Sunday, 1 November 2009

County tick, pec, chips and a sermon

Started Saturday's birding at Stag Rocks with Mark. After several years of trying we finally connected with black guillemot - a county tick for us both, a species which has been a bit of a bogey until now. BG's winter on the Farne's in small numbers and occasionally can be scoped from Stag Rocks. Today we were very lucky, as a single bird was about 400m offshore. Also seen during the watch were several guillemot, a gannet, red-breasted merganser, three red-throated diver, eider, bar-tailed godwit, oystercatcher and redshank. Interestingly there were no scoter offshore.

Monks House pool had held a snow goose for the past couple of days, but there was no sign on Saturday morning, just a few grey lags with mallard, shoveler and many black-headed gull. We later learnt that the snow goose was at Budle... and we had headed back south, via Swinhoe and it's amusing signpost -

Our next stop was the Beehive flash where a pectoral sandpiper had been reported off and on for a couple of days. Initially there was no sign and it was not until we drove off that the pec was seen (from the moving car) sunbathing in the long grass on the northern edge of the pool, hence the quirky shot below.

Next stop was the obligatory visit to the fish quay at North Shields for a nice portion of pie and chips, with a sab's on the side. Unfortunately for us, the pie and chips won the initial port of call, and after devouring them we discovered that the sabine's gull had been and gone while we were eating! This bird has lingered for a week now, but is becoming more mobile, spending time at both North Shields and South Shields. We had a check of Tynemouth Haven on route back home but there was no immediate sign.
My evening was spent back at the O2 Academy in Newcastle where Reverend and the Makers were performing. Pre-show was spent feeding up at the Canteen and Bar where a rather tasty steak and kidney pie was much enjoyed along with some rivot catcher beer. They were very good indeed, and with a Saturday 10pm curfew, continued their show (albeit Jon McClure and an acoustic guitar) in the car park adjacent to the venue!

After the show I managed to see a further two species - insomnia-ridden black-headed gull feeding on Clayton Street, Newcastle at 23:00, and barn owl - sitting on a roadsign on the A1/A19 slip-road.


Unknown said...

I'm loving that sign.

Crammy Birder said...

I wish I could have seen RATM, I didn't even know they were coming to newcastle until my parents told me they had tickets!
I've seen a sign like that at wylam, looks like that's what MC is doing with himself these days.