Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A decent end to October...

It felt like quite a while since we'd last been on the patch, and when we set out there this morning we didn't have huge expectations. In the end we did have a decent day...

With good numbers of Crossbills being reported around the county, we decided to start at Druridge Bay Country Park, and it wasn't long before we got onto a group of Crossbills. The group numbered at least 35, although there was probably more and they were as mobile as usual.

We checked the dunes at Hadston for redpolls but with no sign we had a look at the sea. My dad picked up a Little Auk moving north, and 3 female Velvet Scoters were in with the Commons.

Chevington was our final call and I was pleased to pick up a couple of Bewick's Swans among the minimum of 27 Whoopers. These were our first in the county for over three and a half years so we were pretty happy! A Long-tailed Duck had also arrived on the pool with 2 Ruff and 4 Pintail.

Bewick's Swans - videograb hence the poor quality

Monday, 29 October 2018

Showy Barred Warbler!

Today we were up on Holy Island, and on the whole it was a bit quiet, but an incredibly showy Barred Warbler at Chare Ends made our effort worth it.

Other birds included a Waxwing, Short-eared Owl and a couple of Yellowhammers.

Barred Warbler
Short-eared Owl
Unusual Redwing

Sunday, 28 October 2018

An exciting seawatch...

Yesterday we spent around seven hours at Church Point, Newbiggin. My target for the day was Pomarine Skuas and we sat through thunderstorms and hail without success. We did manage a nice selection of birds including a Little Auk, Red-necked Grebe and Sooty Shearwater, as well as 4 Scaup among large numbers of wildfowl. Birds in off included a Short-eared Owl and Woodcock.

Feeling a little bit frustrated about the lack of Poms, we decided to head back out this morning, and almost immediately we realised we were in for a better day. 3 superb Pomarine Skuas flew north inside the first ten minutes along with several Little Auks.

Over the next five hours or so, we had another 2 Pomarine Skuas including one superb adult very close in, and at 11:10 I picked up a Leach's Petrel going north about half way out. This was a lifer for me and a bird I've been wanting to see for a long time! Great stuff!

Here's some selected counts 07:15-11:40...

1 Leach's Petrel
5 Pomarine Skuas
37 Little Auk
24 Velvet Scoter
11 Manx Shearwater
1 Sooty Shearwater
6 Great Northern Diver
1 Black-throated Diver
25 Long-tailed Duck
1 Great Skua

Pomarine Skua

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Across the Tyne...

We headed (just!) south of the Tyne this morning to Jarrow where we hoped to see the juvenile Spotted Sandpiper which has been there for the past few days.

On arrival the bird was showing nicely on the muddy banks of the River Don just below the car park, and over the next couple of hours it showed really nicely, walking past us just five metres away...

Spotted Sandpiper

Friday, 19 October 2018

On the list at last!

After some near misses in the past, me and my dad headed straight to Haughton Strother Gravel Pits this evening hoping to catch up with the two Gull-billed Terns and add them to our British and county lists. 

On arrival they were sat on the rocky island with the gulls and lapwings, and after a while took off and started feeding over the nearby fields. The light was fading by this point and combined with the distance to make my attempts at photos pretty poor!

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Back again...

On Sunday we planned to spend the morning on the patch. We were at Druridge Pools just long enough to find a Yellow-browed Warbler in the pine plantation before some good birds were reported from Beal and Holy Island.

We decided to head up there and the first couple of hours proved frustrating with no sign of the scarcities at Beal. We moved onto the island where things did pick up, with the best birds including 7 Yellow-browed Warblers and the incredibly confiding Snow Bunting still on the Crooked Lonnen. The counts included the following...

7 Yellow-browed Warbler
1 Ring Ouzel
1 Pied Flycatcher
1 Redstart
5 Chiffchaff
2 Willow Warbler
1 Lesser Whitethroat
1 Wheatear
40+ Brambling
1 Snow Bunting
1 Swallow 
1 Short-eared Owl

Yellow-browed Warblers in Holy Island village
Yellow-browed Warbler at Druridge Pools

Snow Bunting
Lesser Whitethroat

Friday, 12 October 2018

Holy Island

With the morning free, I decided to head up to Holy Island today with the hope of seeing the Woodlark along with its supporting cast.

In the end there was no sign of the lark but it was still an enjoyable few hours before I had to head to school. The best bits included...

3+ Yellow-browed Warbler
1 Ring Ouzel
3 Chiffchaff
1 Mealy Redpoll
1 Yellowhammer
1 Snow Bunting
1 Treecreeper
1 Long-eared Owl

Very confiding Snow Bunting on the Crooked Lonnen