Thursday, 12 October 2017

Shorely Not This Early?

19th November last year I came across six Shore Larks on the beach at East Chevington. This morning one was present (a month earlier than last year)! Hard Winter coming?

The only problem I have with these fabulous birds is that I keep typing Shorelark instead of Shore Lark. Memo to Self!

Hopefully it will not be a cold Winter, as a Cetti's Warbler was singing again at East Chevington. RBA were a little tardy at getting the information out (I had to ring them a second time) and when the first birders arrived it was the same story as Saturday ... the wind picked up and the Warbler fell silent. To my relief, JB, sent me a tweet to say it started singing again later this morning. I managed a brief view early morning in the company of a wren and a short flight above the reeds. It appears there have been several seen, in the North of England this week, so hopefully some will stay and expand their range. (About time we had a similar dispersal of Bearded Tits although they tend to disperse earlier in the year I think.)

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

More Phalarope(y) Pictures

Still distant but the light was a little better today.

The Phalarope followed this Shoveler and picked up food stirred up from the mud.

The Shoveler was very tolerant until the Phalarope got a bit too close!

A quick dash to the patch during afternoon showers was rewarded with this fabulous Merlin. It didn't linger when it spotted a tasty morsel. Peregrine and Marsh Harrier made it quite a day!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

It's a Wild Life!

This fab bird was found by JD at Druridge.

Sadly it was never close, so these heavily cropped photos were all I could manage.

The next few photos show why I'll never get bored waking my patch day after day. You never know what you will see.

Don't you just love computers. The original was taken leaning out of the car window. The next after rotating and cropping. (I prefer the first one ... ha!)

Sunday, 8 October 2017


Great weekend thrashing the patch. Despite the Westerly winds there were plenty of birds on the move. A tremendous arrival of Barnacle Geese as the wind subsided on Sunday morning. Skylarks and Redpolls heading South. A few Swallows still moving and Redwings in the trees at Druridge.

Two Yellow-browed Warblers were found at Chevington and a Barred Warbler at Druridge. The BTO WeBS (Wetland Birds Survey) was hard work with impressive numbers of birds on two of my count areas. A flat calm sea had 50+ Red-throated Divers as well as Common Scoter, Wigeon, Teal and Gadwall moving over the sea.

Bird of the day Saturday goes to a singing Cettis Warbler.  Having searched my patch daily with little reward I crossed the bridge over Chevington Burn and heard a bird singing. Initially I was a little confused but suddenly its song registered usually described as ‘my name is … Cetti Cetti Cetti’ or the NE version ‘I need the Netty Netty Netty’. It was moving away from me and I decided to get ahead of it. It called near the sluice, gave a brief flight view, then it wasn’t seen or heard again. The strong winds on Saturday and the vastness of the reedbed being the main problem.

News that another birder (ME) had heard a Cettis W call from the North pool on Friday was interesting and a Cettis was found at Flamborough Head also. It is always great to find scarce birds and get the news out, but still a tad disappointing when no other person gets to see it. Hopefully it will find plenty of food and linger long enough for someone else to re-find it.

Then the plot thickens!
Apparently a CettisWarbler was trapped and ringed at Druridge Pools. News was broadcast on Whats App to a group of mates but not but on the National Network. Considering how many people visited Chev in the last two days it is clear  a lot of people in Northumberland would like to see such  bird . I do not agree with ringing and parading birds but it must be less palatable when you only let your mates know. It is time the BTO took some action and I hope the Whats Appers get their just desserts?

I will enjoy my next few weeks birding.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Top of the Scops

Where is Owlee?

News of a Scops Owl in County Durham had me considering a twitch, but the thought of many people at the twitch made me decide against a visit. Lack of any news on Friday and I was relaxed about going to Cambois for some early morning birding. Later on Saturday afternoon the Scops Owl had been located and so an early trip Sunday with STa was planned. I hadn’t realised how close the site was (less than one hour from home). We arrived to negative news and a persistent rain shower. We headed home after an hour and only negative news of the bird was given out the rest of the day and Monday. Worryingly STa had seen a Sparrowhawk fly out from the Sycamores with a ‘bulky’ bird.

Tuesday after a quick check at Druridge and Cresswell I headed for the shops. After shopping a check on the RBA news page would help me decide which route to take home. News of the Scops Owl being present meant it wasn’t any of the routes I had planned. A call to STa and he couldn’t get away. So with a car load of shopping I headed for Ryhope. A frustratingly long journey through the Silverlink roadworks but eventually, after ninety minutes, I was walking to the spot and immediately saw the Scops Owl in bright sunshine.


The Scops Owl was being buffeted by the wind and had leaves partially obscuring it but it was a delight to watch. Occasionally it partially opened its eyes and on one occasion it had a bit of a scratch. Only about ten people were present when I arrived and when I left there were about twenty.

A big thanks to Tom Middleton for finding the bird and getting the news out so people were able to make the choice about seeing the bird (and to Tom and other local birders for checking subsequent mornings and updating the news pages). I hope all the Northumberland birders who twitched the Scops Owl will put their news on the National Bird News services in future (give and take)?

Oh and I believe there were two good birds on the Budge fields in the last week. No further details available.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Barred ... you could be?

Interesting Find

This is a Vapourer (moth)
 Look closer and you’ll see it is male mating with a flightless female. The female stays near its cocoon and the male is attracted by pheromones. The eggs are laid nearby and the moth overwinters as eggs. Next time I’m on the Islad I’ll check for eggs.

Bird News

Well Northumberland birders must be the strangest community I know. A Barred Warbler was seen at Newton earlier in the week, around the time I was driving past having been on Holy Island all morning. The news didn’t make it on to RBA until late afternoon (16:04).

A phone call late Friday afternoon to let me know about a Barred Warbler at Newbiggin. A check on RBA and no details of location were given. Another phone call on Saturday and I was given the location and managed some fantastic views spoilt only by the news that the Barred Warbler was first seen on Friday morning. A Rosefinch was seen later also, but didn’t linger.

A fashion has obviously been started. Find a bird, tell your mates and let the birding world know about it some time later, preferably when it has gone. Well as a follower of fashion I intend doing the same.  I will try and capture snaps of the next few birds I find then I’ll post them the following day with vague directions e.g. Druridge. Ha! Happy Days.

3 Scaup on sea with Common Scoter

Wednesday, 27 September 2017


Red-legged Shieldbug

A couple of visits to Holy Island this week and maybe another to come. Yellow-browed Warblers were the star birds with at least 7 scattered over the island. Other species made both visits very enjoyable: Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Song Thrushes (arriving all day in small numbers), Goldcrests and Lesser Whitethroat.
Barn Owl and Roe Deer in the mist added to the enjoyment.