Monday, 21 December 2009

2009 Bird Roundup

So we nearly come to the end of 2009. On the 1st of January 2010 my year list starts all over again! Exciting stuff as I will be starting it off on Orkney!

As I end the year I am going to do my first ever round up listing some of the birds that where life ticks for me that I have seen in the UK and then say what my personal bird of the year and also maybe some stats. So here goes in no particular order:

Spoonbill – Cley Marshes, Norfolk – Life Tick

Garganey – Blacktoft Sands, Yorkshire – Life Tick

Goshawk – Wykeham Forest, Yorkshire – Life Tick

Common Crane – Lamesley, Gateshead – Life Tick

Temminck’s Stint – Houghton Gate, County Durham – Life Tick

Pectoral Sandpiper – Greatham Creek, Teesside – Life Tick
Also 1 at Castle Lake (DBC) the same day as above!

Glaucous Gull – Teesside – Life Tick

Sabine’s Gull – North Shields, Northumberland – Life Tick

Black Tern – Herrington Country Park, County Durham – Life Tick

Long-eared Owl – undisclosed site, County Durham – Life Tick

Bluethroat – Hartlepool Headland, County Durham – Life Tick

Marsh Warbler – Herrington Country Park, County Durham – Life Tick

Yellow-browed Warbler – Holy Island, Northumberland – Life Tick

Firecrest– Holy Island, Northumberland – Life Tick

Red-backed Shrike – Dorman’s Pool (TBC), Teesside – Life Tick

Great-white Egret – Saltholme RSPB, Teesside – Life Tick

Semipalmated Sandpiper – Cresswell beach, Northumberland – Life Tick

Lesser Yellowlegs (seen twice) – Aberlady Bay, Lothian – Life Tick

Hooded Merganser (escape??) – Calor Gas Pool, Teeside – Life Tick

Blue-winged Teal – Saltholme RSPB, Teesside – Life Tick

Buff Breasted Sandpiper – Saltholme RSPB, Teesside – Life Tick

Glossy Ibis – Druridge Bay, Northumberland – Life Tick

Eastern Crowned Warbler – Trow Quarry (SS), County Durham – Life tick

Richard’s Pipit – South Gare, Yorkshire – Life Tick

Snow Goose – Budle Bay, Northumberland – Life Tick

White Stork – Great Lumley, County Durham – Life Tick (self found)

Not a bad list for a whole year! Thanks to meeting my new friends from Durham Bird Club my life list has shot up. This is the first full year where I have been simply obsessed with birdwatching. I think there is a clear winner for me but I will drag this out a bit for my reader’s entertainment.

The Common Crane was absolutely fantastic and very close when I first saw it. This was a bird I mentioned for a while after it had gone. The male, (that’s right) male Bluethroat was absolutely fantastic and a very nice migrant to have and was the only Durham record of the year (I believe). The Semiplamated Sandpiper & Lesser Yellowlegs where both fantastic and I think they where both equal to me in terms of enjoyment when watching them. The Glossy Ibis was quite special as I dipped it the first time and thought that my only chance of seeing this fantastic rare wader had gone but thanfuly it remained for a week longer and I saw it. On the same day as the Glossy Ibis I added my first ever Yellow-browed Warbler x2 and my first ever Firecrest. Both birds showed really well especially the Firecrest. The Black Tern at Herrington Country Park was a fantastic bird to see and I picked it up almost immediately. A fantastic summer plumage bird this Black Tern was worth getting drowned wet for. The Red-backed Shrike showed really well all be it somewhat briefly although I saw it both sitting as well as in flight. Although probably an escape on Friday last gone (18th) I had a White Stork over my housing estate when I was walking for the bus! I missed the bus but didn’t care!!!! My first rare self found bird.

However………….the clear winner is













Eastern Crowned Warbler! This was only the 5th ever for Europe and the 1st ever UK record! It is the only European record of a bird staying longer than one day!!!!! Also it was in my own County!!!!!! I had fantastic views of the bird both in the scope as well as through my bins. This was also my first ever MEGA. What a mega!!!! I saw the Eastern Crowned Warbler and then when it disappeared briefly a Yellow-browed Warbler put in an appearance! Likely to never be in the UK again in my lifetime.

Glad I didn’t miss it!

(Eastern-crowned Warbler - Mark Newsome)


Here’s to the New Year and my Birthday (today: 18)

Andrew Kinghorn

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Seaton Pond Swans

So are they Whooper’s or Bewick’s? Well…….I am not sure if a final decision has been made yet. (Maybe it has and they are Whoppers)

Over the past two days I have looked at images and seen the birds myself. I started Saturday going to see the “Seaton Pond Swans” as they where reported as Bewick’s on Friday night. I went and saw them and saw as soon as they appeared they where quite small and they also went next to the Mutes allowing for some comparison of size to be had. I was happy they where Bewick’s and I had just secured a life tick and my 224th British Tick. Then I got home and got a text from two friends from the Bird Club saying they think they are Whooper Swans. Then throughout today I thought they where Whooper’s like I did last night. Now as I am writing this I am leaning towards Bewick’s in size and images I have seen. Also the fact that these birds are quite small. I know Whooper Swans will be smaller than the adults but these birds did looks really small.

I hope that the final ID is found out and I cat get back to you all and let you know what they are. There are much better birders than me looking at the topic and I admire there knowledge and will tak’ heed’ to what they say they are in the end.

Tomorrow: read about the rest on Saturday in which had 1 life tick! (No, not these Swans)

CYA for now!


Friday, 11 December 2009

Black-throated Diver

Yeserday I had some time to spare (WOW!) so I went to see the Black-throated Diver at Tunstall Reservoir. It showed really well and gave fantastic views whilst I was there in the scope.

This was a life tick for me! Also a year tick.

Life List updates
224 - Black-throated Diver

Year List updates
213 - Black-throated Diver

(Black-throated Diver - Derek Charlton)

Thank you very much to Derek Charlton for allowing me to use his images on my Blogpost. Cheers mate.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Video - Lesser Yellowlegs - Aberlady Bay, Lothian

The following is a video my Dad took on the 28th of November of the Lesser Yellowlegs at Aberlady Bay in Lothianm I was watching the bird and Dad filmed it. This was filmed with my video recorder on my digital camera. Not bad? What do people think?


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker – Rediscovered?


I may well discuss the Slender-Billed Curlew next depending upon what people think of this post and if you my readers enjoy it. So enjoy!

For a long time I have been interested in birds outside of Durham and outside of the UK. As a lover of rare birds, for reasons I cannot explain I have developed an interest in the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. It was thought to be extinct for about 50 years but a few sightings and actual footage seemed to indicate that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was still alive and was not an extinct bird. However, there are people on both sides of this story. Those who believe that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was indeed captured on film and the descriptions are accurate. There are also people who think that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was not caught on film for just that brief few seconds. So in today’s post I am going to give my opinions on this fascinating story.

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is the third largest Woodpecker in the world and I can assure you it’s a bonny bird (if you don’t know what one looks like see the bottom of the post). Sadly the image I have posted doesn’t do it justice so I may have some hyperlinks to images elsewhere on the web. Back to the story now: So on the 11th of February 2004 a man by the name of Gene Sparling was kayaking in the big woods of Arkansas through the cache river. Gene said he saw a huge Woodpecker fly towards him and then it landed on a nearby tree. He noted that it had a bright red crest and that when it was on the tree it had a “herky-jerky” almost cartoon line movement to it. Please see for full sighting details.

Soon after Gene was then interviewed by a few people from the Cornell Lab or Ornithology on his sighting. It sounded to good not to be true to me, obviously them as well Tim Gallagher and Bobby Harrison went to go and have a look. These two men always obviously wanted to see an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, Tim was writing a book about Ivory-Billed Woodpecker sightings. So Tim and Bobby set out to the location to search for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Please see for full sighting details.

The first say yielded nothing then on the 27th of February at about 1:15 in the afternoon they stopped to have some lunch. A large black and white Woodpecker flew right in front of them and was about to land on a nearby tree before both the men pointed at it and yelled “Ivory-bill!”. Clearly spooked the bird took flight. It stopped a few times on the trees but sadly no video was ever taken of it. After about 15 minutes after the incident they individually sat down and drew what they saw as field notes. After this sighting it was seen it was reported again by people on three dates in April and once in June of 2004. Then in February 2005 it was spotted once.  Please see for full sighting details.

However possibly the most important evidence was captured on a video camera by David Luneau on the 25th of April 2005. On this day David was going along the river with his video camera running, this makes it easy to therefore grab the camera to record something if it is seen. The camera was filming and it was placed looking out of the left hand side of the boat. They where going along the river and then suddenly a large Woodpecker burst from a tree and flew away into the distance away from the camera. Although it was far away from the camera David and the person with him saw the bird and David commented straight away on the size of the bird! Fortunately the camera was recording and had caught the bird bursting off the tree and flying away. This was closely analysed and many believed it to be an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Looking at the evidence I concur.

The whole scene does last very long at all and can be viewed here:
^ Give it time to load, I would advice you to watch it though a few times instead of just once. If you look above the oar you should see it burst from the tree and then fly off.

So what’s all the controversy? Why do some people doubt. Well there is another Woodpecker out there in the big woods called a Pileated Woodpecker which is quite similar but abundant and quite common in the big woods. Some people think that the video was of a Pileated Woodpecker all of this is dismissed in this 1 hour 50 minutes evaluation of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker sighting. This video includes some conservation efforts to help the bird as well as rare footage from the 1930’s. It’s fantastic and if you get the time to watch it please do:

I think that the evidence in the video above shows conclusively that it was an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker and that they are still alive and that there may be hope yet. To view the evidence it was an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker instead of a Pileated Woodpecker see here:

So what do you think? I would love to hear from you. Why not comment below?

(Ivory-billed Woodpecker - Male on the bottom left and Female bottom right.)

Really good website on Ivory-billed Woodpecker:

Actually footage of the bird in 2005:

Video Evidence it was an Ivory-billed Woodpecker:

Evaluation of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker 1hour 50minutes long:

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker videos:

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Stew’s crew’s Smew’s news

Well! A very nice day today with 2 life ticks. Ticked of my first Smew and Ring-necked Parakeet. That’s right……..I ticked it!

The day started off with Stew’s Crew heading down to Ward Jacksons Park for the Ring-necked Parakeets, these where a life tick (Ooo controversial). The birds showed well and I saw them in flight and certainly heard them plenty! A pleasure to watch. We departed after about 15 minutes and we went to Jackson’s Landing to see the Great-northern Diver. It was showing really well!

Then we headed up to Crookfoot Reservoir where we enjoyed 1 Smew and a Wata’ Rail in the same scope view all be it distant. Then a Peregrine caused some excitement as it appeared over the tree tops and then flying away giving some fantastic views! Not long after Derek Charlton picked up the second Smew and this was a bit bonnier.

Then we headed off past Pudding Poke farm to have a loo at the Little Owl and get some pictures from the car. Fantastic little bird this one! Nearly always there. We where joined by someone to say the Little Owl was there or asking if it was there, can’t remember which one. Anyways that’s not what’s important what’s important was that he informed us that that where some Snaw Bunting at the beach at Seaton Carew between there and North Gare. So we headed the wrong way and eneded up at Parton Rocks and sat and ate our lunch. Then we had a quick look out to see and where rewarded with 3 Velvet Scoters and plenty of Knot all together flying about.

After lunch and Velvets we headed up to Newburn Bridge to see the Mediterranean Gull. He/she didn’t disappoint as it put on a show. Fantastic bird! Then we finally made out way to Seaton Carew beach for the Snaw Buntings. They showed well and there where about 20+ on the beach, sadly every time I crept up on them to get better views they would take off and fly away. :( They eventually landed near 2 members of Stew’s Crew and me and my friend joined them and we had good views off them before they flew over and around us and we left them in peace. Even though they took flight a lot they never went very far. Fantastic little birds.

Life List updates:
222 – Smew
223 – Ring-necked Parakeet

Year List updates:
211 – Smew
212 – Ring-necked Parakeet

Pitmatic Dictionary
Wata’ Rail = Water Rail
Snaw Bunting = Snow Bunting

(Ring-necked Parakeet - Derek Charlton)

(Great-northern Diver - Derek Charlton)

(Smew - Derek Chalrton)

Thanks to Derek for letting me use his images.

Andrew Kinghorn
Stew's Crew - Membership Secretary

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Aberlady Bay + Musselburgh Lagoons

A very enjoyable day today at Lothian. Me and Dad descended upon Musselburgh Lagoons to try for the Wilson’s Phalarope but sadly it had already gone so all we saw was Wigeon and Teal.

Then we went onto Aberlady Bay and nearly straight away I picked up the long staying Lesser Yellowlegs. Also present where Golden Plover c25, 3 Grey Plover, Grey Heron, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Wigeon, Shelduck, and Herring Gulls. I was to busy looking at the Lesser Yellowlegs so I might have missed the odd thing. If you haven’t seen the bird yet, go and see it! It’s a beaut!

Fact: It is the longest ever staying Lesser Yellowlegs on record.

No life tick sadly, but that doesn't matter.

Friday, 27 November 2009


Well I had a very interesting day. I was supposed to do some work today but I sadly did not coursework at all! Guess I will have to do some on Sunday and Monday night. Darn! :(

But I did go and help my friend with his tetrad. Nothing particularly interesting but we had a few good birds like Kestrel and Great-spotted Woodpecker. Some cracking habitat! I fancy it for Short-eared Owls so might have a look over there towards dusk sometime. Might be surprised and hit on something more exciting……….Hawk Owl? No………I will just settle after seeing possibly the bird of the year (Comon’ only what, 5 people saw the Tufted Puffin! But then the Black-bellied Storm-peterel stuck it’s beak in) so what I am trying to say is I think Eastern-crowned Warbler might be some peoples bird of the year.

Was going to go for the Wilson’s Phalarope tomorrow but looks like its gone………..drat! Oh well can’t win them all.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Down Teeside


Had a good day down Teeside. We first went to Greatham Creek to see the Twite and we had them on the rocks really close by. Fantastic view! It was a life tick for me! Also present where two Brent Geese.

We then headed onto Saltholme and as we arrived at Bottom Tank we had Water Rail and also a Jack Snipe! The Jack Snipe was a life tick for me as well! Water Rail was a nice year tick, I didn't think I was going to get one this year.

We headed to Blackhall Rocks where we had 8c Velvet Scoter and 1000+ Common Scoter. 1 of the Velvets was a fantastic drake in great plumage.

Life List updates
220 - Twite
221 - Jack Snipe

Year List updates
208 - Twite
209 - Water Rail
210 - Jack Snipe

Andrew K

Saturday, 7 November 2009


The day started out well as we pulled up at South Sheilds to try for the Sabine's Gull that sadly didn't show but a Snow Bunting put in a brief appearence.

Then we headed for Sandhaven Beach to look for the Sabine's Gull but to no avail!

So we headed for the Fish Quay in North Shields. As we arrived DC spooted some birders with there cameras pointing in the same direction. He remarked something like "It's here!" and so as we got out the car it flew right past and I got good views. It hung around for about 5-10 minutes flying up and down right past us and was about 10ft away at times. It then dissapeared around the corner and didn't return so we left.

Next stop was the farm past Cresswell Pond to look for the Twite. Sadly we didn't see any and so headed up to Budle Bay. As we got out the car DC said something like "There it is" and so we got out scopes out but sadly it had just taken off! So I missed it!!!! Darn. Not to worry.

We went up the road further and came to a sort of pull in and we scanned the surrounding fields and sure enough I picked up the Snow Goose quite quickly. We got out scopes out the car and watched it for a while before heading to Stag Rocks.

(Snow Goose among the Greylags - Bird was distant)

Stag Rocks was great we had Purple Sandpipers, Oystercatchers, Eiders and whilst DC and SA went to go and take some photos of the Purple Sandpipers and picked up the 7 Long-tailed Ducks on the water. They where mainly drakes and had still had the tail streamers.

Over all a very enjoyable day that was fantastic!
Life List updates
218 - Sabine's Gull
219 - Snow Goose

Year List updates
205 - Sabine's Gull
206 - Snow Goose
207 - Long-tailed Duck

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Snow Great Lumley!

Yesterday on the Durham Bird Club latest sightings page I read a friend of mine had seen 3 Snow Buntings the other night. Presumably when he was walking the dog.
So as I rose in the morning I started on my work and got a call from a different friend saying he would pick me up and we could go and look for them. I said no as I had work to do..............but rang him back minutes later having changed my mind. So we went out and had a fantastic hour!

After 45 minutes we had no Snow Buntings. Then as we where walking up and down the fields they eventually flew up! They sadly gained height turned back round flew over our heads up high and then headed off toward Morton Wood where I took my bins of them. That's a life tick for me! A life tick in my own village! The only down side was I missed a 1 1/2 second view of a Merlin that my freind had. DARN! But we had Kestrel and 2 Sparrowhawk.

We had 21 species! These included the 3 Snow Buntings that flew up and off toward fence houses way. Also had 1 Merlin, 2c Sparrowhawk, 1c Kestrel, 1 Jay, Magpie, 900 – 1000 Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, 30c Tree Sparrow, Bullfinch (heard), 1 Greylag Goose, Skylark, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Song Thrush, 2 Grey Partridge, Pheasant, and 2 Goldfinch.

Life List updates
217 - Snow Bunting

Year List updates
204 - Snow Bunting

MULL! 29th - 31st of October

Had a fantastic time on Mull with both eagles and Hen Harriers!
Excellent 3 days on the island buy very wet!

Fantastic birds as usual with my fave birds showing reasonably well.
- 5 White-tailed Eagles
- 4 Golden Eagles
- 4 Hen Harriers (2 Males)
- 2 Great-northern Diver (1 close)
and much more.

0 life ticks but that certainly didn't matter. Highlights had to be:
- Hen Harrier being one of the first birds we saw!!!
- Glen More as we watched 2 Golden Eagles soaring and as we turned around there where 2 White-tailed Eagles behind us! One of the adult White-tailed eagles was fantastic against the back drop and I got amazing views as it flew around for a while. Stew said he was watching a different bird high up and I just caught it with the naked eye as it disappeared behind the hill. The two Golden Eagles where amazing as well!

The best moment had to be after we had had the 2 White-tailed and 2 Golden Eagles we headed to the south of the island at the end of

Uisken and we had a Great-northern Diver in the bay close. After watching that we got back in the car and did a 3 point turn to go. We where joking on saying how bad the day was turning out to be in a joke way. As we where about to go after the 3 point turn Stew said something like "Getting all these bad birds like Great-northern Diver......" and as he was talking he looked out the front window and calmly added ".......white-tailed eagle" and straight away we put the car into neutral and got out to watch it.

As I got it in my scope when it was moving off I caught a glimpse of another huge bird that disappeared very briefly only to re appear and show its true identity as a Golden Eagle. So with the Golden Eagle and White-tailed eagle together in the same scope view the local Kestrel couldn't help but get in on the action as it appeared to have a go at the White-tailed Eagle as well.

What made it so funny was that me and Stew where being sarcastic and saying we where having a bad day when we where having a fantastic day. Then we where listing the birds we added another white-tailed eagle to the end as we looked out in disbelief one had just apeared over the small hill. The funniest part was just Stew saying it so calmly and like the other birds as he quickly put the car in neutral and we all got out.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Eastern Crowned Warbler (story)

I was very ill on the night I saw the warbler so didn't post my full story. I went away on holiday to the Mull of Kintyre and then Mull so I couldn't post the full story so for those interested here goes:

On Thursday (22nd) of October I went to go to bed and I checked my computer. I always check my computer before I go to sleep on a night. When I signed onto the Durham Bird Club latest sightings page I saw the draw dropping news that the UK's first ever Eastern Crowned Warbler had been seen in Durham. PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!! With it being so late I couldn't ring my mate but I could text my friend. In the morning I got up earlier than I normally would and asked my mate if we could go and see it in the afternoon. I explained how rare it was and when I was available. So I asked if we could go and see it and after about the longest 5 second pause............."Yes." WOHOOO! All I need now is to know it was still there. On re-freshing BirdGuides the first bird to appear was the Eastern Crowned Warbler. PHEW! It was still there.

So at an undisclosed time (Incase any college teachers are reading ;) ) we descended upon Trow Quarry. When we got to Trow Quarry there where loads and I mean loads of bird watchers already there. All 3 of us saw it well on and off for a few hours. It showed really, really well in the scope at times. I also saw the Yellow-browed Warbler the same day so I could see how different the Eastern Crowned was from the Yellow-browed. What a beauty of a bird and my favourite so far this year.

216 - Eastern Crowned Warbler - First ever MEGA

(Could this be the second ever rarest bird in the North East. Perhaps only piped at the post by the Slender-billed Curlew)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Eastern Crowned Warbler

This was my first MEGA as well as a first for the UK ever!
Showed really well and I had it in the scope quite a few times. Very faint wing bar nothing like a Yellow-browed Warbler and also the crown stripe along the top of the head.

I am not a well bearn' tonight. I am going away on holiday tommorow. So more details when I come back.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Teesside + Bluethroat

Had a very enjoyable day out today with fellow Durham Bird Club members. Me, Stew, Derek, and Andrew-G Raine descended upon Teesside once again.

First of all we went to South Gare. At South Gare we had the pipit sp. It flew over our heads and started to call. With Derek having had experience of Richard Pipit he said that, that bird was it. It flew over our heads and I noticed it was quite large and very much like a wagtail more so that a pipit. Its call was like a high pitched house sparrow. It was really long in the tail and defiantly a pipit. Therefore we where sure it was a Richards Pipit. With Derek having experienced the species in the past I was happy to tick it off. Sadly I barely got it in my bins and if I did I was out of focus with it being so close. It all happened so quick!

After out fleeing glimpse we saw nothing else so we left. We went to Salthome RSPB and to the bottom tank. There was not much there at all! Only birds of note where Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Snipe, and Dunlin.

So we went onto Dorman's Pool. Again nothing much of interest apart from Kingfisher (which I missed), and also Sparrowhawk right in front of the car. This all happened during dinner! After dinner Derek received a report of a Bluethroat! So onward as fast as we could to Hartlepool Headland to the Bowling green to try and see the Bluethroat. When we arrived there were a handful of birders. Eventually the number of birders increased and there must have been 25-40 people there at one time. Cracking bird! Male aswell!?!?!?!

(Bluethroat - Hartlepool Headland)
After that fantastic bird we went onto Hartlepool Headland where the only bird of note where two fantastic close range Velvet Scoter! They sat for a while then took off and I saw there white secondaries defiantly confirming they where Velvet Scoters. Also we had 1 Manxie heading north. Then we went looked along the pier and had Purple Sandpiper, Knot, and Turnstone.

(Turnstone & Purple Sandpiper & Knot)
Then onto Newburn where we had Mediterranean Gull, Sanderling, Purple Sandpipers, Ringed Plover, and Oystercatcher.

(Mediterranean Gul - Newburn Bridge)

Then the rest of the crew had an ice cream! Then we went to try for the Lapland Bunting at......can't remember the name but quickly gave up as we saw it was to big of a task and it was getting dark.

Life List updates:
214 - Richard's Pipit
215 - Bluethroat

Year List updates:
201 - Richard's Pipit
202 - Bluethroat

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Club Trip to Northumberland - Drurdige & Holy Island

Was out on a Durham Bird Club trip today. Fantastic time, good birds + good company = fantastic day!

First of all we went along to Cresswell Pond and had a quick scan of the pools. Birds of note where: 3 Scaup, 1 Red-throated Diver, and Red-breasted Mergansers. Then straight to Druridge where I bumped into two of the lads who I am usually out with birding. A quick hello and "You’re not going to have that Glossy Ibis and me miss it" (All jokes obviously) then like a bullet out of a gun along to the hide with the Glossy Ibis. It had moved from right in front of the hide to the left hand side. Had a good look at the bird and watched it for quite a while. Fantastic bird! I am glad I got it after dipping it 2 Saturdays ago.

(Glossy Ibis - Druridge Pools)

Next we went onto Holy Island. The coach pulled up and we went straight for the Firecrest. Once we had arrived it started calling. I saw it briefly a few times and saw the supercilium. It was working its way along and Ando (A DBC friend) said to come over and sit at the end and we would see it. So we did that and sure enough it came out in full view for a few seconds and them disappeared, a moment I will probably never forget. What a fantastic bird! My favourite of the day. We left it in piece and then onto the rest of Holy Island.

Next to the “main” part of Holy Island and from here we had 2 Yellow-browed Warblers! Once of them showing really well with another mate of mine getting some great photos of it. I also saw my first ever Pied Flycatcher and Brent Goose! I also had fantastic close range views of a Lesser Whitethroat and Brambling.

5 life ticks!

Life List updates
209 – Glossy Ibis
210 – Firecrest
211 – Yellow-browed Warbler
212 – Pied Flycatcher
213 – Brent Geese

Year List updates
195 – Glossy Ibis
196 – Firecrest
197 – Yellow-browed Warbler
198 – Brambling
199 – Pied Flycatcher
200 – Brent Geese

Sixth from college tommorow! Yey! NOT!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Crane again

Went back to try and see if I could get my mate the Common Crane as he had not seen it yet. We started off at Ouslaw Lane in Kibblesworth but nothing at all apart from couple of pigeons. So we headed down to Lamesely Water Meadows to look for it. No immediate sign so we headed for the hide. Whilst there we had a couple of good birds with Buzzard, Kestrel, 40c Teal, Lapwing, Redshank, Snipe, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Black-headed Gull, Pied Wagtail (heard), Cormorant (over), and Greylang Geese. We spent about 30 - 45 mins there. We left and thought we would try Ouslaw Lane again just incase it has put in a show. We pulled over and I got out. I looked between two hedges and there in the distance I saw something grey and large. That's it! So I got my scope out and we watched it for about 10minutes before heading of. It was very distant compared to when I had it 100yrds off but it was still fantastic to see this bird again before it leaves. Just glad my friend saw it before it leaves.

(Common Crane standing tall)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Common Crane (Common!?!?! how dare they)

I had the NOT so Common Crane today at Lamesley Water Meadows. What a cracking bird that was! Made up for dipping the Glossy Ibis on Saturday.

I was sitting in McDonalds eating the cardboard food that is on offer there when my phone started to ring and I saw it was a friend from the Bird Club who informed me it was showing well at the location and doesn't look like its gunna be going anywhere anytime soon. So straight home and on our way to see it. Got a lift from a non birdy friend who seemed to enjoy looking at it also. A very impressive bird and perhaps one of my favourites this year.

(It was present about 50yards past the Ravensworth Pub in the field on the left hand side of the road. You can view it from the side of the road. Still present when I left at 1:55.)

(Common Crane - Andrew Kinghorn)

Life list updates
208 - Common Crane

Year list updates
194 - Common Crane

Saturday, 3 October 2009

HOODED MERGANSER - Could be same as WILD Fife bird last year!!!!

I thought people may well be interested to know that the Hooded Merganser in Teesside may well be the exact same bird that was at Tayport in Fife last year!

The bird at Teesside has an abnormality on its right leg. The Tayport bird in Fife last year also had an abnormality also on its right leg, coincidence??? I personally certainly don't this so. The bird in Fife was accepted by the BBRC.

For more information and also photographic proof see the "Durham Birding" thread on BirdForum post number #11029


Please subscribe if you haven't already.
Andrew K

(Hoooded Merganser on bank - AKinghorn)

No Glossy but a Barnie

Unfortunatly the Glossy Ibis managed to suddenly dissapear! We arrived at 3:30pm and there was still no sign or reports by the time we left at 4:45pm. However still a good days birding with: Goldeneye, Scaup, and Pink-footed Geese at Cresswell Pond.

On to Drurdige Pools to look for the Otters but nowt' but Redshank, 2 Dunlin, Mute Swans, Moorhen, Mallard, and Grey Heron. Then on the way back a fellow birder spotted a Barn Owl. We got about a 5 second view before is dissapeared.

Other birds of the day included: Lapwings, Gulls, Godwits sp (I didn't pay yo much attention, to busy looking for Ibis), Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Curlew, Wigeon, Teal, Greenshank, and that's about it.

Not a bad day all in all.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Sandhill Crane has left Orkney....

and it appears to be moving south.

Bird Guides:
29/09/09 Sandhill Crane Orkney Windwick, S.Ronaldsay 10:12
flew off southeast, out to sea

29/09/09 - Sandhill Crane - Highland - Wick - 10:54

29/09/09 - Sandhill Crane - Highland - Latheronwheel -11:15

29/09/09 - Sandhill Crane - Highland - Dunbeath - 11:35

29/09/09 - Sandhill Crane - Highland  - Brora 12:25
still west of Brora then flew SW inland

DON'T PANIC! It is heading south lets just hope it comes to the North East. If it has any sense it will!

Andrew's Favourite Bird Joke of the day!

Again I am using a Tim Vine joke, can't remember the exact words so this one might be reworded slightly.

I was driving around the in the countryside one day and in the field there was a grouse,  a pheasant, and a partridge all dressed up as clowns!...............................Must have been game for a laugh.

I like that joke.
Andrew K

Monday, 28 September 2009

Andrew's Favourite Bird Joke of the day!

Thanks to Tim Vine the comedian for todays joke:
"I was driving past a rubbish dump, and I saw a load of seagulls on top of all the rubbish. I thought, who threw them out?"

What does everyone think?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Saturday 26th of September

A very enjoyable day yesterday.

Arriving at RSPB Saltholme we where told the Buff-breasted Sandpiper had just gone from view. However we waited around looking for it and I counted the Snipe nuumbers around one small area. We where distracted by a darn Osprey flying over the reserve! ;) Then back to looking for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper and then someone spotted it! I got ok-ish views of it although quite distant. Also present where Snipe, Ruff, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, and Curlew. Buff-brested Sandpiper was a life tick for me!

Next up to Dorman's Pool with 2 TBC members (therefore I shouldn't get into trouble) Red-backed Shrike was present and showing very well! This was also a nice life tick for me.

(Red-backed Shrike - Dorman's Pool)

Then onto Saltholme bright an early when it opens at 10:00am! ;) Over to Haverton Hole and we stood for about 30 mins with nothing much apart from Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Greenshank, and Black-tailed Godwit...............then a fellow birdwatcher from the bird club and myself where looking between 2 large thick clumps of reeds with water in the middle and there where the usual ducks on the dry land with a Greenshank and 2? Black-tailed Godiwits (can't remember) and out of no where swam the Blue-winged Teal from behind the left large clump fo reeds! My fellow bird club friend just confirmed what I was about to ask, when he said he had it! Cracking bird. Apparently it might be the same bird that keeps coming back to Satholme. Who knows? Another life tick!

(Blue-winged Teal concealed behind reeds - Note you can see the white on the birds head)

Then my last life tick is a strange one..............Purple Sandpiper. We went down to Hartlepool Headland where we had 2 Purple Sandpipers which is a life tick I never had seemed to have been able to get in the past. Perhaps as I wasn't really looking for them.

Life list updates:
204 – Buff-breasted Sandpiper
205 – Red-backed Shrike
206 – Blue-winged Teal
207 – Purple Sandpiper

Year list updates:
190 - Buff-breasted Sandpiper
191 - Red-backed Shrike
192 - Blue-winged Teal
193 - Purple Sandpiper

Till the next time..........Slender-billed Curlew.......I mean bye..
Andrew K

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th of September

Saturday 19th
I good day but a little bit quite in terms of birds. Had some good birds with: Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat (heard), Whinchat, Stonechat, and a lot of common birds as well. All in all a good day and great company.

Sunday 20th
Went for a Seawatch at Whitburn Obs this morning. 6:30 - 9:30.
Bird of note included a dodgy Barnacle Goose, Common Scoters, Red-throated Divers, Red-brested Mergansers, Pink-footed Geese, a Mediterranean Gull right past the hide and the best bird of the day a juv Hobby in off the sea!
All in all a good day.

Year list: 189: Hobby.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Photo's from the last week

(Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Lapwing, and Black-headed Gull)
(Curlew (left) and Whumbrel (right) comparison)
(Red-throated Diver)
(Hooded Merganser - Look at the green bank at the back of the photo, just on the waters edge where the grass meets the water you can see the Hooded Merganser with it's white belly. I think it might be a wild bird)


I should really update my blog daily but.......I am busy. Also no one is following me yet so it feels like a bit of a lost cause at the moment. But I will update it anyway.....

Tuesday 8th of September
I went down for the Hooded Merganser that is down Teeside. I beleive it to be a wild bird for many reasons:
1. It is not from Washington WWT as they clip the wings of the birds there.
2. It avoids being fed by humans.
3. It likes to keep it's distance from people.
Here is my story of my first Hooded Merganser. A friend went to check the L shapedgully at the Petro Plus Pool whilst me and my friend looked ont he main pond/lake. He came back from checking the gully to say there was no sign. I asked if you could see it ok to which he replied yes. So I made my way there on my own. Set up the scope and I could see a duck a way off in the gully. So I looked through my scope and it was a Mallard. Soon after this a bird appeared really close to me in the gully. Lifted the Bins up and there it was! Hooded Merganser! The other two of the my gang where looking at each other talking quite a way off. After a few seconds I managed to get there attention. They came over and one of them had not even set there scopes up and UP! It flew over the field and onto Calor Gas Pool. So we went back to Calor Gas Pool and watched it for a while.

After this we headed to Greatham Creek where I had a nother life tick! 3 Little Stints! Not bad.... not bad.

Saturday 12th September 
Up to the Northumberland coast on Saturday. Very nice birds and weather! Birds of note where Bar-tailed Godwit in front of the hide at Cresswell, Little Stint at Cresswell, Artic Skua, Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter, and Red-breasted Merganser all offshore. Bird of the day was the Arctic Skua for me. Confirmed by Derek C from the bird club.(I'm not very good at sea watching) it was nice to see the Arctic Skua chasing birds. Derek says there was two there!

Life List update:
202 - Hooded Merganser (Might change depending on if it's a wild bird or not)
203 - Little Stint

Year List updates:
186 - Bar-tailed Godwit
187 - Red-throated Diver
188 - Arctic Skua

Andrew Kinghorn

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs
After Dum&Gallow I came to my Grandma's at Perth with my parents. Dad kindly said he would take me to Aberlady Bay to see the Lesser Yellowlegs. So today Dad suggested we go to Aberlady Bay. When I arrived the bird was there and I saw it fairly quickly. It wasn't really that hard to ID and was fairly distinctive when with the Redshanks and easy to seperate from the Greenshank that was present. Other notable birds seen include: Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Curlew, and Greenshank. Here's some poor shots although they do show the size of the bird compared with commoner species and also the distinctive yellow legs.

(Forground from left Lesser Yellowlegs & Greenshank)

Surrounding Area I met a nice man whilst looking at and photographing the Lesser Yellowlegs and he said that I should go to the bird centre close by. It was a SOC centre which is Scotland's Bird Club, it was a fantastic place and everyone was very freindly and helpful. The fellow told me that Red-necked Grebe and Velvet scoter where near by and those are 2 life ticks I need! So we went to where the fellow told us and I bumped back into the nice man I met whilst at the Lesser Yellowlegs site. He pointed me in the direction of a very distant flock of Velvet Scoters and Red-Necked Grebes. I couldn't tell they were Velvet Scoters but the man said they where and he was local and knew the area and the birds that are there. He was saying that there was some Common Scoters amongst the flock so I looked at the flock and although I couldn'y positivly ID a Velvet Scoter for myself I saw the flock of birds and one bird sat up flapped it's wings and I didn't see it do a headbob so I think that it was a Velvet Scoter I was looking at. Even if it wasn't I saw the flock so I must have seen one regardless. The reason I say this is that there where more Velvet Scoters than Common Scoters in the flock. The bird that I saw that sat up looked like a Velvet Scoter when it flapped its wings. I think I saw the white wing bar on the secondaries. Although the Red-Necked Grebes where distant it didn't matter as later on we went to a diferent part of the area and whilst I was busy looking in the distance for the Red-Necked Grebes my Dad spooted them not far out and asked me what they where. I looked out and there was 2 cracking Red-Necked Grebes one still in part summer plumage (see photo) all in all a great day with 3 life ticks.

(1 0f 2 Red-Necked Grebe's spotted by Dad)

Life List updates:

199 -Lesser Yellowlegs

200 -Red-Necked Grebe

201 -Velvet Scoter


Friday 21st of August - BirdFair
The day before I went on holiday with my parents I went to the BirdFair with my friends. Had a life tick would you beleive?! They had caught a Grasshopper Warbler and I saw the bird and counted it. If you think this is unfair and cheating please email me on andrewkdoesn' ;)

Saturday 22nd-29th of August - Dumfries & Galloway
Notable birds seen on holiday where: Wigeon, Redshank, Red Kite, Shag, Peregrine, Raven, Buzzard, Wheatear, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. A good selection seems as though it wasn't a proper birding holiday.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Semipalmated Sandpiper

I got back from my days birding yesterday and I signed onto BirdGuides and went on Bird News Extra to see what birds had been seen so far in that day. If you haven’t already subscribed to BirdGuides for free I would recommend that you do so as it's a fantastic website.

I logged into Bird News extra and I was almost devastated to read:"19/08/09 - Semipalmated Sandpiper - Northumbs - Cresswell pond NWT"

I rang my friend Stew and he couldn't go so I put a message on Durham Bird Club forum asking if anyone was going and if so if I could come with them. Worried that I wouldn’t get a reply I told Mum the bird was there and she said she would take me in the afternoon. HOWEVER I got a phone call from a member who knows me and said he was going and that I could come. Few.....So I got up bright and early and we where on our way to Creswell pond NWT. We where told that we had just missed the bird by 10-15 mins! After a scam of Creswell Pond we went down onto the beach. A scam revealed some waders in the distance so we headed for them. We got there set our scopes up and a few minutes later Neil who I was with found it! I got my scope on it and Neil went back quickly to the car park to get the other birders. He returned with a few other birders and we got our scopes on it and watched it for quite a long time.
Cracking little bird! This bird takes my Life List up to 197 and my year list 179.

(From right: Dunlin, Semipalmated Sandpiper in background take note of the size difference)

(From FAR right: The bird that is furthest right on the shore is the Semipalmated Sandpiper other birds on the left are Knot, Sanderling, and Dunlin)

(Best photo (in my opinion) of the Semiplamated Sandpiper I could get)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Whitburn Obs & Sandhaven Beach

Only birds of interest where a large flock of Manx Shearwaters heading South.

South Sheilds: Sandhaven Beach
Went to Sandhaven Beach for the Roseate Terns that are there. Had 2 adults and here is a picture of one of them (below). Also present where Great-black backed Gull(s), Lesser-black bakced Gull(s), Herring Gull(s), Common Gull(s), and probably Black-headed Gull(s). There was a nice year tick for me with 7 Sanderling taking the year list up to 178 species of bird.

(Image: Roaseate Tern: The bird that is smallest is a Roseate Tern standing in front of a Common Tern)

(Image: 5 of the 7 Sanderlings present)

You have been watching..............

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Saturday 15th of August 2009

This is late as I didn't have a Blogspot on Saturday so your going oto get the report now.
Went out with fellow DBC freinds: Stew, Derek, and Andrew.

Seaton Snook
First of all we went to Seaton Snook and there was large numbers of both Ringed Plover & Dunlin. A few tern species knocking about including Little Tern. The highlight of Seaton Snook had to be the summer plumage Grey Plovers. Here is two of them (if you have good eyes)
After the very pleasant Grey Plovers we made our way back to the car in the now horizontal rain and 300mph wind.

(From left: Andrew Raine(Very appropriate), ME, Staurt Ayre)

Saltholme RSPB
Just the usual birds at Saltholme here today apart from Greenshank and Ruff.

Calor Gas Pools
The pools held some good birds on the day: Dunlin, 3 Ruff, Greenshank, Redshank, and 3 Black-tailed Godwits.

(From left: Reshank, Redshank, Greenshank)

Blackhall Rocks A nice flock of Common Scoter was a great end to the day at Blackhall Rocks. Also from here we had a few Gannets offshore.

A great end to the day.

You have been watching.........