Saturday, 29 September 2012


Can everyone remember what they look like? Before I get to the weeks highlights I best start off with last week.

Last Saturday saw me making the jouney north to Goswick in the afternoon, I was aware the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was around. I had only previosuly seen the species once back in September 2009 on Back Saltholme (if I have remembered that correctly?), it was distant and views were poor. I like seeing pics of Buff-breasted Sandpipers and I am often a little envious when looking at images of them close up and affording observers mega views, with this in mind I went up to Goswick and managed to connect with the bird after around 45 mintutes. I picked it up flying in from the south and landing on the mud flats with 2 Dunlin nearby. Stalked the bird and was afforded mega views of this stunning Yank wader.

Poor video grab of a mega bird:
(Buff-breasted Sandpiper - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Buff-breasted Sandpiper - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

Sunday was quiet, a Lesser Whiethroat may have been a Headland tick? A seawatch was okay, though I had to go home and defrost afterward. Highlight was certainly the drake Velvet Scoters flying south past the Headland. Monday was an interesting day, I'll not go into the in's and out's of it all but I made a few stupid decissions. One did pay off though when I was having mega views of a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Zinc Works Road, quite unlike my first which was a skulker and murder to get good views off. 

Tuesday things started to kick off, was very frustrating though. I am now back at univeristy and so time to birdwatch is limited, I wanted to be out looking for migrants but instead I was stuck indoors 'studying'. I break in the uni stuff provided me with a long awaited lifer when Mark Newsome found a Common Rosefich at Whitburn Coastal Park. When I arrived there was no sign, however some patients provided the goods and the bird flew in from high and landed on the berries and started to feed, I had good views and returned later for even better views! They looked bad in books but actually juveniles aren't all that bad; they have something about them, maybe its just the wing bars. Marsden Hall produced my second Red-breasted Flycatcher but there was no sign of the Barred Warbler which had presumably moved on. 

Wednesday was a day to remember, my chance at a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler at Hartlepool Headland was gone. Only 4 birders saw the bird, a real testament to time in the field. I was gutted, a species I knew I would probably never get a chance to see in Durham again. Then in early afternoon I got a phone call from Mark Newsome, I can remember 'Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler' follwed later on by 'caught at Whitburn'. AGGHHHHH PANIC! I was on site 10 minites later (I just left uni for the day) and was standing shaking with excitement and nerves, I calmed down a bit and waited until the bird was shown around. What an absolute beauty! I never thought I would be seeing a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler anytime soon in Durham; if ever! 

Look at that!
(Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

Mega, mega, mega! Bird was released into the small mound and seen only by a few fortunate observers on the evening. I headed down to The Leas hedge where I had views of Yellow-browed Warbler and Whinchat, a good way of rounding of a memorable day. Congradulations to Chris Bell, who is now the only bloke in the to have ever seen 2 Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers in the same day in the UK. Both in same county as well.

Thursday was a lot quieter and a search for migrants after uni was in vain, though movement of Barnacle and Pink-footed Geese is always good to see. 

Friday...well you will have to wait till my next blog post.

Until next time, Foghorn out!


  1. """"however some patients provided the goods""""

    Which hospital were these patients from???

  2. Crippler, but you know you that birds in the hand don't count ?!! ;-)

    1. But as soon as the ringer releases that grip and the bird flies free......................................................and of course whilst in the hand you can enjoy the subtle plumage details!