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)