Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Fifty Metres



Ninety Minutes spent at the foot of the muddy cliffs at Whitburn produced 24 species of birds and some most enjoyable birding.


Some unusual species feeding on the cliffs.

Ringed Plover

Golden Plover

Yes it's on the cliff.

The Sparrowhawk returned for another Starling today. The alarm calls of all the birds alerted me to its arrival. Again it quickly killed the bird and headed away to the clifftop gardens.



A bit of a surprise but it quickly moved into the longer grass.


Not looking too comfortable on the cliff face but I guess there were some tasty morsels around to attract all this bird activity.


Another nice surprise.

So here is the list: Grey Wagtail, Wren, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Redwing, Sparrowhawk, Redshank, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling, Curlew, Redshank, Grey Heron, Snipe, Oystercatcher, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull and Cormorant.

All within a 50m stretch of coastline, Magic!

Oh not another!

Snow Bunting

This was one of five from their favoured spot yesterday.

Sunday, 11 December 2022


A short walk from Roker Park, to the Marina and back to the park along the shore. No sign of the Kingfisher which has been using the boats as a feeding platform. However, when I reached the Old North Pier the tide was in and only a small patch of beach was exposed. Most of the dog walkers were further north where there was more space. Straight away I noticed some bird activity. Along with a couple of Pied Wagtails and a Robin there was this lovely Black Redstart. I found a rock to sit on and watched as it fed around me and engaged in the odd squabble with the other birds.

The next day saw me checking a small area of beach near Whitburn, Bents Cottages. Over 500 Black-headed Gulls were feeding and a terrific Grey Wagtail (anything but Grey) was with the nearby Pipits and Pied Wagtails.

This morning, I decided to save myself the bother of removing snow and ice from the car and walked from home to Harton Cemetery. It was such a nice morning I decided to continue towards the Bamburgh Pub (without a pit stop) and on to the Leas. Then headed for the clifftops and South towards Redwell Lane.

Again, large numbers of Black-headed Gulls in the area, a skein of Pink-footed Geese flew South and Fulmars were gliding along the cliffs. I returned home via Horsley Hill.

A great morning even if the birds were in short supply.


Wednesday, 7 December 2022


A scattering of Snow Buntings along the NE coast always helps lift the mood on a quiet birding day.


A good bird to stumble across on the South Marine Park, SS. If you think the water is a strange blue colour your are correct. I'm sure there is a reason for this artificial  colouring? This used to be a decent place to look for wintering ducks and grebes in the past.

Whitburn Steel

30+ Rock Pipits and a similar number of Pied Wagtails feeding on the seaweed grubs. Always good to sift through them. The variation in colour and markings are amazing. It is no wonder that the Rock, Water, Buff-bellied were all lumped together at one time. Winter Littoralis and Petrosus are difficult to separate so I'll have to check the spring birds next year to see if any Scandi birds are obvious.


Protecting its breakfast.

Hume's YB Warbler

Sound recording from a couple of weeks back.


Friday, 2 December 2022




I guess a lot of people will be focusing on Gulls this month. Plenty of regular sites on my new patch for finding 'White-wingers'.

Parks and Woodlands will be worth checking for finches and tit flocks. The walk to the Academy pools were quite productive yesterday a Treecreeper and plenty of Bullfinches on show. I bet there is a wintering Blackcap and Chiffchaff to be found.

I have been all over the patch this week; Roker Park, Marina and Beach. Shields Pier and beach, Whitburn (managed to see the Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler), Boldon Flats and Seaham blast beach.


This Rock Pipit was found on 21 November and was still present today 2nd December. Orange ring UES. It was first ringed 05/10/2021 Lista Fyr, Norway.

A trip to Saltholme was very productive with 3 different Marsh Harriers on view, Peregrine, Merlin, Sparrowhwk and Kestrel. Plenty of wildfowl to sift through and I'm pretty sure I saw a Green Sandpiper in flight (Not that unusual as there are a few which overwinter in Northumberland each year.).


Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Still Checking


'Not another one ...'

Red-throated Diver

Snow Bunting

Kelp Flies

It is getting harder to keep the motivation going, but someone has to do it. Whitburn Steel and Jackies Beach are worth the effort still. Weed and Flies attracting Rock Pipits, Starlings and Wagtails to check through. Even this morning some lucky birder found a nice Isabelline Wheatear on the Yorkshire Coast.

Also a good mix of waders: Sanderling, Knot and two Redshank here but many more along the shoreline including: Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Grey Plover. There is also a chance of a Kingfisher at this time of the year.

Kestrels along this bit of coastline are also very approachable.