Saturday, 26 October 2013

Number Two

Another trip north to St Abbs Head with Mark and Phil - the frustration of the visit earlier in the month (where the Sardinian Warbler was only heard) and the fact that the bird was still getting reported almost 4 months after it was initially ringed... was too much.

We were rewarded with good weather and a quality couple of minutes decent viewing of this striking species...


To top off the birding, the scenery up at St Abbs Head is stunning...

Walking down to the Sardinian Warblers' territory

Returning to the car...

View West from the Head

View East from the Head
Toad making an appearance at the twitch!

All too much after a long week at work...

Thursday, 24 October 2013


Where the actions is/at...

More of the same this afternoon, with a couple of hours at Marden Quarry - brief view of the Pallas's Warbler, prolonged views of Yellow-browed Warbler and Siberian Chiffchaff. Quite a trio of Sibes...

Prior to that, Arcot was twitched - Whooper Swans for the patch list courtesy GM.

Good times...

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Another Siberian

Spent the afternoon at Marden Quarry, enjoying company with the Northumbrian elite ... the hoped for Pallas's Warbler did not materialise, and I didn't hear the Ring Ouzel call. However, some compensation with a Siberian Chiffchaff, dropping in briefly and calling late afternoon... record shot it is...

Monday, 21 October 2013

Wet Pockets

Headed north with Phil on another quest for a county tick or two - yesterdays news of a Siberian Stonechat just south of Howick came just too late to make use of accumulated brownie points, so a post work trip it was.

We arrived just as the heavens opened - and consequently continued for the whole two and a half hours in the field.

The sibe stonechat performed well, until it opted to retreat from the rain - so with a county tick under the belt we headed to Beadnell Bay, picking up a cracking and obliging Lapland Bunting on the track, but no hoped for Richard's Pipit - a species that seems destined not to make my county list!

Rump shot


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Great dull morning

Woke up with a bit of a cold developing this morning - sufficient excuse not to do any exercise (again), but not enough to prevent a potter birding.

The excitement began at home, with a garden rare - male chaffinch!

At Prestwick Carr the great grey shrike was distant, but appreciated for the 2013 year list - no camera other than the iPhone, so some practice record shots - the shrike was approximately 400 yards away, so I'm quite happy with the result:

The excitement didn't end there, with willow tit also at Prestwick Carr, and a call in to West Hartford produced my first ever little egret on the patch... happy days

Saturday, 19 October 2013


News of lingering Western Bonelli's Warbler and a re-confirmed Pallid Swift had Phil and I heading to Hartlepool this morning - a grey October day mean't poor conditions for photography ...

Best of a bad bunch

The WBW was seen quite quickly upon arrival (though Phil missed it) - so we opted to check out the pallid swift as reports suggested it was showing consistently - and it was, albeit against the overcast sky. Could have done with a visit on Thursday when the sun had been shining...

Bad composite image...

Back near the Borough Hall we finally got reasonable views of the western bonelli's... though nothing for the camera. Brambling, blackcap and chiffchaff added to the migration feel.

Not a bad late morning - early afternoon trip - both species were only my second encounter in the UK!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Audibles

Headed north with Mark and Phil today for an attempt at the Sardinian Warbler. The bird has been present a week or so now, and with Mark and Phil both "needing it", it seemed to close not to go and have a look.

Looking we did, but it was more of a listen. Yellow-brows were heard frequently while traversing the west bank of the loch, and a firecrest joined in during the vigil.

We had one or two probable views, and frustratingly the bird started calling loudly from deep within the scrub mere meters from us...

Time beat us, and with a pitstop for a delightful quail & black pudding scotch egg, we headed back to the sanctuary and safety of Northumberland.

Friday, 4 October 2013


News of a sub-alpine warbler at Druridge brightened the end of another week of early shift - Phil and I arrived mid-afternoon in the mist and were rewarded with a fleeting glimpses in the buckthorns.

Sub-standard picture of the sub-alpine warbler through the mist

A little later the active warbler headed north up the dunes, and gave frustratingly obscured views in a lone hawthorn just off the old mining access road...

Damn those pesky leaves...

The good birding continues... it will be interesting to see what the weekend brings. Or not.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Conditions looked a bit better for grounded migrants this afternoon, and a trip to St Mary's via Rocky Island and the Cemetery was moderately successful, with all the "action" in the latter stages of the trip out:

3 redwing in the gut area, a yellow-browed warbler calling occasionally from the willows at the north end of the wetland, and along the track en-route to the car as light began to fade, a cracking firecrest and a single redstart.

Contender for photo of the month, the St Mary's firecrest... 1/15 second exposure at 1600 :-(