we decided to get a closer look at it's larder to find it had caught a male Common Lizard. By the time we had returned to the original spot we had been watching the Shrike from, it had returned and was eating another lizard which it had also impaled on a different pile of sticks nearby. An awesome experience!

Also in the area were at least 2 Goshawks, 8+ Buzzard, 3+ Sparrowhawk and 3+ Kestrel, along with 2 Stonechats and my first singing Common Chiffchaff of the year.

Great Grey Shrike

One of the Shrike's larders

Sunday, 27 March 2016

First migrants...

While it certainly felt more like winter this morning, the first migrants were on my patch; at least 25 Sand Martins on the north pool at Chevington. Lesser Black-backed Gull and Little Egret were also new for the patch year list.

Also seen today was the Iceland Gull at QEII and the two European White-fronted Geese with the Greylag flock at Bothal Pond.

PWC 2016
Species: 115
Points: 143

Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull at QEII

Friday, 25 March 2016


We took advantage of the sun and warmth this morning and headed to the patch. Despite no migrants being seen yet there were still a few birds of interest...

The raptors were perhaps the most obvious with 2 different female Marsh Harriers, c.10 Buzzards, and twos of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel in the bay. Also on the move were Pied Wagtails with a steady passage of birds heading north.

Druridge Pools still held the Ruff and 4 Pintail with a female Scaup on the north pool, and at Cresswell Pond the Long-billed Dowitcher remained along with 5 Avocets and a showy Water Rail.

Marsh Harrier

Monday, 14 March 2016

Great White...

This Great White Egret was giving very nice views at Bothal Pond this afternoon though I only managed one record shot worth posting...

Great White Egret

Also a couple of Marsh Tits showing well in the woods near Morpeth yesterday...

Marsh Tit

Along with a Dipper...


Saturday, 12 March 2016

Quiet up north...

Spent most of the day in the Bamburgh area which resulted in a few nice birds being seen although it was a bit quieter than expected...

We stopped at High Newton on the way to look for geese but unfortunaely we couldn't find any. 10 Whooper Swans flew over heading north. At Harper's Heugh a large flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese also contained a few Dark-bellied Brants and Barncacle Geese. 6 more Whooper Swans were in the distance.

Our first two Little Egrets of the year were in Budle Bay along with 12 Whooper Swans, a Pintail and 2 Goosanders. Just 2 Long-tailed Ducks were the only bird of interest at Stag Rocks.

A stop at Alnmouth on the way back to look for the Shore Lark was unsuccessful although a silent Chiffchaff was flitting around some bushes in the dunes. At Chevington the Slavonian Grebe was still on the north pool with 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 85 Goldeneye and my first Great Crested Grebe of the year.

No photos taken today but here's a few of the Aurora from last Sunday...

Sunday, 6 March 2016


The aim of this morning's trip out was to get a bit more practise with the new camera and Newbiggin's Mediterranean Gulls were first up. At least 14 were present in varying ages and plumages.

The Iceland Gull was once again at QEII.

Chevington still held the Slavonian Grebe and 3 Red-breasted Mergansers. The Pink-foot flock by the coal road between Chevington and Druridge Pools containined 4 European White-fronted Geese.

First-winter Med Gulls...

First-winter at the front with a second-winter
 Second winter Med Gulls...

And some adult Med Gulls...

Mediterranean Gulls
Iceland Gull

Euro White-front