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Preview: Birding Sometimes

Birding Sometimes

Updated: 2018-04-08T19:27:14.651+01:00


Back in Black


5 scoter year it is then.

Record shots from Holy Island - my 7D doesn't seem to like the 2.0 extender... Spoonbill at Druridge was a nice bonus.



Nice White-spotted Bluethroat on the shore at Newbiggin this morning. Can't beat a bit of rubbish to enliven a distant record shot.

450 days


A mere 450 days for my UK list to increase by one - provided by the drake American White-winged Scoter off Musselburgh on 25th. A welcome and somewhat unexpected addition. Supporting cast was three further scoter species - velvet, common and a single drake surf.

Meagre video stills above... records at best!

All jolly good.

2018 has been a quiet start - with some nice padders though through months 1 - 3:

Glaucous, Iceland, Mediterranean, Little Gulls
Great Northern Divers (with untickable views of White-billed and a further near miss in March)
Hawfinches, Marsh Tit, Dipper
Local Ring-necked Parakeet
Great Grey Shrike
Common Crane
Water Rail (on the Horton Burn - urban Mega!)
Grey Phalarope (2)
Goshawk, Raven, Crossbill.

Off, On


IOC keeps Mealy on the Redpoll list, so this bird was nice and timely - at Low Lights, in low light.



Sunny conditions this morning, but much more difficult viewing - until one appeared above us on the path side. Light was tricky, but I'll take it.

11 year itch


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January 2006 was the last time I saw a Hawfinch - this morning I was able to see 10! In Northumberland too... Hopefully more to come as the UK sees an invasion in progress. iPhone thru scope pics and video...

A quick look at Big Waters en-route home provided the pair of Red-crested Pochard. 

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Second helpings...


Armed with the trusty DSLR and a cheeky use of the 2.0 extender, combined with a dash of patience...

A taste of the Med.


An unexpected catch back on the few fortunate to be at East Chevington last weekend, with a mid afternoon re-visit of Bee-eater to Druridge!Initially not present, the bird flew back in from the north calling to announce its presence as heavy rain subsided. A second county tick for me in a week, following Cetti's Warbler at East Chevington.Only had my Bins, but not long after folk arrived with scopes, and then finally, Ian Fisher, who kindly lent me a memory card to take some of my own pics through his camera...DSLRThe Crowd, The Sun, The Tree, The Bee-eater!iPhone and BinsiPhone and handheld telescopeDSLR[...]




Unusual Suspects


Wednesdays ' commute home from work was abnormal, with a diversion to Ryhope to see the Scop's Owl that had been found earlier in the day. Armed with only my iPhone, I was dependant upon others generosity to view through optics...Great view all considering, and perhaps a venture back should the owl remain.Nearer home, on the return journey, another unanticipated bird - a nightjar - at St Mary's. Still without any optics of my own, other folks Scope's were put to use, even though the subject was roosting a mere few feet away!Saturday saw a trip north - this time armed with camera and scope...Goswick GC has held an obliging immature Long-tailed Skua this week - and some crippling views were obtained. Seems this bird has taken a fancy to try and eat golf balls - pecking furiously! Yellow-browed Warbler also present.The return journey saw a pit stop at Stag Rocks, where only one of the Black Terns was picked up offshore - thankfully for me it was the White-winged.[...]



Time has been a premium lately...Ruddy Duck - May, Northumberland (iPhone)Great White Egret - June, Newton-by-the-Sea (iPhone)A week away... Portugal...Then back in the County - and an elusive County Tick for me...Night Heron, Whittle Dene (iPhone)[...]

Revisit, Float, Dip.


Popped back to Lynemouth -en-route to Seahouses for an attempt at Serin, a County mega. Citrine Wagtail still performing well... images here are from Friday though.Meanwhile on the Farnes... no sign of the Serin, but plenty of these fellas'[...]



Incredible views... more images later.

The weekend so far


Catch up with some returning migrants in the north-east - inland for swift, pied flycatcher, tree pipit, wood warbler, redstart, ring ouzel...

and always nice to see...


Balearic potterings








Another venture up Druridge Bay on another sunny day. Ring-necked Duck back at Hauxley, just out of the lenses reach, and then at Druridge a Great White Egret consorting with a Little Egret...

3 Little Egret closer to home.



An early morning venture to Killingworth didn't produce the Ferruginous Duck, but a couple of Scaup were nice. Up north, the drake Ring-necked Duck relocated to East Chevington, distantly mixing with the Slavonian Grebe and Whooper Swans...

Short Stories


Its' not been a very SEO winter, so news of returning birds up the coast enabled a post nightshift wander. Up to three in the air at once, parading in front of a steady stream of owlers'... Peregrine stationed on the usual spot too.

Other fodder on ofter - Pacific Diver (awake, contrary to recent reports), Slavonian Grebe, plenty of Great-crested Grebe in their finery, Scaups a many, and a couple of Avocet. 

Little Egret continue nearer home, with 4 on 5th March and 2 on 10th March.



Back in 2008 I was fortunate enough to be able to twitch the UKs first Pacific Diver in Yorkshire on 12th January. Roll on nine years and with a handful of other UK records, Northumberland scores one! It was cold and frosty morning at East Chevington, and despite sometimes being the closest bird in the north east corner of the pool, the diver was always a tad too distant, as the eastern side was frozen. A couple of fly arounds granted opportunity for a  couple of images ...And I was quite happy with that... so off to the beach for a catch up with the 7 Shorelark - feeding at the burn mouth alone with c45 Twite. Nice day.Heading back to the car a message came through that the diver had moved to nearby Druridge Bay County Park - it would be rude not to look...It was apparent that the diver was heading to the western corner, so with some initiative (as many had, it transpires) the camera was set up near the stepping stones. I was quietly optimistic - previous encounters with Black-throated Diver at Tynemouth had been really rewarding, as feeding tended to be close to the edge, fearless of man watching a few feet away.Bingo - some great views...patrolling the corner...diving (as they do)...Feeding...[...]



Cormorant takes a bite! 

Up the coast...


Potter up the coast produced a few useful year-tick fodder... with Brambling, Tundra Bean Geese, European White-fronted Geese, Hen Harrier, Glaucous Gull being the highlights.

Nice weather to boot.

Not much in the way of photographs today.


Late afternoon Glaucous Gull (iPhone)



Found myself heading to Gloucestershire on 30th December for an unanticipated look for a male Blue Rock Thrush that had been found feeding in Stow-on-the-Wold. A bit further than I would have liked, but holidays permitted a bit of extra effort. 

2 hours had passed before the bird was located, feeding in a back-garden and breaking between feeds on nearby roof tops. Just like they do...

Winter mist did not help, but the occasional break of sunshine brought out the colours.

Swan & Gooses


From dusk till


Beeley...Arrived just after midday on Sunday after earlier news had confirmed that the Dusky Thrush was still present at the rather quaint setting of Beeley in Derbyshire. However, it wasn't as straight forward as I had hoped - still a large crowd viewing from a restrictive area obscured with tangled hawthorn - so opted with a few others to view from an alternative corner. Two plus hours passed before the Thrush returned and it was a bit of a scramble to the other viewing area to grab an obscured view.A few record shots with the lens pointing through a table of hedging, and in very dull cloudy winter light (it was approaching 3pm), a high ISO and ridiculously low exposure of 1/60 - 1/40... grainy images obtained...[...]