Wednesday, 16 August 2017


A trip to Trow Quarry after a quiet seawatch this morning (2 Roseate Tern the pick). A great display from the juvenile Cuckoo that has been drawing admirers for the last few days.


The regular Mediterranean Gull was by the cliff-top car park at Marsden.

Mediterranean Gull

An unexpectedly good Skua day yesterday, with 4 Pomarine and a Long-tailed. Some excellent scope views, but not so great photos...

Pomarine Skua
Back in Gateshead 4 Green Sandpiper have been at Lamesley and up to 3 Whinchat at Burdon Moor.


Monday, 7 August 2017


An expectedly quiet seawatch from Whitburn in a steady westerly this morning. Star bird was a north-bound Great-crested Grebe, surprisingly rare from here.

Almost home when news of a White-rumped Sandpiper had me heading to St Mary's Island. Showing well on arrival, viewed from the promenade as it fed with Dunlin and Sanderling.

White-rumped Sandpiper

Up the coast to Druridge where a Spotted Redshank, 2 Green Sandpiper and a Ruff were playing hide and seek. No sign of the Caspian Gull at Amble in a brief look.

Quiet still in Gateshead with Green Sandpiper peaking at Lamesley on the 4th with four birds, when a Greenshank spent the morning here.

3 of 4 Green Sandpiper

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Night Heron

Yesterday a trip to Whittle Dene after work to fill a gaping hole in my British list- Night Heron. ' In view' as soon as I arrived. High up in the canopy of a pine belt, views were less than satisfactory.

Night Heron
After a two and a half hour wait it took flight and landed in the open, but only a silhouetted arty shot available.

It then headed off high to the north before returning south, giving cracking flight views as it tried to evade the angry attention of a Grey Heron, several gulls and Common Tern, plus at one stage a Swallow. 

The day had started off with a Common Sandpiper and juvenile Water Rail at Shibdon before work.

Seawatching over the last week or so gave the first adult Long-tailed Skua of the year and some year-tick Sooty Shearwater. The star of this morning's watch a summer plumage Black Guillemot heading south.

Friday, 14 July 2017


An earlier than usual start yesterday in hope that the Albatross would drift past Whitburn. No Albert for me, but some compensation in the form of a Cory's Shearwater. I picked the bird up heading south at about 06.10 just south of straight out. Paul got quickly onto it and we were able to watch it until out of view to the south. Pretty scarce up here and not recorded every year.

An evening seawatch again failed to turn up the Albatross, with the highlight being a smart summer plumage male Ruff.

Called in at Lamesley on the way home, no birds but 4 Purple Hairstreak dancing around the oak tops in the evening sun.

Purple Hairstreak

Wednesday, 12 July 2017


An after-work trip up to Boulmer on Monday was eventually a success. With no sign at first, 90 mins and a lot of walking got me decent, but distant views of the Long-billed Dowitcher.

A return today with more time and better weather gave improved results. It took some finding again, roosting on distant rocks at Seaton Point. The tide gradually pushed the Dowitcher closer and as the tide peaked the bird was just offshore with Dunlin, before flying to the north of the beach.

Long-billed Dowitcher

A stroll along the beach to the north of Boulmer gave distant views of the Dowitcher with the bonus of a Black Redstart in the same scope view.


Friday, 7 July 2017

Sabine's Gull

A trip down to Nosterfield this morning after a steady-away seawatch. No sign of the Sabine's Gull when I got there and the only news was that it had flown west earlier. An hour of searching and I picked it up distantly, in flight. Luckily it banked and flew back to drop on the smaller pool to the southwest of Flask Lake. Superb close views as it ate sticklebacks in the shallows.

Sabine's Gull

A detour to Bolton-on-Swale on the way home gave 5 distant Red-Crested Pochard.

Red-crested Pochard

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

White-winged Black Tern

A traumatic couple of weeks with a dip of the Elegant Tern in Poole Harbour and then the Albatross passing Whitburn on what should have been my day off.

A trip up to Newton Scrape after work last night was looking to have a depressing conclusion with no show for 20 minutes. Luckily the White-winged Black Tern reappeared and gave a great display as it twisted and turned over the scrape.

White-winged Black Tern