Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

A pair of Tawny Owls calling outside has started 2014 very nicely!

Early morning at Alnmouth 

It Is All Over!

All done! The final day was spent at a few of my target patches for 2014. Branton Lakes to marvel at the Goosander and the unfortunately positioned hide with a door that doesn't close, Boulmer Beach and the wader flocks before rounding off the day with another helping of starlings coming to roost.

196 species on the patch in 2013. Missed birds include: House Sparrow, Pomarine Skua and Little Auk. Birds missed on patch but seen by others: Osprey, Corncrake and White-winged Black Tern. Hey Ho ... can't complain.

Plans for 2014!
No listing at all!
Less visits to Chev!
Phone switched off all day(whilst birding)?
Visiting more sites, particularly inland and those less frequented by people.
No twitching (although I failed twice in 2013, Cattle Egret and Spotted Sand).

Sunday, 29 December 2013


A stunning evening! A small crowd c15 gathered for the evening arrival of up to 15,000 starlings. The sights and sounds are mesemerizing. It begins at about 15:50 and lasts for 20 minutes. One family group were back for their second visit of the week.

I wonder how many make a supper snack for the Bittern and Otter?

Saturday, 28 December 2013


If the birding gets a little slow indulge in the 'very childish' but enjoyable art of 'eyebombing'!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Worth the Walk

Warkworth, one of my target areas for 2014.

A great flock of these beauties in the dunes and two Little Egrets. Loads of waders in the estuary and plenty of Rock Pipits on the shoreline. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Quick Patch Check

Dispersal in Action!' (Please Santa bring him a brush?)

A better photo, of the ring code, of the Norwegian visitor to the country park. 4 Long-tailed Duck remain giving excellent , but distant, views.

Druridge pool Teal and Wigeon checked for an American Visitor .. no luck today!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Red and Black

A busy morning doing family stuff, so only a brief visit to the patch. Nothing new but the feeding station was quite productive.

Saturday, 21 December 2013


Great morning on the patch. 40+ Goldeneye on the N Pool, Plenty of variety in the Country Park and the Widdrington Moor Lake still providing some interest.

Lots of 'reviews of the year' on blogs ... it's not over yet ... ever the optimist! It has been a cracker and I almost kept my NY Resolution. New one next year ????

Sunday, 15 December 2013

December WeBS

WeBS count today and no surprises.

Chevington has good numbers of Goldeneye, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and a Red-neckd Grebe.
Widdrington Moor Lake was almost devoid of birds (probably early morning shooting to blame)!
West Stobswood was quiet apart from 130 Canada Geese. However at the back of the pool was a large mixed thrush flock. Fieldfare, Redwing and some tantalising views of   Sp????


Thanks to some knowledgeable ringers onTwitter I was given the email address of Morten Helberg who quickly confirmed the details as follows:

29.04 2013
Østensjøvannet, Oslo, Akershus & Oslo, Norway
59°52'51"N 010°49'57"E
Lome, Carsten
Sandøy, John
30.04 2013
Østensjøvannet, Oslo, Akershus & Oslo, Norway
59°52'51"N 010°49'57"E
Isaksen, Kjell
14.06 2013
Østensjøvannet, Oslo, Akershus & Oslo, Norway
59°52'51"N 010°49'57"E
Sandøy, John
01.07 2013
Østensjøvannet, Oslo, Akershus & Oslo, Norway
59°52'51"N 010°49'57"E
Evenrud, Jon
Johansen, Arnkjell
02.07 2013
Østensjøvannet, Oslo, Akershus & Oslo, Norway
59°52'51"N 010°49'57"E
Mjelde, John Martin
14.12 2013
Druridge Bay Country Park, Northumberland, Great Britain
55°17'38"N 001°34'52"W
Elliott, David

CR-Code White ring with black code: J1TL LBM;RBWN(J1TL)
Ringing Centre Stavanger Museum (Norway) Ring number K03055
Species Black-headed Gull  Larus ridibundus
Sex Male Age 3 cy+

Many Thanks to all involved. It is fantastic when you get such a quick response.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Nice and Quiet

A quiet day on the bay.
The best bird at Chev was a Red-necked Grebe, not seen on my first visit, but later found along the North edge of the pool. Lots of Divers on the sea and lots of fishing activity from gulls.

A walk South from Druridge failed to locate the finch flock or the Hemscott Hoodie. Very few birds in the garden. It can only get better! WeBS tomorrow ( I was a bit premature last week hey-ho.)

Agree with your spelling moan! I can't get used to spelling Sulfur (accepted form) after ** years spelling it with PH!

Sunday, 8 December 2013


A 'canny weekend' considering all the excitement further North. Early morning had distant views of a
 Long-eared Owl along the edge of DBCP. A whoosh as 5,000+ Starlings left the roost at c8am and 1,000 Pink-footed Geese landed in a nearby field; a further 500 in the field just South of the reserve.

A probable Saker Falcon flew along the beach (N) the rich brown colouring meant it was clearly not a Peregrine (Will no doubt be a falconer's lost bird though on brief views there were no obvious leg attachments.). Finally a single call from a Bearded Tit,  .. a very lonely bird?

Sunday and the WeBS counts did not deliver any surprises. However an adult Iceland Gull off the Ponteland Hide was a nice addition.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunny Sunday

Early rise and a check of the silhouetted gulls failed to reveal the dumpy one.

Starlings leaving the Cheivngton Roost (07:40) were quite spectacular, with c3000 flying over the road at Red Row.

A gorgeous morning and a scattering of smart birds this Red-breasted Merganser was very obliging on Ladyburn Lake (DBCP) unlike the 4 LT Ducks (2 of which relocated to Druridge Pools later in the day).

Spiderlings on the move in the dunes.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Where is it?

     Today was quiet (apart from the shotgun blasts)! South Pool E Chev, 2 mallard 1 tufty? The North Pool picked up in the afternoon and Gadwall and Goldeneye numbers were good. News of an Ivory Gull heading North had me checking the sea and even  trip to Amble Harbour. No news since but a trip to the N Shields Fish Quay tomorrow might be on the cards.

     One bonus of the seawatching was a close in Velvet Scoter; 'bird of the day'!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Time Running Out

Woodcock on the cliff top (Lynemouth) Friday night started the weekend nicely.

Saturday started with Merlin, 3 Kestrels, 2 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk. 2 LT Ducks on Ladyburn and a scattering of typical winter wildfowl. IR's text had me checking the dunes at Bell's farm for the Hooded Crow but just as the afternoon lethargy was creeping in a jolt from the electric fence had me alert once again and the mixed finch flock (inc 40 Twite) was carefully scrutinised.

Sunday promised little new and the highlight was a Little Egret in the ditch north of Bell's Farm. The sea was checked several times but most movement was too distant. BB was on the trail of the Hooded Crow but failed to connect. Checking the news late afternoon, I noted a Pomarine Skua reported at East Chev, a bird I hoped to connect with, followng the strong winds on Friday.

Oh well ... the chance of reaching 200 (5 to go) looks less likely now .. Hey Ho :-(

Happy Birding to those visiting Kenya next week .. I'll try my best to find somehing good while you're away :-) !

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Weekend Watching

Saturday highlights 12 Snowbs north at Chev, Scaup (Ponteland Hide) Hauxley, Little Gull burn mouth Chev and Shelduck Chev (unusual this time of year).

Sunday highlights: 3 Twite, 35 Snowbs just left message on RBA when a microlight (Don't you love em?) flushed them sending them North and out of sight. Met TD just before but his mobile didn't respond when I called him. A probable flyover Lapland Bunting will go unrecorded despite three attempts to nail the ID from call and profile. Within half an hour it flew S, then N, then S again ... on your patch IR? Texted IR about Glaucous Gull but no response. Glaucous Gull almost the same as last week quick wash and out, heading NE from Chev. Probably a daily routine c09:00. Apparently 2 Bearded Tits were seen today at Chev N Pool.

Avoided the temptation to twitch Lesser Grey, instead enjoyed the flock of Goldcrest, Tits and Treecreepers in the Country Park.

Lots of RB Mergs in the bay and even more Divers (although distant).

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Glaucous .. and now it is six

WeBS day and apart from a Glaucous Gull (Rubbish Photos below) there was nothing unusual to report, Then a visit to DBCP to hear and eventually see the lingering Yellow-browed Warbler. A seed feeder has been placed near the visitor centre and it attracted numerous birds. Feeding nearby; treecreepers, goldcrests and the YBW. The YBW was calling so loudly it attracted a Pied Wagtail to follow the call. Despite being easy to follow on call, it was a little tricky to see.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

At Last ... (seven to go)

Early start at Druridge and the first birds heard were Snow Buntings. On to Chev and I met M&S they mentioned  Snowbs on the beach including 1 Male. When I got there no sign. So a scattering of seed put on the beach and a check around the Southern Reedbed; no Bearded Tits (22 Whoopers inc 8Juv.).

Another check on the beach ... nothing. Close in shore all three divers, the best an immaculate Black-throated in summer plumage. A walk up to Hadston along the beach, returning via DBCP. Nothing new to record so back to the North Pool (a Bittern flew along the shore and landed  the reedbed near the hide and back on the beach finally 3 Snow Buntings), here I was told the male Bearded Tit was seen this morning but it didn't show during my brief visit.

Fortunately I added Bearded Tit to the patch list in January but it was only today that Snow Bunting made it on to the list. My afternoon visit was aborted when I saw all the cars at Chev, so I headed for Stobswood and Widdrington Moor. Widdrington Moor had an impresssive 160 Teal alas none had the vertical white stripe.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Cool Day

No sign of yesterday's Snow bunting but some great birding today. This Arctic Skua gave great views. Although a little oiled and apparently sick, it eventually made it to Chev and was seen early afternoon flying strongly out to sea.

In the opposite direction Song Thrushes still arriving with a couple of Great-spotted Woodpeckers. Two White-fronted Geese flew South. Their call rather 'tuneful' in comparison with the Greylags at Hauxley. A Swallow at Chev was a tad late.

The caterpillar one of many on the warm paths is I believe a Ruby Tiger Moth. Let me know if I've got this wrong.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sanderling Update 1

Another Sanderling update. I look forward to getting more info about this bird. Below is Jeroen's email about this July bird.

Dear David,

apologies for an unacceptably late reply to your e-mail from July. I have returned from Greenland mid August, after which I have been entering more than 6000 observations into my databse and I am still not up to date. This is the caused of some very late response, such as to your e-mail, and I hope for your understanding.

The sanderling that you have photographed has been ringed in Ghana. I do not have the details of this individual yet, so I copy this e-mail to my Ghanaian colleagues and hope that they will provide you with any information thyey have about  this individual.

NU 278 007 Hadston Carrs, Northumberland, UK.
25/07/2013    06:45 BST

Bird 1
Right Tarsus: yellow top, red flag, yellow bottom
Left Tarsus: green top, red bottom

Sanderling Update 2

A belated reply from Jeroen (due to his huge workload), but as always it is good to get details of colour-ringed birds.

East Chevington, Northumberland, UK
NZ 274 980
07:00 BST

Right Tibia Silver Ring
Right Tarsus Green Green

Left Tarsus Yellow (top) Green Flag, Blue

The bird that you have report has been ringed in Greenland, she (we believe it is a female, but have not genetically confirmed this) raised four chicks in 2012, but despite searching, we did not find her in Greenland last summer. You can find the details attached.

Colourcode: G5YBGG
Date(d/m/y) 2nd Observer 3rd Observer
Catching Place: Zackenberg
Name Ringer: Jeroen Reneerkens
Date Catch: 09/07/2012
Greenland 74.28.40 N 20.30.40 W
Ringnumber: 8224278
2nd Ringer:Stefan Sand
10/07/2012 Zackenberg Jeroen Reneerkens Stefan Sand
Greenland 74.28.40 N 20.30.40 W
11/07/2012 Zackenberg Jeroen Reneerkens Michelle Schollert
Greenland 74.28.40 N 20.30.40 W
12/07/2012 Zackenberg Jeroen Reneerkens Stefan Sand
Greenland 74.28.40 N 20.30.40 W
18/07/2012 Zackenberg Jeroen Reneerkens Stefan Sand
Greenland 74.28.40 N 20.30.40 W
18/07/2012 Zackenberg Jeroen Reneerkens Stefan Sand
Greenland 74.28.40 N 20.30.40 W
23/05/2013 Dawlish Warren, South Devon Lee Collins Ivan Lakin
United Kingdom 50.36.18 N 03.25.47 W
24/05/2013 Dawlish Warren, South Devon Lee Collins
United Kingdom 50.36.18 N 03.25.47 W
25/05/2013 Dawlish Warren, South Devon Lee Collins
United Kingdom 50.36.18 N 03.25.47 W
27/07/2013 East Chevington, Northumberland David Elliott
United Kingdom 55.17.29 N 01.34.05 W

Oh Snow!

Well I promised I would find one today! I visited the beach at East Chevington no sign, so I left some tempting seed ready for my afternoon return visit. Driving back along the track I found this beauty! Doh! Double Doh! It was too far inland to count on my patch. So I'll be out looking again tomorrow.

This beauty (eye of the beholder and all that) however was on my patch!

Two Song Thrush in off the sea, two GSW in the dunes, plenty of Goldcrests in the Country Park and 20 Swans flew south too far out to ID.