Sunday, 15 January 2017

Doon Sooth

Today we decided to head south of our usual patch in search of Gulls to add to our year lists, by down south this meant the delights of North Shields Fish Quay. We were not disappointed after checking out numerous large Gulls on the Fish Quay roof our first target in the shape of a juvenile Iceland Gull was hard to miss as it cruised close to the quay amongst the trawlers. Next a feeding frenzy of gulls produced our next bird in the form of a juvenile Glaucous Gull a big brute of a bird which was very happy to exchange blows with the Great-black Backs, as we watched the melee a Kingfisher flew past the Low Light. Next to Newbiggin which produced 7 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, at Cresswell 80+ Pinkfeet fed in a field. At East Chevington near the burn mouth the 7 Shore Larks were still present, whilst on the North Pool we found a male Scaup and another Kingfisher appeared. Our last port of call was just north of Warkworth where 35 Whooper Swans fed in a field with several Mute Swans.   

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Wild Goose Chase

With Keith full of cold I decided to have a day's birding in the Bamburgh area, the first port of call being Harpers Heugh to look for Geese, unfortunately as with almost every area I visited today the shooters were out in force. There were a few geese in fields just west of Budle Bay, mainly Greylags but also 3 Pink-feet and a single Brent Goose. Next to Stag Rocks where at least 50 Long-tailed Ducks were offshore accompanied by Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser and 15 Red-throated Divers. In yet another change of scenery I headed off to Spindlestone Hides where the feeders had Chaffinches, Blue,Great and Coal Tits on them along with Great-spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch, but no Marsh Tits. My final visit was to Elwick where the fields were alive with the sound of geese, there were about 2000 Pink-feet and almost 1000 Barnacle Geese, also 6 Bean Geese, 30+ Pale Bellied Brent Geese and the unusual sight of a Bar-headed Goose.      

Saturday, 26 November 2016

East Chevington 26th November

Shore Larks are one of those birds which are either here in small numbers at this time of year or totally absent, so when 7 turned up at East Chevington it would be churlish not to go and have a look. The birds were soon located but getting good views were not easy as the number of people on the beach meant that they were very flighty. It is the most we have seen at any one time in the county but not for some favoured locations, north of the border at John Muir Country Park there has been a flock of up to 35 birds for the last few days, lets hope they stay for a while longer so more people can enjoy these stunning little birds.
    

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Waxwing Winter

This week has seen a large movement of that favourite of winter visitors into the county - the Waxwing. The last Waxwing Winter was in 2012, so lets hope this is a good one, its certainly started well.

Birds have been reported in the following locations - Cramlington [200], Ashington / North Seaton [350], Alnwick Moor [30], Amble / Warkworth [35], the A1 between Alnwick and Morpeth [3 flocks largest 200], Cragside [7] with many others scattered around.

Why not check out your nearest Rowan that still has some berries or even Yew's, they always seem to eat these before moving on to other types of berry.

Part of a group of 60 at North Seaton Cemetary today. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Double Issy

What an autumn it has been on Holy Island, at this rate it will be rivalling Fair Isle, so with this in mind and determined that I would not miss out on the action after Keith got the Accentor yesterday whilst I had to work, we headed off to Holy Island and crossed as soon as was safe. On parking we headed straight for the area of beach where the Accentor was watched yesterday, several others were already there but no sign of the fabled sibe. This wasn't a problem as 100 yards along the beach the assembled crowd watched a very approachable Isabelline Wheatear, only the second for the county, it showed really well down to a few metres as it searched the tideline for scraps. We then spent some time searching the dunes for the Accentor with no success, at which point we headed to the Half Moon slack and were soon scoping a very pale Isabelline Shrike which had been found the previous evening, it was mobile but by keeping back and keeping still views were possible. What a two weeks it has been with 3 new birds for the Island's list and lots of happy birders who will always remember this Autumn.
   

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Exotic Accent

Yet another busy day turned upside down by news of a Siberian Mega.As anticipated from recent news a Siberian Accentor was found on Holy Island, a county first! I made my way to the island via delays by slow traffic, roadworks & closed railway crossings. On arriving at the North shore, just west of Snipe point I found about 30 fellow birders waiting for views. A few brief fluttering glimpses of a bird dropping into the dunes wetted the appetite and we were not disappointed since the bird eventually hopped out into the open and gave brilliant views down to about 10 feet! Amazing! When the bird flew back  into the dunes everyone gave a big sigh of relief and very nearly a cheer of delight. Being time constrained I made my way from the island to arrive home to news that another first for the island, in the form of an Isabelline Shrike had been found at the Snook!  But it didn't spoil my day.
 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

A Pallas for lunch

An early start on Holy Island saw us checking out the excavations with little success however as we headed towards the Quarry it was obvious there were still migrants about mainly in the form of Redwings and dozens of Goldcrests. Whilst checking Reed Buntings amongst the dunes a Great Grey Shrike suddenly exploded from a bush, scared the Buntings and headed over the next dune. Our next point of call was the Willows at the north end of the Straight Lonnen, here a Red-breasted Flycatcher was showing well along with a Lesser Whitethroat, further along the Lonnen we came  upon a second Red-breasted Flycatcher and on the wires a second Great Grey Shrike perched. At this point along with Alan Hall we headed off too the Vicars garden to stand by the wall and consume our Turnbulls Steak Pies ( other pies are available), we could hear a Yellow-browed Warbler and when a small bird came into sight we all though that is what it would be, then we saw the un-mistakable crown stripe and realised that it was in fact a gorgeous little Pallas's Warbler. It then proceeded to endlessly forage amongst the leaves just above our heads before finally flying across the garden to give more distant views, more birders arrived and some did manage to get views. We headed back to the car via Chare Ends where we finished off the day with a Common Redstart.