Monday, 9 November 2020

November in the Bay



Velvet Scoter

Some fabulous mornings in the Bay during the last few days. The advice to stay at home (except for ...) had me looking forward to my daily exercise from home. However with broken stiles, overgrown footpaths and nearby Pheasant Shooting it makes me think I will be using my car to do short trips to a starting point for my walks.

Bar-tailed Godwit

It still amazes me how many people, so wrapped up in their own little worlds, still refuse to make space when passing by on footpaths. They don't respond favourably when I ask them for more space.

Grey Plover

Birders and Photographers are just as much to blame. How many of them have been to see the Newbiggin Shorelark, Newbiggin Black Redstart and the Morpeth Hawfinches? Goodness knows what will happen when a rarer bird is discovered. Well if it is on my patch you won't hear it from me.


One morning recently I had the good fortune to get brief views of Bittern, a close (and I mean close) encounter with a Barn Owl, three different Kingfishers, a hunting Marsh Harrier and a Singing Cetti's Warbler.

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Birder's Tides

Well finally with no really big news and a good weather forecast (for birding rather than finding birds) I decided to go to Holy Island. The Brown Shrike was reported as still present on Saturday but with clear skies I didn't expect it to stay any longer.

Birder's tides (Get on island before dawn, tide comes in and the island remains pretty quiet for most of the morning!)

Tourist's tides (Tides go down at 9:00am, people flood on, and the whole day is busy)

The Brown Shrike was still present and distant as most people had reported last week. Sitting on the Straight Lonnen for well over an hour watching this bird were rewarded with some closer views. Never really close but with the warm light it was brilliant to see.

In addition to the Shrike there were; 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels, 1 Merlin and 1 Peregrine.


A super flock 50+ Twite on the Snook and an impressive raft of Brent Geese.

When I left there was a queue of traffic almost back to Beal Barn (waiting to come on the island).


Monday, 19 October 2020

Another Post

Getting stuck for titles as you can see.

What a year it has been for rare birds in Northumberland. Here is a list of some of the ones I didn't see: Desert Warbler, Brown Shrike, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Red-flanked Bluetail(s), Red-breasted Flycatcher, Lesser Grey Shrike, Rosy Starling, Pallas' Warbler and a few others.


Today I ventured out to see the Dusky Warbler at Spittal Point. Knowing most people would have seen the Holy Island bird or this bird (yesterday) I felt there wouldn't be a crowd. Well it did reach a total of 5 while I was there so I got my snap and made a hasty retreat

Then I stumbled upon a group of 5 Snow Buntings. I nearly walked right past them.

Super little birds.


Thursday, 8 October 2020

Barred from Newbiggin

Small Tortoiseshell

One of four species of butterfly seen today at Newbiggin. Sadly the Wall Brown was camera shy.

Small Copper

Red Admiral

(Behind Bars)

Ah, now you get it?

Barred Warbler

This little beauty jumped out in front of AP and myself on the ash lagoon banks. Sunshine and a good crop of Blackberries meant it wasn't as elusive as they can be.

The morning had gone well with gulls, terns, divers, pipits, wheatears and waders at the beacons but this added that extra boost to the birding day!

Think I  managed to get all the diagnostic features in these few snaps.

Still on rarity mode, my first instinct on seeing this late Whinchat was to check that I wasn't letting a Siberian Stonechat slip through my fingers (not literally). Head and tail pattern confirmed it was a Whinchat.  Nice to see.

10 Whooper Swans flew south past East Chevington and Swallows were still hoovering up the flies over the seaweed on the beach. (Even 10 House Martins went through yesterday.

A Grand Day Out!


Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Migrant Madness (Missed)

Garden Warbler

What a brilliant start to October. I'm still learning what I missed as I catch up with birders I meet on patch. Unfortunately I was unable to get out during the peak of the fall. I have had to make do with picking up scraps that were left behind once the 'cream' had departed.

I did catch up with a few Goldcrests, Blackcaps and this Garden Warbler.

Hopefully I'll get a chance if the forecast for this weekend is good.

Fungus sp?

Of course patch birding has its consolations. Greenfinches love these rosehips. Water Rails easily observed following the reed-cutting. A trickle of Whooper Swans along with many more Pink-footed Geese and Barnacle Geese. Jays, Treecreepers and Great Spotted Woodpeckers becoming more showy along the North of the reserve.

Dragonflies enjoying the sunny spells. This Southern Hawker allowed a close inspection.

Southern Hawker (above)
Common Darter (below)