Sunday, 31 December 2017

Another One Bites the Dust ..

.. Year that is.

December is always a favourite month. Time to appreciate the Natural World we  often forget as we are chasing or hoping to find, rarities.

The Sea Buckthorn at East Chevington has become the early morning feeding area for Bullfinches and up to 8 other species of birds. Always makes a cracking start to the day.

Shorebirds with their various bill shapes and feeding habits are always a joy to watch.

A closer look at the garden birds reveals their subtle plumages.

The once rare Tree Sparrow is now becoming a common sight again, but will we start to overlook it as many have started to do with Little Egret (now also common).

 Highlight of the Year

 It has to be watching the sheer delight on the face of a fellow birder. After years of cycle visits to Chev, every weekend by GW, I was in the hide when a scream of BITTERN followed by leaping and dancing announced to the world that GW had finally caught up with this secretive species. Pure joy for GW and a magic moment for me to witness.

Just to show the rarities can sill be found. BS  rounded off the year with a Ross' Gull. Probably he same bird RA found on Holy Island many weeks ago. It must have been hanging around the Northumberland coast all that time, undetected.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Still Birding

Well NWT had raised my hopes after clearing the ditch at Chevington. Sadly they didn't continue to the burn mouth. Result very little water movement.

Trps to Amble and North Shields become more frequent at this time of year. Sad to see this GBB suffering from discarded or lost fishing line. Equally worrying was the photo on Twitter of a Glaucous Gull which had swallowed some line (and probably the hook).

This (rather colourful for winter) Red-necked Grebe was found by TF at QEII country park.

Size comparison with Black-headed Gull

Even gave me a wave as it swam away from the camera.

Large numbers of Song Thrushes along the coast (the snails at Chevington) are taking a hammering (groan).

This Rock Pipit was all fluffed up waiting for the rising sun to have some effect.


Lots of waders to sort through at  Newbiggin.

Great Northern Diver on Widdrington Moor Lake.

Other birds of note, Plenty of Geese to check through and a Red-breasted Goose was the reward for one lucky observer.
Waxwings to look for; so far only one reported at Ashington by STa.
Today I will continue my search for a Black Redstart; there must be one somewhere.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Pink-footed Goose

Pink-footed Goose 

Thanks I received feedback on Tag22. I had been waiting for news but his reply went to another folder, not my inbox and so it remained unread for a week. His reply only listed sightings and as the tag has a tracking device I was keen to find out more. Information I had from another source proved to be correct so I re-visited the site to get more information.
Adult Female ringed Carsethorn, Dumfries and Galloway.
Sighting of Tag22 still in Dumfries and Galloway
Leaves Solway for Iceland
Heads for Greenland (from Iceland) but turns back.
Heads for Greenland again but signal lost.
Leaves East Greenland for Iceland
Leaves Iceland and arrives East Coast, Northumberland
Photographed Cresswell, Northumberland

Monday, 4 December 2017

Latest Snaps

Purple Sandpiper

Rock Pipit


Pink-footed Goose

Little Grebe

Song Thrush


Great to see some ditch clearance. This is the stretch from the turning circle to Dead Dog's Pool (Who remembers that name?). I hope they also complete the stretch to the burn mouth also, if they do it could result in lower water levels on he North Pool and a boost to visiting Waders and Terns next year.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Challenge 10

One of BSBIs efforts to keep us 'botanising' through the winter is to try and find 10 species in flower on a short walk. It was easy at Druridge today (Sunday). All these were found along the short walk to the two hides.

(Achillea millifolium)

Gorse (Furze)
(Ulex europaeus)

Red Clover
(Trifolium pratense)

Trailing Tormentil (?)
(Poentilla anglica)

(Blackstonia perfoliata)

Hedge Parsley (?)
(Torilis japonica)

Lesser Hawkbit (?)
(Leontodon saxatalis)

Common Knapweed
(Centaurea nigra)

Common Chickweed
(Stellaria media)

(Taraxacum spp)

N.B. (?) = not sureof ID

Saturday, 2 December 2017

What a Weather Week

Storms, Snow, Rain and Wind!

A distant Diver on Friday had the heart racing. No flank patch ...could it be the Pacific Diver? The Cornwall and Wales birds returned  but could this be our bird returning? The weather was awful, the diver distant and my hands numb with the cold. Eventually (after a few wing flaps) I realised this was a big, chunky diver and concluded ... Great Northern Diver.

Saturday (02/12/2017) and the weather was better and the views so much better. No problem now with ID.

A Peregrine Falcon and 3 Otters may have been the reason for this posture which was repeated frequently.

Now that is an impressive bill!

The burn muddied by silt washed down by heavy rains, made the Kingfisher relocate to the North Pool. Too far from the hide for good photos but a treat to watch for over an hour.

Now this morning calm, mild conditions and still 2 Chiffchaffs feeding in the reed bed.