Sunday, 20 July 2014

The collector

Courtesy of LiverB, garganey today, again at Arcot. No sign of the scoter but that perhaps was not expected. A water rail made a brief appearance though...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Cramlington action...

Caught up with Barn Owl at West Hartford this week after many failed attempts over the last two...

A greenshank on Thursday was good too - WH looks good for waders.

Saturday morning was call about seeing stuff others had found earlier - so I take no credit for the first Cramlington record of Common Scoter at Arcot, Shoveler and  Dunlin at Northumberlandia...

Saturday, 28 June 2014


With Mark missing out on the Bridled Tern in 2013, this weekend seemed good enough to right the wrong - so with a 12:15 departure we were off on the tourist trip round the Farnes, eventually landing on Inner Farne for the final hour.

Result in the form of said tern being present and viewable from the boat upon landing, then frustration as it flew off for 45 minutes. Its return timed nicely (?) with the arrival of our boat back to Seahouses mean't brief, not as close as I'd like views. And it was freezing!

Record shots...

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The small biggie.

A quiet June for me -  predominanly lacking luck:

Great Reed Warbler - dipped on the flowing morning
Black-winged Pratincole - like many, arrived in the Bay to late.

Highlights? Few and far between - The Great White Egret at Hauxley was nice (along with the weird goose assemblage), local Bearded Tit, Spoonbills, Little Egrets, Barn Owls and Little Gulls all nice.

Strangely the "biggie" was a "little-y" - after the fluke trip to Manchester last month coinciding with the Elton Reservoir Little Bittern, this morning saw me on vigil at Gosforth Park, a few mere miles from home watching, albeit brief, another fine male Little Bittern flying access the lake.

No smell of roses at Byker, I failed to locate the rose-coloured starling mid morning... perhaps it will be re-located.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Small bite

A convenient concert in Manchester permitted an unanticipated lifer today, with a reclusive male Little Bittern at Elton Reservior. Smaller than a mallard...

The LB was in the willow scrub just right of the oak tree...

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Foraging in the South West

A venture South West today in glorious conditions... Allen Banks / Morralee Wood provided all target species - Pied Flycatcher (2 males), Redstart and Wood Warbler.

Further south, a family party of Ring Ouzel at Sipton Burn - both adults and two juvs.

Sunday, 11 May 2014


After the relative excitement of Yank waders yesterday, Sunday was a more relaxed affair, with pedal power utilised rather than petrol. West Hartford - Arcot - West Hartford via a few urban stops produced a couple of year ticks - both at Arcot.

First up, Garden Warbler - a surprise omission in 2013 for me, so good to get this out of the way while still singing.

Second up, and initially looking like a dip was Cuckoo. GM had the bird in the SE field but it was lost to view as it made its way along the hedges. Some damp feet later (lots of water in them there fields today) and a venture back to the main pond revealed the Cuckoo perched on the perimeter fence, bingo.

Lots of other migrants apparent today - lesser and common whitethroat, willow warbler, chiff chaff, blackcap, swallow, house and sand Martin, swift and common tern. Hopefully still a surprise or two left in this spring passage...

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Legs and Co

Headed north mid morning after the heavy rain took a break, with Beadnell Bay being the first port of call. 

The Lesser Yellowlegs, albeit distant, was  readily available on the flash north of the Long Nanny burn, with Little and Arctic Tern flying over the dunes too.

Further north at the flooded fields near Hoppen Kiln the Pectoral Sandpiper was added to the day list, along with a Wood Sandpiper and four Garganey (1 drake). On the roadside a Tree Sparrow was nesting.

West Hartford was enroute home, and a flyover Yellow Wagtail was a bonus. On the flash were two Shelduck and a single Moorhen, while the reeds continue to hold many Reed Bunting. Swift were in their tens over the River Blyth.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Time for a quick chat

Delighted to finally add Woodchat Shrike to my County list this afternoon - a species I've seen three times in neighbouring Durham and others elsewhere. Albeit very distant, and a record shot only through the scope at x70 with an iPhone on full digital zoom too...

Cracking bird!

Close by even worse pictures were taken of the great white egret at Druridge (most certainly a different bird to the one I found at Arcot last month), I'll spare readers of those atrocities, it was bad enough last time...

Some nice views of both yellow wagtail and whimbrel too.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Crane takes the strain

A morning outing to Newbiggin failed to connect me with a county tick - the western bonellis warbler had stopped singing and showing some 15 minutes before my arrival - just over 2 hours vigil was rewarded with a common crane flying low south over the ash lagoon. 

Maybe more later?

Monday, 28 April 2014

Wryneck, Whitley Bay

Enjoyed superb views of the Wryneck at the Whitley Bay Crematorium this afternoon...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

"L"easter Sunday

With the moderate success of Saturday I headed out round the doors early again today. Noticeably cooler early on, and stops at both West Hartford and Arcot were devoid of any interest.

Up the coast, Druridge was apparently garganey-less though there were plenty of shoveler...

East Chevington eventually yielded the summer plumage black-necked grebe, one of three species available, with little and perhaps six great-crested too. An immature male marsh harrier drifted through, but hoped for sandwich tern etc were elsewhere.

Cresswell pitstop on the way home enabled two avocet to be added to the Northumberland year-list.

Reports of 2 common crane flying north got me back out at 1230, and an optimistic attempt to pick them up over West Hartford was soon kicked out of me, though the temperature had increased a bit.

Late afternoon provided another opportunity to confirm that there wasn't a great deal to see or hear at both West Hartford and Arcot, with highlights being 10+ sand martin, ever increasing numbers of willow warbler and the prospect of booze back at home this evening...

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Wits and Wood

Earlish morning saunter to West Hartford to pick up the two early morning black-tailed godwit (looking very Icelandic) backed up with a pair of gadwall, Canada geese, mixed group of h and lbb gulls.

At Arcot two grasshopper warbler, willows and chiff, blackcap, sand Martin, swallow gave a summery feel, while both great spotted (2) and male green woodpecker vocal and visual.