Saturday, 17 November 2018


Nice to finally catch up with the Warkworth Bewick's swan pair this afternoon, attempt 3... and a decent herd of Whooper too.

A good species in Northumberland, hopefully they'll hang on till the new year.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018


Storm Petrel would be more expected off Hartlepool Promenade...

Waiting for the rain to clear at South Shields... waiting for a Pallid Swift to re-appear.
No sign.
Phone buzzes...
"Hartlepool: Little Swift at the battery"
Phone buzzes again. An image. Of a Little Swift....

Dilemma. It's 14.11, its very dull and Hartlepool is 40 minutes away. Would there be any light?

One way to find out...

Arrived in Hartlepool. Don't know where the action is. Dump car and walk round coastal path... Birders, walking north.

Pallid Swift appears overhead. Like they do...

A few meters further and there's a line of folk looking over the promenade.
Theres a Little Swift zooming to and fro... a few feet away! It's joined by the Pallid. Is this really happening?


So the next hour or so is spend mainly fruitlessly locking focus on the two swifts (with an imbalance of attempts prioritised on the Little)... a huge percentage of non-focused shutter releases later and the sun sets.


1 swift sp. in November is unexpected. 2? Really...

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Spotting Gulls

A timely exit from work on Monday coincided with news that there was a Spotted Sandpiper nearby at Jarrow - fortuitous that the trusty Bins' are living in the car, I headed straight there.

As the working week progressed news broke of something much more meaty - in the form of two Gull-billed Terns, inland at Haughton Strother GP. Further, they'd been there since the start of the month!

Lots of discussion on Twitter and the like suggested that parking was to be interesting and that views would be distant - and indeed, Friday afternoons trip there confirmed that to be the case. However, a full fat UK and County tick for me, so more than content. Some incredible iPhone hand held to 'scope images follow...

All pictures video-stills!

Terns photographed on the island!

Friday, 21 September 2018


As the build up for Autumn commences, Arcot scores its first Avocet - an immature to boot (a first record of both autumn and immature for Cramlington).

Still a rare in Cramlington, with all other records from West Hartford in Spring.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Swiss Cheese

A week walking the confines of Zermatt in Switzerland produced a couple of welcome sightings, with Lammergeier and Wallcreeper being new. In addition a few other padders, with Golden Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Red Kite, Black Kite, Alpine Chough, Nutcracker, Red-backed Shrike, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Wood Warbler, Crested Tit and Willow Tit adding to the excitement.

Oh, and the views...

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Back in Black

5 scoter year it is then.

Record shots from Holy Island - my 7D doesn't seem to like the 2.0 extender... Spoonbill at Druridge was a nice bonus.

Sunday, 1 April 2018


Nice White-spotted Bluethroat on the shore at Newbiggin this morning. Can't beat a bit of rubbish to enliven a distant record shot.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

450 days

A mere 450 days for my UK list to increase by one - provided by the drake American White-winged Scoter off Musselburgh on 25th. A welcome and somewhat unexpected addition. Supporting cast was three further scoter species - velvet, common and a single drake surf.

Meagre video stills above... records at best!

All jolly good.

2018 has been a quiet start - with some nice padders though through months 1 - 3:

Glaucous, Iceland, Mediterranean, Little Gulls
Great Northern Divers (with untickable views of White-billed and a further near miss in March)
Hawfinches, Marsh Tit, Dipper
Local Ring-necked Parakeet
Great Grey Shrike
Common Crane
Water Rail (on the Horton Burn - urban Mega!)
Grey Phalarope (2)
Goshawk, Raven, Crossbill.