Friday, 26 December 2014

Patch and Local Mega!

I'll keep it short, Ring-Necked Parakeet on the garden feeders this morning! Massively unexpected addition to my patch list, lovely!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

2 Month Summary!

Apologies for a severe lack of posting recently, but university work has taken over me already, and birding has been reduced significantly, but here is a summary of since I last posted:

21st Sept - I have to start with the horror story that was the Fea's Petrel. Living in Newcastle makes things rather hard to get down to the coast for seawatching, but I have no excuses for missing my dream bird! I simply left it too late to leave for it, and ended up at Newbiggin, BIG DIP. There's always next year... I did get 2 Sabine's Gulls, Sooty Shearwater, Pom and Long-Tail for my trouble but it's no consolation.

28th Sept - MASKED SHRIKE was successfully twitched at Spurn thanks to Chris Barlow, and thanks for letting me use his bins, as I had no gear with me at uni! Class bird that showed well but fairly distant for the whole time we were there.

7th Oct - Shore Lark, East Chevington. After quite a walk from Druridge Pools, I met Targa159 after a Twitter message telling me it was at East Chev burn, and after a 5 minute wait, it came out onto the beach with Rock Pipits! County Tick #266! 

19th Oct - I took the metro to St. Peter's for the OBPipit in the morning after resisting the twitch for a while, but I'm glad I made the journey! Superb bird showing down to 15ft! I met Andrew Kinghorn while I was there, and after briefly looking at the 'Siberian' Lesser Whitethroat, we headed for a McDonald's, always a good way to end the day... However while we were there, AK got a phone call informing us of a Rough-Legged Buzzard nearby, and after a mad dash, we'd picked up the Rough-Leg at Washington, my second lifer of the day! Superb!

26th Oct - I woke up at home again in the hope of twitching the Tyneside mega of Raven at Tynemouth, alarm set for half 6, and in the car by 7am. However, at 7:09, I was halfway to Tynemouth, and Mark Newsome sent a Twitter message out regarding a Black Guillemot that had just flown south past the Obs at Whitburn, damn! So I carried on... 2 minutes later: "Black Guille just flown back north (07:09), very close in flying with a drake Eider." ARGH! So, in a mad rush, I headed back for St. Mary's, and at 7:15, I was set up with the scope at the toilet block. 5 minutes later, the Eider came north close inshore, no Black Guillemot! Panic! Finally, at 7:38, it came north close inshore, on it's own, HUGE patch tick, and one I've been chasing for years! 

27th Oct - 3rd Time Lucky, ticked the Ravens on Tynemouth Priory early morning!

15th Nov - A bit of a gap between the last time I was out, but I was called to St. Mary's for the Great Reed Warbler that was on the mounds! I sacked off work and headed down in the morning. No sign of the Warbler, and not much else in the area, could it be wasted journey? AC to the rescue once again when he called a Pallas's Warbler on the Astley Track behind the cemetery! After a 3-hour struggle, CB and AK picked it up along the track, and everyone in attendance had some great views, a lifer on the patch! Autumn has finally kicked in!

Pretty Poor Record Shot of the Pallas's!

22nd Nov - Finally a St. Mary's seawatch! St. Mary's (7:30 - 11:30) - 4 Little Auk, Little Egret on rocks, Little Gull, 10 Shelduck, 16 RTDiver, 17 Scoter, 4 RBMerganser and 0 Smew! A pleasant seawatch, especially featuring Little Auks that I hadn't seen this year after missing the explosion of them a few weeks ago! However, it was overshadowed when ND found a Hume's Leaf Warbler in the Brierdene when I was on my way to the Newcastle match!!

23rd Nov - HUME'S! Getting up early the next morning, me and DMcG made for the Dene, and on arrival, MH got us on the bird with no worries! Calling frequently, and becoming yet another new bird for me, and another patch tick! Pallas's one weekend, Hume's the next, both on the patch, both lifers! Happy Days! However, it didn't end there! Me and Dan headed for East Chev for the Smew, which put a good show on at the North End on the North Pool while we were there, but a call from MF had us once again heading for the Brierdene as 2 Waxwings (ANOTHER TICK!) were showing at the North End of the Dene, right on the patch boundary! When we arrived again, Chris Barlow told me they were showing now, and 5 minutes later, we were 10 feet from them! 2 Patch Ticks in a day, with a lifer thrown in as well, and a nice Smew! Autumn really has kicked in!!

Smart Hume's!!


24th Nov - My most recent venture was a shameful twitch with DMcG to Seaton Snook to see the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR before my lectures started in the afternoon, and we managed to see it extremely well, showing to 10 foot at times, a fantastic way to end a fantastic weekend!


Summary since 21/9/14:

3 County Ticks
9 Yearticks
4 Patch Ticks
6 Life Ticks

Nice! Hopefully I will be posting more regularly again soon when I get my work under control!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Moved into Northumbria Uni on Friday, and as feared, my birding has becoming fairly reduced, but after news of missing an absolute mega in the cemetery yesterday (WOOD WARBLER!!), I couldn't resist a trip down this afternoon for the Red-Breasted Flycatcher. Thankfully it hung around for me and became my 265th Northumberland bird, and more importantly, a new bird for the patch! Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Garden Warblers also around today.

Curlew Sandpiper

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Waders, and a PATCH TICK!

It's been a wader week with Little Stints and Curlew Sandpiper at Cresswell on Wednesday, then a mental patch twitch on Friday morning, a LITTLE STINT AT ST. MARY'S! Huge patch tick! While we were there, we picked up another one with the original bird! 2 LITTLE STINTS ON PATCH! Superb!

 Curlew Sandpiper from Cresswell

 Patch Little Stint!
Ruff from Cresswell Pond

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

County Casp!

Okay I've neglected my blog for the last few months, but I have to post, it's a Northumberland Caspian Gull! LOOK!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Past Week!

A few highlights from the last week, the obvious one being the Crag Martin at Flamborough on Friday, absolutely quality! Watched it for about 10 minutes before drifting south with a Swallow, however it returned and was seen up until Sunday morning! No photos unfortunately, but here are a few photos from Bempton Cliffs: 

 Classic Gannets!

On Monday, I returned to the patch, and found SPP and DH looking over the wetland, little did I know they were looking at an absolute mega for St. Mary's. There was a PAIR OF COOTS on the wetland!! I was also told they were mating, which could suggest the first ever breeding record of Coot at St. Mary's! I also got 4 White Wagtails, 30+ Sandwich Terns, a Grey Plover and 3 Bar-Tailed Godwits flew north.


Then yesterday, I went back down and heard my first Gropper of the year! Possibly my favourite song of all time, and it showed wonderfully!

  Grasshopper Warbler
White Wagtail

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Ferruginous Duck!!

Panic hit me on Sunday afternoon as a report of a probable Ferruginous Duck came through from Gosforth Park, and after confirmation this morning, I had a trip along there this afternoon, and connected within minutes! Showed well from the Pyle Hide for 20 minutes before flying onto the smaller pond.

 Ferruginous Duck
Firecrest from St. Mary's last week!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

I blame Gary for this...

I found myself lying in the South Bay at St. Mary's yesterday afternoon studying every single pipit on the beach, after regularly reading about Gary's pipits at Newton. Fascinating stuff, and as Paul M said, "nothing like a bit of 'littoralis' action in Mid-March!". I managed to get 2 'littoralis' Rock Pipits, 3 Rock Pipits and a Meadow Pipit on the seaweed all at 10ft range. Here are some photos:

 One of Two 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipits. Note the overall light (peachy) colouring, strong supercilium and much whiter outer tail feathers.

 A nice 'normal' Rock Pipit!

Smart Meadow Pipit showing as well.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Decent Weekend

Saturday saw me and a few mates twitching the wintering Hoopoe in Dumfries. We didn't see it in 4 hours in summary! However we did get a drake Smew and Slav Grebe on Loch Soulseat. Just before we left, another mate of mine rang me to inform me that the unringed adult Red-Breasted Goose was showing at Loaningfoot with Barnacles again, and after considering a twitch of this bird last weekend, we soon left the Hoopoe site to look for it. After about an hour of looking from West Preston Farm, we finally picked it up in the flock, mega! It was a superb bird and one that I'd been looking forward to seeing for a long time!

Red-Breasted Goose (Copyright - Andrew Kinghorn) 

Then Sunday had me up at East Chevington after some Redpolls! 2 Mealies showed well on the feeders at the top end, and the Red-Necked Grebe was still present.

 Comparison between Mealy (Right) and Lesser (left)

 Mealy Redpoll
Lesser Redpoll

Sunday, 2 March 2014


After visiting the patch this morning and seeing very little apart from 2 Snow Buntings North, A phone call from Simon P and Alan C this evening had me panicking and sprinting from my house to the South Bay in 5 minutes flat, the words 'Juvenile Iceland Gull in the South Bay showing well' was all I needed to hear before I was out the house and within 5 minutes I was watching it, what a beast!! LONG overdue patch tick after missing a couple in the past, I was delighted with this one! Thanks to all that got in touch to let me know about it.

Iceland Gull

Other sightings from the past few days:

 Holywell Dipper

 Snow Buntings at Blyth

Local Willow Tits