Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Back again

After the success I had three weeks ago with Holywell Birder I went back to check for migrants at Seaton Sluice this afternoon.
There were 8+ Robins in the harbour alone along with Dunnock, Blackbird and Meadow Pipit, much like yesterday.
A Redstart was flicking around the bushes next to the sluice bridge as I crossed onto Rocky Island. I searches all the same areas I had searched three weeks ago but instead of Warblers and a Wryneck all I could find were more Robins and Wrens.
4 Stonechat were tacking from the tops of the bushes leading down to the harbour and a Grey Wagtail flew down the sluice and onto the beach.
After thrashing through half a mile of dunes on the way back to the car all I flushed was a single Wheatear.

More Robins, Wrens, Dunnock and Blackbirds have appeared in my garden over night along with a couple of Redwing.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Woodhorn Warbler

With some promising weather conditions I was feeling optimistic when I headed to Newbiggin with SH this morning. We stopped at Woodhorn Church yard first and thoroughly checked the hedgerow between the church yard and the train track.

Within a few minutes 20+ Song Thrush worked their way along the hedgerow along with high numbers of Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Goldcrest and a single Redwing. A few warblers were tacking and calling from the deepest cover and whilst listening Steve picked up the call and song of a bird I have been meaning to catch up with for a while, a Yellow Browed Warbler- Lifer. It showed well on and off climbing up the bare area of the hedgerow picking off berries as it went. Once the YB Warbler had got to the top of the hedge it flew into the trees nearer the train tracks before flying towards the church yard.

The Mound was fairly quiet with a Spotted Flycatcher being the only bird of note. After the Mound we gave the Golf course a thrash. The bushes around the side of the Ash Lagoon held only a Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler and we could only find a Goldcrest and a Redstart which were both hiding in the bushes alongside the small stream running through the course.

When we started looking around the bushes at Cambois the drizzle had stopped and the birds had started to get quieter, but we did manage to find a couple more Goldcrest, Redwing and a Spotted Flycatcher.

On the way home we checked West Hartford where 3 Dunlin- Patch Tick, were amongst the Lapwing and Gulls. Also a Goldcrest was in the hedgerow behind the substation plantation.

115 - Dunlin

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sharp Tailed Sand

After arranging to go down to Teesside with JM (Birding Sometimes) last night, provided that the Sharp Tailed Sandpiper was still there, we were both pleased when positive news came through this morning.
After getting to Greatham Creek in good time by avoiding the worst of the traffic, we were glad that we hadn’t seen the news that the STS had flown from the tidal pool until we had seen a line of birders scanning the mud bank on the other side of the bridge.
They had refound it and after getting to a better vantage point we could see the Sharp Tailed Sandpiper – Lifer, along side a Dunlin for comparison.
During our time watching this Pec Sand looking wader, it wandered around the bank probing the mud and occasionally wandering off to the waters edge where at one point it was in a line with a Curlew, Dunlin and a Redshank.
A much better looking wader than I was expecting even if the views were quite distant.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Record Beaten!

Out for the WEBS Count with SH and DMcK this morning at Castle Island. Despite the persisting rain the count was a good one with large number of Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 late Common Sandpiper, 21 Dunlin and a record count of 88 Snipe.

Next we walked from the car park at Newbiggin to Beacon Point and back across the Golf Course. A few Med Gulls were amongst the BH Gulls on the beach and 2 Bar-Tailed Godwits were on the Golf Course.
We failed to find any Lapland Buntings at Beacon Point or any migrants on our search of the Golf Course.

After checking a quiet West Hartford we got a message from GB on our way to Arcot that he was watching a Black- Tailed Godwit- Patch Tick. When we arrived it was still at the back of the pond behind the island.

I finished on 113 on the patch last year and have now beaten that record with Redpoll and Willow Tit still possibilities.

114 – Black-Tailed Godwit

Monday, 13 September 2010

Blog Link

I had completely forgotten about this link SH gave me a while ago; http://naturalandalus.blogspot.com/
Some good Honey Buzzard pictures are on there now. I think it will be a good read during the dark winter months and it might give some hope and prove that some good birds are just around the corner as spring approaches.

Friday, 10 September 2010

West Hartford does it again

Whilst out on Newbiggin golf course with SH this morning, we were talking about the lack of Quail seen during September migration. Its funny how things work out.
Despite last nights rain we only managed to find a few Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and Garden Warbler in the scrub surrounding the golf course.

At Cresswell the water level was so high all the waders (5 Ruff and a Dunlin), were wandering around the grass north of the causeway.

With Low Newton currently having the best waders scrapes in the county at the moment, we decided to go, in my opinion, the second best wader area in the county, West Hartford.
Our decision paid off as when the mixed flock of Lapwing and Gulls flew off 2 smaller waders were seen amongst them. We just presumed they were Dunlin but after checking them closer once they had landed back on the main pool, we saw that they were Little Stint- Patch Tick!
A Crammy mega, which was made even better when another two moved out of the grass and joined them. As if 4 Little Stints weren’t good enough, a Quail (spooky) flew out of the grass next to us whilst calling.
We saw it again in flight a few times in the field next to the fire station.
Patch Birding really doesn’t get any better than this.

113 - Little Stint

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


After seeing that migrants were appearing up and down the country, apart from Northumberland this morning, me and Cain (Holywell Birder), went out mid afternoon to find some ourselves.
We started at Blyth Links Cemetery, which was quiet. In the stubble field next to the cemetery was a covey of 11 Grey Partridge, (7 Juv, 4 Adult), which ran across the field once they had seen us.
Next we stopped at Seaton Sluice, which was relatively sheltered from the wind. After parking we walked under the main bridge were the first migrants that greeted us were a Whitethroat and a male Blackcap in a small patch of bushes.
Next we scanned the bushes on the other side of the harbour were a stunning male Redstart was perched on the top. It soon moved from its perch and flew over the sluice and our head and landed in the bushes behind us before flying back.

Most of the activity seemed to be in the bushes on the sluice side of Rocky Island so that’s were we headed.
On the more exposed Rocky Island the first birds we found were a Linnet and Wheatear followed by a Warbler sp. that dived for cover in the centre of a nettle patch.
We waited for it to show itself again and over a half an hour period it showed on and off in different nettle patches and bushes. Cain managed to get some record shots (expect them to be posted on his blog in the next 3-6 months :).
The warbler preferred to keep low down in the vegetation but was very flighty.
It could just turn out to be a Willow Warbler but it just didn’t look like one.
It seemed to have a longer bill, was a darker plain brown on its back, have an olive tinge to its under parts, pale supercilium and a dark edge to its primaries.

Our final view of it was as it flew into the thicker cover next to the house. Whilst waiting for it to come out other birds were starting to appear as they came in off the sea.
These included a Kingfisher, which flew around the harbour and back out to sea, 2 Whinchat and 3 Redstart.
Also 15 Golden Plover, 5 Sanderling and other wader sp. flew over.
The best bird of the day though was a Wryneck- Lifer, which flew out of the bushes the warbler had disappeared into and into the harbour.
After searching for it again we had a few brief views as it flew across the harbour into the bushes on the other side before flying off into the dunes.

I’m glad I spent the afternoon looking for birds myself rather than waiting for news to come out on Birdguides and going after second hand birds.
Also we saw the Curlew Sandpiper on Beehive Flash on the way back.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Last night and this morning

I spent the last hour of light at West Hartford last night. A Greenshank and Green Sandpiper where the only birds on the pools, I have checked WH a few times during the week but it has been quiet.
I was sitting on the ground scanning the edges of the main pool when a Peregrine- Patch Tick, flew over the fire station and headed west. As it went 1000+ Gulls lifted from the factory roof tops in panic and mobbed it. I scanned the sky for a while after but it did not return.
In the darkness I could hear Grey Partridge calling to each other from the back fields and a Woodcock flew over the entrance plantation.

This morning I went to the Blyth Estuary with SH which we had planned to do before the Greenish Warbler had been seen on Tuesday.
The Estuary was quiet so we checked Baites Filtration Pools instead. A GS Woodpecker was calling from the trees near the pools before it flew over the River.

We could hear a Water Rail screeching from the middle of the reed bed as we approached but it never showed itself.
A late Sedge Warbler was doing it best to make us think it was an Aquatic Warbler when it showed on and off in the reeds. Whilst waiting for it to show a Reed Warbler climbed up and down a reed stem.

Before heading up to Cresswell we stopped at Cambois and checked the scrubland around the old train tracks. No rare migrants were found but there were 2 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat and a Willow Tit, which called.
The area is so dense there probably is something rare lurking in there.

At Cresswell the tide was rising so the sand bar only held a few waders. Amongst the group of Canada Geese was a single Pink Footed and 3 Pintail were also on the pond.
At one point all the birds on the pond lifted as a Peregrine swooped down. It chased the Lapwing flock in front of the hide but didn’t catch anything and flew off.
During the confusion of everything moving around 5 Goosander landed on the pond and 2 Curlew Sandpiper joined the waders on the sand bar.

112 – Peregrine Falcon

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


I went to St.Mary’s yesterday morning with SH to look for the Greenish Warbler, which had just been reported.
With the combined effort of a few birders it didn’t take long until the Greenish Warbler – Lifer, was spotted in the willows next to the dipping pool.
It didn’t show as well as the Willow Warbler, which was in the same tree but I did manage to get good enough views. It went missing for a few minutes before being relocated in willows further left.
This is where I got the best views as it caught insects near the treetops in the sunlight.

Whilst watching the Greenish somebody mentioned a Barred Warbler, which they had found in the bushes on a mound further up the costal path.
We checked the area for over half an hour but there wasn’t a single bird to be seen never mind a Barred Warbler.

Instead of going to Blyth which was the original plan we crossed the river and went to Whitburn Steel as the Bonaparte’s Gull had been around all morning.
When we arrived there had been no sign for over an hour and after scanning through all the gulls on the beach with no success we left.