Sunday, 20 March 2022


Cetti's Warbler

Showing Well!


Always good to see returning birds. As is often the case the early arrivals don't linger and this one was getting a bit of stick from a pair of Stonechats.

I'm always amazed that after a long journey the plumage of these birds is pristine. Strangely I have been wondering about plumage in Linnets. Although a few small flocks are still in evidence, most birds are paired up. That said the males are still quite dowdy and don't achieve the pink flush until well into April. So what is the point. (My thought was the birds are nesting earlier in the year than previously and the plumage changes haven't kept up?)

Grey Partridge


Male above, Female below.


Category T on the BOU list

Train assisted, not tickable


Thursday, 17 March 2022

High Tide

Saturday morning and the tide was perfect for a trip north. On to holy Island at 07:00 and cut off by the high tide until 11:00 meant a very quiet morning. A walk along the Straight Lonnen was rewarded with Sparrowhawk, Fieldfares and some of the many Roe Deer now on the island.

Next stop the quarry to look for Shorelarks and Lapland Bunting. I was lucky to see the Shorelarks almost immediately as they flew overhead calling. A scan in the distance explained why they were mobile. Thirty minutes later a large female Sparrowhawk replaced the Peregrine and once again all the larks were in the air calling.

A little later I found the Shorelarks feeding but still looking skywards nervously.

No sign of the Lapland bunting but that was no surprise given the presence of two large predators.

Back to the village via the Lough and Castle. The Lough was quiet although some splendid Shovelers were good to see.

In the village the Brent Geese were in a field close to the school and it was good to hear them calling. A brief scan of the causeway always produces a nice selection of waders. I waited hoping the White-tailed Eagle might put in an appearance but news of one flying over Gosforth had me heading home. The journey on the A1 was good as I had a flyover Red Kite south of Alnwick as I drove North and another in a field North of Alnwick as I drove South.

Back on the patch Mr Harrier was looking a little bewildered as his favourite watchpoint had been removed from the reedbed

Migration is now well and truly started. Pied Wagtails last week, numerous Chiffchaffs singing, a Sand Martin struggling to find food in the chilly winds on Monday (14th) and a strong movement of geese North (with a trickle of Whoopers heading North too.).

Pink-footed Geese

Frogs were seen on the tracks over the last few days and this morning (17th) the settling pools had several clumps of frogspawn.

I love Spring!


Thursday, 10 March 2022



Nice to hear one singing.

Nest Building

Male very active in the mornings now.

Still some frosty starts as we wait for returning migrants. Several Chiffchaffs (more vocal) but most probably birds which stayed in the area over the winter.



Zoom in to appreciate the feather detail on this male.

Bee covered in pollen from the crocuses on Hartlepool Headland.

The harbour and marina make for a pleasant walk. Good selection of eateries and shops to keep me happy. (Really you believe the bit about shops ...)


Tuesday, 1 March 2022


Greatham Creek and Saltholme RSPB

A visit last Friday and pleased to see 5 Avocets back. Also 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Several Bees on the wing and clouds of midges.

Stock Doves

Back in the Bay this week and and love is in the air (for the birds that is).

Shelduck and Ruddy Shelduck

Last week these birds arrived back in the bay in big numbers.

The dunes and fields are filled with singing Skylarks and Stonechats. Stonechats have had a good winter because of the mild weather so they should be off to a good start this spring. The only downside will be the constant disturbance from people and their pooches.


Such a bonny bird.