Sunday, 27 October 2013

Stag Rock

I spent the day with the family at Seahouses and Bamburgh today.  Not much to see at Seahouses with no Long-tailed Duck or even Eiders in the harbour.
Stag Rock was much better with Dunlin, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Turnstone and really good numbers of Purple Sandpiper and Knot.  A bit of a surprise was an Arctic Tern on the rocks.

On the sea were lots of Eiders, a handful of Common Scoter, a single Red-throated Diver and a Juv Velvet Scoter that looked remarkably like a female Harlequin.  I must admit it did get my heart racing for a minute until I got a better view of it. 
Also we saw the Trinity House Ship, Galatea, which was anchored between the Farnes and Holy Island all day.

Monday, 21 October 2013

A bit of a Chat

Today, I headed to Howick to try and get some shots of the Siberian Stonechat. I saw the St Mary's bird a few years ago, but I couldn't even remember what year it was!  Now thanks to Stewart (From the Notebook) for posting a picture of the St Mary's bird that he had drawn for the cover of the 2001 'Birds of Northumbria' book.  I now know the year I first saw a Sib Stonechat.  Stonechats are such a pleasure to watch as they are so conspicuous.  The light today wasn't great but I did manage some record shots.

On Sunday I went for a walk with the family at Prestwick Carr and managed to catch up with the Great Grey Shrike, which showed well but distant all the time we were there.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Border Crossing

I headed North today to try for the Sardinian Warbler at Mire Loch. As it has been there for so long it would have been rude not to go!   As I walked along the path on the West side of the Loch with another birder, we saw a small bird fly up into the dense foliage of the Sycamore trees, but I wasn’t sure whether this was a Yellow-Browed or Pallas’s Warbler.  I only got the briefest of views but it just seemed a bit bright for Yellow-Browed.  Whilst trying to relocate the Warbler a pair of Mealy Redpoll landed in a tree right next to us, unfortunately my camera was in my back pack.  Doh!  We didn’t find the Warbler again although a Pallas’s was reported from the same area later on!

The birder I was walking along with had been there for the last four mornings with not even a sniff of the Sardinian Warbler so things weren’t looking good.  After about half an hour it popped out of a bush right in front of him and we watched it move through the bush, feeding on blackberries, before it flew into gorse - never to be seen again!!!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Try it again

I had another go at sea watching this morning. I couldn't get the best spot at the Snab Point car park so I had to move down to the car park opposite the caravan park.  Today was much better with 68 Great Skua, 35 Sooty Shearwater, 17 Manx Shearwater, 5 Velvet Scoter and 2 Pomarine Skua as well as the constant flow of Gannets, Kittiwakes and Fulmars.  Unfortunately the hoped for Leach's Storm Petrel didn't materialise.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Not much to Sea.

I had a trip up to Snab Point this morning for a spot of sea watching.  I didn't really see a lot other than Gannets, with the highlight being four Barnacle Geese and three Scaup heading North.  So I then headed up to Hadston Carr hoping that the more sheltered North end of the bay would have a few Divers in it.  However all I could find were two Red-Throated Divers, although I did pick up a Sooty Shearwater, a Manx Shearwater and three Velvet Scoter all battling their way North against the wind.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

After a Sub

After seeing the Subalpine Warbler yesterday I couldn't resist seconds.  So this morning I headed back up to Druridge Pools where this cracking little bird was soon on show in the Blackthorn just North of the turning circle.

After a few minutes it set off on a tour of the small Hawthorn bushes giving the growing crowd of birders some superb views before it headed back into the Blackthorn again.

After tearing myself away from the Subalpine Warbler I headed for St Mary's to see if I could catch up with the reported Red-Breasted Flycatcher.  However on arrival I was informed that It hadn't been seen and no one knew who had reported it.  I did see Firecrest and Yellow-Browed Warbler.  Which is always nice!! 

Friday, 4 October 2013

A New Beginning

I’ve started this blog as a bit of an experiment, but I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to keep it going.  For now though we will see how we go.


Yesterday I headed down to St Marys to see if there had been any new overnight arrivals.  Within ten minutes of arriving I’d found my first Firecrest near the first viewing screen.  It then flew into willows near the second viewing screen where it joined another one.  Two Firecrests within fifteen minutes, not a bad start!   However despite spending most of the day there, the only other highlights were a Redstart, a few Goldcrest and a Yellow-Browed Warbler.


Today whilst sitting in the pub having lunch, I received a text informing me of a Subalpine Warbler at Druridge Pools.  But after having a beer and with things to do this afternoon it wasn’t looking good, then in steps my superb ‘other half’ offering to give me a lift up to Druridge.  So off to Druridge Pools we headed, arriving late afternoon.  We walked North towards a group of birders but the bird had disappeared, so we walked a bit further to get higher for a better overall view.  After about ten minutes of scanning the vegetation the Subalpine Warbler flew right past us and into a small Hawthorne on the other side of the Haul Road.  From where this superb little lifer showed quite well for the next five minutes or so.  Giving a new meaning to ‘Sub of the day’.  Nice!