Popped out locally for the day as I realised I hadn't been out the front door for about 48 hours so incase the neighbours thought I had died I ventured out. Went to Rainton Meadows DWT where pretty much nothing out of the ordinary was present apart from 2 Common Snipe and a male Gadwall. A brilliant spectacle was made as hundreds of Greylag and Canada Geese flew in from the surrounding countryside onto pool 2. After having my verbal beating from John Bridgelens I headed to Herrington Country Park to see the Little Gull that was found yesterday, never seen one locally so was keen to see the bird. I love Little Gulls and some brilliant close views were had of this stunning bird.
I might go and look for Kingfisher today after lunch as I still haven't managed to see one in Durham this year despite many hours of dedicated searching. Tomorrow about 1 until 6ish looks good for seawatching so might get down to Whitburn Obs for an afternoon/early evening session seawatching
I've had a brilliant year so far this year and with Autumn getting more intense as time goes on I would love if I saw at least 2 new birds for UK before the year is out, Long-tailed Skua I hope will be one of them. I came close last year if it wasn't for my teeth (long story) but I couldn't go to Obs the morning I wanted to and a Long-tail passed. 3 flew North past Newbiggin last night and I was mightily gripped to hear they were adults!
What has been everyone's UK bird of the year so far? Could be anything a good patch tick, a mega rare bird, etc. Comments below if you feel like it.
This year I watched a male and female Long-eared Owl go from a winter roost site to a breeding site a mere 200ft away, then I watched the birds successfully fledge 3 young Long-eared Owls. The first two images were taken while the birds were being rung by a fully qualified bird ringer (John Brown).
Please view videos in HD, if your unsure how to do this CLICK HERE.
Out today with a mate and we went down to Teesside and started the day off at Saltholme RSPB, to my amazement the rain had pretty much stopped and it was turning out to be a nice day. We checked the causeway but sadly didn't see our target species of Curlew Sandpiper, however a mighty impressive 8 or so Ruff might have been a record for seeing that many all in the same scope view. A wander down to the main hide at Saltholme produced 1 distant Curlew Sandpiper on the causeway, this bird just appeared as it wasn't present 30 minutes previous! From here we moved onto Greatham Creek to see what we could turn up we have another impressive 24 Ruff aswell as a single Black-tailed Godwit, single Common Sandpiper, and a further 2 Curlew Sandpiper. We moved onto Seal Sands and had Golden Plover, a single Knot, about 550 Redshank, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, and yes another Curlew Sandpiper! So the tally was at least 4 Curlew Sandpiper. By the time we left the tidal pools the Curlew Sandpiper we had at Seal Sands had moved to the RSPB date with nature watchpoint.
Our next port of call was Seaton Snook, we walked out toward the point when Derek picked up some waders in front of us and said "Guess what's in there?", I looked at him and thought for a few seconds and replied with "Curlew Sand?". Sure enough a further 2 Curlew Sandpiper with some Ringed Plover. Nothing else much on the Snook however 2 flyover Whimbrel added to the atmosphere and about 25 Shag added some interest. Day rounded off at Blackhall where the Common Scoter were present but still no further sign of the reported Surf Scoter. Dropped Derek off about 3 in the afternoon and I decided knowing the Spotted Redshank had been seen at Shibdon Pond to go up and have a look. On the way up in the car I said yo myself that I was determined to get this bird on my Durham year list having missed them now on at least 2 occasions. When I arrived a scan didn't look hopeful producing only Redshanks, then eventually I picked the Spotted Redshank up (and relax). I made my way to the hide where I had excellent views of a single Snipe, Spotted Redshank, 24 Redshank, and 1 Green Sandpiper. Brilliant way to end a brilliant day.
Although reading my post you may think "has he not just seen the same Curlew Sandpipers moving about during the day?". The answer I believe is; no. I studied each bird and I am fairly sure that I saw at least 7 different Curlew Sandpipers today.
lets's all go to the coast, look for our own birds and fail miserably. Then because we're doing a county list lets try for birds found literally 500-1000 meters and dip those! Another thing, I don't want to sound to harsh but I have noticed a lot of pager monkeys, people who are free but sit in the house waiting for others to find the birds and then just appear. Not sure I am a big fan of that. Rant over.
What a frustrating 2 days where I have failed to find anything even half decent and have dipped Greenish Warbler, Icterine Warbler, and Barred Warbler that I have called to look at when I have been in the area looking for other decent birds.
Spent this morning in the hide at Rainton Meadows DWT, but sadly as is usual these last few days nothing much of note. After about and hour or so and after a good bit banter I moved onto Trow Quarry, my target was Whinchats which had been reported here in the morning by Dave Johnson. Thankfully after about a 5 seconds of arriving I had 1 and then another. Showed well and managed a half decent shot of it.
Had a walk about and stumbled upon these 2 Wheatears below, another bird making it feel like the goodies are just about the pour in. Also saw one of the local Little Owls which I hadn't seen for about a year! A bonus was a Shag hauled out on the rocks with 2 Cormorants, couldn't quite believe it and had to check twice as I have hunted around for one of these for a while now and was a Durham year tick.
Moved onto Sandhaven Beach where a whole load of adult Kittiwakes were on the beach along with a scattering of the occasional Common Tern. Took a while but eventually a Roseate Tern landed on the beach for the whole of 5 seconds and managed to get it in the scope before it flew off. However later picked up what I presumed was the same bird and walked along the pier to get this distant video, sadly the only Roseate Tern in Durham I have seen this year. All the usual suspects were also around, in this weather it also included the locals. Problem with public places is the public ruining it for the birders ha-ha.
Video really needs to be viewed in HD, if unsure how to do this CLICK HERE
News broke again on a Sunday morning of a Woodchat Shrike in Trow Quarry, the site is possibly one of the most famous place in the North of England now for birders. This was a cracking adult bird and it showed fairly well for me on at least 4 occasions, mostly obscured but did have a good view of the bird out in the open. All in all I am a happy chppy to see this stunning bird.
I had a longer video but some Yorkshire birders head sadly got in the way so decided I would upload this short video instead. Please view in HD, if unsure how to do this CLICK HERE.
Today I went down Teesside with Martin to try and see the stunning White-winged Black Tern, I wasn't disappointed and the bird showed very well. Not so stunning was a eclipse male Blue-winged Teal (hence the satire above), it wasn't really as bad as I am making it out to be, its an interesting bird as it was an ID challenge for me. Never seen this species in this plumage before and its always good to learn, we had good views especially of its "blue wing" as it preened and went about it's business. The bird is clearly in heavy moult as when it flapped it became very evidence most of its primaries were missing so it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
From here we headed to Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park for some "here be dragons' "time. We were successful with at least 4 Brown Hawkers, 2 Common Hawkers, 1 Migrant Hawker (lifer), 1 Ruddy Darter, numerous Common Darter, Emerald and Common Blue damselflies. A brilliant day all in all.
The following video is the best footage of the Greenabella Marsh Wilson's Phalarope in existence (to my knowledge). It was taken my the finder Toby Collet, who is also chief (love that word so decided to use it) warden at Saltholme RSPB. Thanks to Toby for allowing me to use the video, as I give thanks to everyone who allows/has allowed me to use their photographs and videos on my blog.
I am going to call upon the experience of my readers and fellow bloggers here. I am sure I have mis-ID'd some of the following and as such please could you let me know so I can correct them. Not really much of an idea when it comes to insects:
Exactly a week ago today I set up a poll on my blog to see what people though, I asked people to vote seriously and as such I am guessing most people did. Some very interesting responses.
37 people voted
8 said they thought my blog was excellent
16 said they thought my blog was good
3 said they thought my blog was average
4 said they thought my blog was poor
6 said they though my blog was atrocious
What was interesting was that 1 person threw their toys out the pram because I made another ID post and ceased to be a follower of the blog, more interestingly was the fact 2 of the 6 who voted atrocious voted within about the first 2 hours of the poll being put up! As I asked to vote seriously I found this interesting as they think my blog is so bad the appear to be sitting waiting for me to make a post. Go figure? LOL. However for those (if all) who voted seriously and said my blog was atrocious then please comment as I would like to hear why.
As a result of the poll I have decided that more than enough people seem to like my blog and will therefore keep posting on my blog for the foreseeable future. Thanks to all who voted seriously.
Now time for some improvements, please comment below if you have any to suggest. They won't be posted up straight away as I have to moderate them before they are shown, so if you wish to remain anonymous and don't want your feedback posted up please just say.
Yesterday I spent in the company of Tom and Brian (Killy Birder), we started off at Saltholme RSPB looking for a Little Stint that had been present in the area for a short while but had eluded me, sadly after a search for 15 minutes or so it was clear the bird wasn't on view. I decided to maybe return later on but in the mean time a visit to Greatham Creek was on the cards. The hoped for Spotted Redshank eluded us, but Ruff, Greenshank, and 3 Grey Plover kept us entertained. One of the Grey Plover was in full summer suit, what a stunner that was! Thankfully the tide was coming in and this brought some Dunlin onto the tidal pools, a quick check with the bins revealed a Little Stint, cracking views through the scope brilliant!
Please view all videos in HD. If unsure how to do this CLICK HERE.
A check of the Little Terns at Crimdon Dene revealed they had all but gone with only a few birds remaining, so from here we headed up to Whitburn Steel. We had about an hour long wait and then 2 birds flew past beneath us, I got on one and it became evident as it disappeared out of view around the corner of where we were standing it was the Bonaparte's Gull. This time was my seconds of this cracking bird, sadly it appears to be undergoing its moult pretty fast and has lots quite a lot of its black hood. Got home to news of a Wilson's Phalarope at Teesside, drat! Decided not to go as it was reported as flown off after I had my tea. Big mistake? Keep reading to find out.
This afternoon I headed down to Teesside with Martin and Adam to try and catch up with the Wilson's Phalarope, we were not disappointed! The bird performed superbly well, a Fox put in an appearance as did 3 Greenshank and 2 Short-eared Owl put on a brilliant display. A check of Back Saltholme and the Causeway produced nothing really of note. I had wanted to see a Wilson's Phalarope for a while now having missed the past 2 in Durham, I dipped one a couple of years ago in Lothian and had never had another chance again until now. On the downside looks like my tripod is on the blink again, oh-oh. Just in time for Autumn!