Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Last few days

Pottering locally has produced up to 8 little egrets (highest count to date), short-eared and barn owl, woodcock, jay  and grey wagtails. All very pleasant.

Off the bike and a car ride away to Widdrington Moor Lake - "twitched" the two Bewick's Swan and single GND today, in mildly inclement conditions...

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Home Birds

Back in 1987 I rushed up to Cresswell Pond with my Dad to twitch our first Little Egret. Quite an uncommon bird then. 

Now? They winter in our housing estate...

3 this morning...

Prior to this I was watching unco-operative Bohemian Waxwing at Blyth - Nine birds this morning feeding at the back of a fenced off paddock of sorts.

Yesterday evening was spent at West Hartford, watching the day disappear into night. Two Cormorant and 50 Lapwing were about to be the highlight until a Barn Owl appeared, hunting the fields. Delightful.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The start of the end

Pleasant couple of hours at Tynemouth this morning, with a Black Redstart favouring the cliffs adjacent the pier, and an immature Glaucous Gull in the vicinity.

Should have taken the 500mm... all images with the 100-400mm

Out of the shadows...

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Hanging on....

2015 continues to plod along - hoping to resume proper birding in '16.

Little egrets are back on the estate for seemingly winter residence - two today, and up to seven together over the last couple of weeks!

No kingfisher or waxwing yet...

Saturday, 21 November 2015


A rare venture out this afternoon with plenty of seabird action being reported to get me to the coast.

Bonus bird in form of little egret on the Horton burn as I passed the old fire station in Cramlington was a good start (and was still present on my return).

Cresswell pond provided a drake long tailed duck on the northern pool after not picking up the hemscott hill hooded crow.

Stopped at the car park just south of Cresswell ices for perhaps 45 minutes -

20 little auk 
3 guillemot
1 Balearic Shearwater (trailing 2 little auk, surreal)
3 velvet scoter
29 common scoter
R t diver 
1 gannet
Hods of g b b g, h g, b h g....

Saturday, 17 October 2015

High hopes: reality bites.

A visit to Holy Island today, with high hopes of migrants galore...

Not quite - but a pleasant ramble produced a single Lapland Bunting, Merlin, Yellow-browed Warbler plus plenty of incoming Redwing and Blackbird.

Had arrived back home when news of Barred Warbler and a near-by White-rumped  Sandpiper broke... So alas could have been better. Not to worry.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Outing 6

Outing 6 of the annual 10 year project - a weekend with John B, Mark A, Rob L and guest appearances from Ian R and Sacha B...

Potential for rares appeared high on Friday 2nd, with reports of Norfolk Blyths' Pipit and Marsh Sandpiper... alas it was a quieter weekend than hoped - but not without 5 more ticks for the overall 10 year trip list

10 Years 10 Trips… 
Trip Totals8111711598112107
Cumulating Totals81145181193211215

Mull/Iona 8/9 May 2010Norfolk 27/29 May 2011Northumberland 23/24/25 Mar 2012Speyside and Scotland Tour 3/4/5 May 2013Norfolk and Suffolk 1/2 Mar 2014Norfolk 3/4 Oct 2015

The new species - Golden Pheasant (quite unexpected at Wolferton - male on the roadside early morning), Yellow-browed Warbler, Arctic Skua, Great Skua and Great White Egret.

Some pictures...

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Legging it.

With seconds to spare before it drifted North...

Others scored with an amazing close roadside hover - my camera was still in the car boot, so a record via the iPhone / scope.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

It's great when you're

Finishing the washing up at 1820, reading news about a great shearwaters progress North past St Mary's ... At Newbiggins' Church point 15 minutes later and watching it a few minutes later. Then it decides to veer from north to South for a few minutes coming increasingly closer.... "Boom" is what the kids say. I think.

Then this happened...

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...