Sunday, 9 August 2015


A pleasant week in Madeira. Very limited on avifauna but some new birds nonetheless...

Cory's Shearwater (many, inc a group of 75 on the water)
Bulwer's Petrel -2 
Madieran Firecrest - common in parks
Canary - numerous in Funchal
Trocaz Pigeon - several seen below us from the Balcoes viewpoint)
(Madeiran Chaffinch)

Had higher hopes but regrettably a birding tour company cancelled both reserved trips (4 hour endemic trip and 6 hour Pelagic)...

The boat trip we took out was therefore a tourist trip which, when both Whale (in this case Bryde's) and Dolphin (Bottlenose) were secured, the agenda then switch to sailing to a shallow cove for swimming. Better than nothing!

Elusive and timid...

Sunday, 26 July 2015


Saturday's trip to the supermarket was pimped up with a 2nd cal Mediterranean Gull in Cramlington, a smart individual next to Church of the Nazerene.

Having spent the first part of Sunday out on the bike and then in a pub for lunch, what better way to round off the day with a trip to Amble. No sun shining up there but the visit was made much better by bumping into John B, on his holidays in Gods' County. Initially the scene was caspian-less ... Until the smart move of a drive to the marina provided distant views of the Caspian Gull as it stood with the other Gulls at the foot of Warkworth Gut.

Thoughts of seawatching diminished as the rain set in, so it was back home for tea...

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Back in Black

A relaxed couple of weeks after being made redundant - a few drinks, a few days away in Barcelona and a few days catching up with things that should have been done earlier.

So today, a quick trip out with Armstrong to Arcot.

Very productive in terms of waders (by Arcot standards) - 21 Black-tailed Godwit (my highest ever Cramlington number), a Common Sandpiper, 30+ Lapwing and 3 Oystercatcher

The chicks - Common Tern and "Shelducklings" survive too.

Jolly good stuff.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Back in the game

After what feels like an eternity, some normal frequency birding shall resume...

First trip out for a while, and a chance to catch up with the female Red-necked Phalarope at Grindon Lough.

Awful conditions, almost autumnal! Heavy rain showers in very blustery conditions.

Grindon Lough upon arrival...

And arn't Phals small...

Screen-Grabs from some dodgy iPhone video recorded through the 'scope...

At least the weather cleared up...

Friday, 29 May 2015

Second Chance

Missed the 2014 Northumberland Black-winged Pratincole... so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that the 2014 finder had found another in 2015.

Dashed to Bothal after work with many a text stating how well it was showing as it fed in the SE bay - upon my arrival it adopted a much less obliging routine - an hour or so on the far shore with a quick foray into the bay to feed...

Never mind - a nice county catch up.

My second pratincole sp in Northumberland (incidentally both collared and black-winged had been UK ticked on solo day twitches to Norfolk... now both have turned up within 10 mile of BSHQ... lesson learnt?)...

Awful pics...

Not as good as the 2009 bird...

Sunday, 10 May 2015

28 year wait

At long last, 28 years since my first attempt (Druridge May 1987!), albeit not in Northumberland - a dashing Red-throated Pipit on Seaton Common, Cleveland.

Tricky to observe and photograph as it skulked in the long grass edges of a flooded area.

Life through the lens...

Friday, 24 April 2015

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Must Re(d)-start.

A busy month for non ornithological reasons hence a gap in pottering and associated reports.

Some quality Cramlington species and some "misses" too -

Hits - garganey, red-legged partridge and this mornings dapper male redstart. Plus some other migrants  - swallow, sand martin, blackcap, willow and chiff.

Misses - the osprey at Arcot was an almost... A barn owl the next morning was compesationary. No wheatear (for me at least) yet either ...

Friday, 13 March 2015

Seeing others, and one of my own

Interrupted some coursework (42 and still studying...) to visit Arcot on Thursday afternoon after another Gordon tip-off - a drake Pintail was probably my first in Cramlington for 5+ years, and the accompanying Pochard and Shelduck were new for the 2015 Cramlington list.

The early drive to work this  morning produced another new addition, with a Tawny Owl sat out on a roadside tree close to home.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Magnificent Seven!... Nine?

A surprisingly productive afternoon birding after an early shift at work...

Thoughts of where to start were put to one side when Gordon texted through news of a tricky Cramlington year-tick - a single Whooper Swan on Arcot provided a good start.

Further north, a brief stop provided nice views of a drake Mandarin at Sheepish - a couple of picture taken with the bridge camera and then I was off...

The good fortune continued further north - Widdrington Moor Lake provided a large herd of Pink-feet, but still no Ross's for me, preventing a double plastic wildfowl trip. Compensation came in much the preferred form of a scarce birdie the region this winter - Short-eared Owl.

Not untypical there was more than one bird - I happily texted out the news of two birds, to find the next scan revealing four. Then five, then six and finally, seven!

East Chevington north pool provided black-necked, great created and little grebe but no beardies...

Cresswell is clearly popular in the evenings, with a "crowd" watching the Barn Owl late afternoon.

Heading back it was apparent that I could have a final pit stop near home - and rewarding it was too, with 2 Curlew, 2 Dunlin, a Fox, a Hare and the final owl of the day (and ninth owl at that!), with grand views of a Long-eared perched on a fence line.

That'll do nicely.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Marching On

Trip south toTeesside to meet up with John B. 

Looked in the wrong places for a couple of species - solved that error with a nice cooked breakfast at Saltholme before having a better 2nd half - a much unexpected good view of roosting long-eared owl sunning itself on the edge of a hawthorn and later, a drake green-winged teal elsewhere.

The return journey was uneventful with a pit stop near Coxhoe not providing any buzzards of the rough legged variety.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The weekend so far.

Friday afternoon / evening was spent out and about the vicinity with some things seen and some things not.

Saturday was bright and breezy, so a saunter to Morpeth to see this winters nationally scarce Waxwings. Two birds present, with a knack of feeding on the "wrong-side" of the hedge.

Closer to home, Little Egrets still frequenting the Burn...