Monday, 26 August 2013

Local chat

With the realisation that the coast would be chocca with charvas, I opted to cycle around Cramlingtons finer sights this afternoon - having missed the mornings marsh harrier at West Hartford it made sense to start there - no harrier nor sanderling / little stint, but compensation in the form of 4 whinchat and a single wheatear.

Onwards to Arcot and the belated addition of garganey to the bike list. Lots of teal, some mallard and a stack of coot too.

With the sun shingles it was then back home for ice cream. More later?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Evening potter Tynemouth - greenish warbler calling occasionally next to the Haven car park and a pied flycatcher. A satisfactory day all in all, just a pity the booted wasn't available...

Booted off

News of the Booted Warbler at Hadston on Saturday came too late for me - experimenting with DIY had reached a point of no return...

Sunday commenced with another rapid response trip to West Hartford to collect the little stint that had dropped into say hello to the seemingly resident sanderling. Another great Cramlington year-tick.

Little Stint and Sanderling - an unlikely duo at West Hartford - picture through the scope...

With the biggy (smally?) in the bag, I headed up the coast - negative news already from Hadston, so I called into East Chevington for a decent couple of hours. The spotted crake resides, and at time has forays out into the open - chasing off snipe, redshank and teal while I was there.

A black tern dropped in and fed actively over the northern section of the north pool, while waders were complimented with spotted redshank and ruff.

Spot Shank - again through the scope

With the sun breaking through I headed to Hadston Carrs - no sign of the booted warbler, and a quick look to sea provided manx shearwater, gannet, arctic skua and hods of kittiwake.

Cresswell had greenshank, 2 spotted redshank, avocet and a ruff. Otherwise quiet.

Thursday, 22 August 2013


Tonight I RAN (yes, RAN) to see (twitch) a sanderling! Well done Gordon... A sanderling at West Hartford. 

Cramlington's first I think...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

After spot

Headed up the coast for a couple of hours - 7 Manx shearwater off Snab, the up to Cresswell: lots to look at, with spotted redshank, 5 greenshank, common sandpiper, single black-tailed and bar-tailed godwit, avocet, 3+ yellow wagtail and a pintail...

Monday, 19 August 2013

Return to work..

The penalty for two weeks off work is the return, and it was with great dismay when the 04:30 alarm call went off today. More on today later.

The weekend consisted of light birding - Saturday was spent with Mark, visiting Arcot (Garganey still present) and then up the coast - no sign of any whinchat at Hadston, but a decent 3 spoonbill at Hauxley along with a wood sandpiper, common sandpiper and two greenshank. At Newbiggin, a minimum of 7 mediterranean gull mixed with the bhs'.

Sunday was meant to be spent out on the bike, but the cycle to a barren West Hartford was suffice to curtail efforts. 3 buzzard at Boghouses poor conciliation.

Monday morning and I'm back at work, and news of the delivery of a new Swarovski scope was sufficient to keep motivation levels up...

First trip out was to Arcot - again the garganey was present, along with water rail and common sandpiper. I didn't have any joy with shoveler, nor digi-scoping.

In the house, garden birds were a doddle with a compact camera hand-held against the scope... out in the field? nightmare! Perhaps the target was a little ambitious? Drap duck, distant, dull and windy (the weather, not me)... and uncertainties of camera settings to use. I eventually opted for manual focussing, and the first image is appended here... "could do better" perhaps is the comment to mark this shot!

Anyhoo, I'm not intending to digiscope with any real interest...

...but the option to do so would be nice

... any practical tips?

Digi-scoping aside, the scope is great - I've been scope-less since May and I dare say I've missed it...

Friday, 16 August 2013


Patch birding had been put to one side as Mr and Mrs Sometimes headed to Switzerland for a week or so of hiking around Zermatt. This was the first trip that the "big camera" did not travel, instead opting to take the recently acquired bridge.

Birding was limited to the path side, and most anticipated species were seen, with exception of both Serin and Snow Finch (seen here on our last visit to Zermatt in 2003).

Highlights included a pair of Honey Buzzard residing in the valley, squalls of Alpine Chough on the mountain tops, a single Rock Bunting, Alpine Accentor, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Melodious Warbler, plenty of Raven (affectionally known as "pig birds" by the Mrs -  apparently thats what the call is like!) and loads of willow tit. Our last walk included a close encounter with an immature golden eagle, and raptor interest continued right to the airport with black kite, honey buzzard and peregrine all noted above the runways at Geneva.

The morning after we arrived back in blighty included a quick pitstop at Arcot - Garganey secured for the patch year list...

Saturday, 3 August 2013

More spots

Another Saturday, more spotting spotteds... A crake today, with the elusive East Chevington bird on show for a matter of seconds! 

Whimbrel and black tailed godwit also present, while at Newbiggin I continue to not see roseate tern.