Saturday, 1 December 2012

Welcome to Winter!

This morning I revisited St. Mary's after a rush down after sixth form yesterday to catch up with my second black redstart for patch, only my 4th in Britain, and it was a very good decision! Met up with Alan Curry in the south bay around half 8 and immediately it put in an appearance, spending most of it's time on the cliff and seaweed darting backwards and forwards. After a while, I went off and left Alan to photograph it and checked out the rest of the patch, with very little around apart from the 'resident' great-spotted woodpecker. 

So after a while, I decided to go back to see the redstart again and this time, it showed like a dream. I found by just sitting a rock and allowing the bird to get used to me, it was very tame indeed, coming within 5 feet at one point, and posing for me in the morning sun. Morning well spent!

What a stunner!

Also spent some time photographing these guys on the rocks...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Patch Tick Brute...

This morning my grandma and me went to Seaton Common to try and shake off a bogey bird of mine in the form of Caspian Gull. Meeting up with Michael Murphy, Harry Murphy and Andrew Kinghorn, I was greeted by mist and thick fog allowing me no views whatsoever of any gulls. After about an hour of waiting for the fog to lift, I received a phone call from Alan Curry (never good if I can't get to St. Mary's quickly) telling me that he had found a Glaucous Gull on the rocks near the first car park. So a quick change of plan saw us getting some lunch at Saltholme then heading back for St. Mary's. On arrival at 3 o'clock, I headed straight for the gull roost where I assumed it would be, and after about 10 seconds of looking I found it, what a brute!! I was thrilled to re-find it and finally patch tick it! Dan McGibbon turned up soon after and also saw it, a lifer for him which made it even better! 


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Bee-Eater 3/11/12

After getting a call off Andrew and Kieran this morning, I had soon roped my dad into taking me to seaburn for the bee-eater. Setting off at half 1, we were at Seaburn for quarter past 2 and the bird showed wonderfully for the hour we were there, catching wasps and sitting on the aerials 15 feet away. Amazing bird!


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Seawatching Weekend

After seeing the movement of little auks on Saturday, I decided to do some seawatching on Sunday morning. I was joined by Alan Jack and Steve Wales for a very good session, this is the totals:

Little Auk - 54
Teal - 100
Common Scoter - 84
Wigeon - 30
Red-Throated Diver - 14
Goldeneye - 3
Shelduck - 4
Long-Tailed Duck - 2
Red-Breasted Merganser - 7
Great Northern Diver - 1

So after that session, I decided to get up early this morning and go seawatching again, this time accompanied by Dan McGibbon. Michael and Joe joined us for the last hour or so, here are our totals for today:

Little Auk - 16
Common Scoter - 110
Red-Throated Diver - 14
Fulmar - 1
Shelduck - 1
Red-Breasted Mergasner - 1
Goldeneye - 3
Peregrine (Chasing starling over the sea) - 1
Great Northern Diver - 2
Long-Tailed Duck - 1
Great-Crested Grebe - 1
Woodcock - 1

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Recent Sightings 9/9/12 - 22/9/12

 Baird's Sandpiper and Sanderling at Seaton Snook 9/9/12
 Peregrine at Seaton Snook 9/9/12
 Very Showy Ringed Plover at St. Mary's 22/9/12
 Short-Eared Owls continuing to show well at St. Mary's tonight! 22/9/12

 Snow Bunting at The Brier Dene car park, amazed to find this bird in September! 20/9/12

 St. Mary's Yellow-Browed Warbler showing well on and off this morning.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

More St. Mary's Surprises 26/8/12

I decided to get up this morning to go in search of long-tailed skuas, got to the seawatching hide at 7am, but by 8:30am I had seen nothing of note apart from 4 arctic skuas so I decided to check the willows for warblers. On my way in, I spotted a reed warbler and a chiffchaff, a good sign! After seeing little else, I decided to try the stiles, and within 5 minutes of watching, I spotted a little warbler, and after getting it in the binoculars, I noticed a bright yellow supercilium and immediately thought yellow-browed, but on further inspection, it only had 1 wingbar, and just as I went for my camera, it flew off - damn! After searching for another 15 minutes, I heard a high pitched call, Greenish Warbler!! After running around the corner and over the stile,  I was photographing the little beauty! After reporting it and texting a few people, I had Mike Hodgson listening to my recording, and he confirmed my ID. Patch tick number 144, and my rarest yet!  

Reed Warbler
Pied Flycatcher last week

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Recent Sightings

I haven't been posting for a long while now because I am bunged down with revision and exams! But in between revision sessions, I have been managing to get out so I'm just going to do a post on all recent sightings since my last post (so not really very recent at all!), these are:
Spotted Flycatcher on Holy Island

Marsh Warbler at Hadston Carrs
Gorgeous Little Stint at Newbiggin

I'ev also just returned from St. Mary's after a fantastic seawatching session, 8 manx shearwater past, and 2 adult BLACK TERNS! A brilliant lifer for me!

Third time lucky!

I've managed to dip the long-billed dowitcher at Saltholme twice now, but today I finally nailed it at Greenabella Marsh! Showing for only 15 minutes, this gorgeous bird was another lifer for me, and a very rewarding one at that!
A record shot of the beautiful yank!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

St. Mary's Surprises 16/4/12

Arrived at St. Mary's with Dan yesterday morning at 9, seawatching until 11 produced quite a bit, ore than expected, with 5 sandwich terns, 1 common scoter, 2 red-throated divers, a few fulmar and hundreds of common gulls all heading north. Just as we were about to finish, we spotted a summer plumaged, great-northern diver on the sea, a very nice year and patch tick! On our way out, we stopped at the willows just to see what was around, we saw a little bird fly into the trees in front of us, and as it flew out, I noticed an extremely red/orange tail and a very white breast, so we followed it to get an ID, it then showed for another 10 seconds before diving for cover to reveal that it was a NIGHTINGALE! My first in the UK, and a wonderful surprise to the day!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Recent Sightings (Mainly Gulls)

Haven't been able to do many posts recently so I thought I would do a round up of all my recent sightings. I start with my trip to Norfolk, although we didn't get many photos I did get a good number of life ticks. I picked up golden pheasant, shore lark and black brant. We did dip on a few birds such as rough-legged buzzard and hawfinch though. We finished at Titchwell where I took the opportunity to photograph a black-tailed godwit at close range next to the path!

Black-Tailed Godwit 2

Black-Tailed Godwit

So when we got back home, I noticed a very interesting report on birdguides, it seems a certain fish quay was holding a lot of gulls I was interested in seeing, including kumlien's, glaucous and little gull. I am talking of course about Hartlepool Headland, on arrival we picked up all of these gulls at very close range within ten minutes, and the light was simply wonderful.

Glaucous Gull 5

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

Little Gull Little Gull Kumlien's Gull Kumlien's Gull

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Ice 5/2/12

I haven't really been out a lot recently so had nothing to report, however, it was good to turn that around this morning with a very showy adult iceland gull at North Shields, we watch it fly around the fish quay and repeatedly battle other gulls for fish, even great black-backed gulls struggled to keep away from the battles! Eventually after 30 minutes, it flew up the river and out of site so we swung by the lighthouse on the way home, with not a lot of note on the tide lines we headed home, but did get a good view of a med gull flying along side the car before landing on the grass near the Brier Dene car park. Iceland Gull 2 Iceland Gull 4 Iceland Gull 1 Iceland Gull Med Gull Med Gull

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy Birding 2012 - Favourite Photos from 2011

I thought I'd follow the trend of the 'final post' on the year with a summary of my favourite moments and photos from 2011:
To start, a photograph taken at sunset of 4 whooper swans coming into land at Marton Mere reserve at Blackpool.

Whooper Swans

Another of my favourites is this one, from mine and my dads annual Scotland visits, this time to the Uists, this short-eared owl was taken by the road on North Uist.

Short-eared Owl

A photograph of a parent and juvenile tree sparrows at Big Waters. After spending so long without a decent photo of a tree sparrow, this opportunity came along.

tree Sparrow

A recent one, taken at the start of the month at the redeveloped Gosforth Park, fantastically cut back and allows views of birds like this secretive bittern, I was lucky enough to photograph this bird at about 10 metres.

Bittern 2

Now for my favourite bird of all time, the kestrel. This female showed very little fear of me as I followed it around the car park at Big Waters watching it catch worms and mice in the wooded area next to the car park.

Kestrel Good

This bird has always been the one I couldn't not get, no matter how long I tried for, so I visited my local patch, St. Mary's, which provided me with an opportunity I couldn't refuse, a low-flying swift.

Swift 1

My only mammal pf the collection is this wood mouse photographed at Low Newton, again showing no fear whatsoever as this photo is taken with a 18-105mm lens, at 105mm this photo is uncropped, I had never seen a wood mouse so close which made the experience so special.

Wood Mouse

Another of my favourites from the year, taken at Northumberland Park was this beautiful drake mandarin, another bird that showed little fear of people.

Mandarin Good

For a lot of May, June and July, I was attempting to photograph this species in many different locations, including St. Mary's, Druridge Pools and finally where this photo was taken, Arcot Pond.

Grasshopper Warbler

I thought it would be rude not to include this beauty in my collection, this desert wheatear at Newbiggin I have photographed on many occasions and never ceases to amaze me how approachable this bird is, such a stunning bird as well.

Desert Wheatear

And finally my favourite image of 2011. We have had many rarities in Northumberland this year including, Greater Yellowlegs - Hauxley, Desert Wheatear - Newbiggin, Lesser Scaup - Marden Quarry, Eastern Black Redstart - Holy Island and many more but my favourite photograph of 2011 was taken 5 minutes from my house at St. Mary's Island. I felt that the colours, light and the pose of this stunning bar-tailed godwit couldn't be beaten...

Bar-Tailed Godwit 2

Happy New Year and Good Birding to all in 2012!