Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Back Garden

After a few years of steadily declining House Sparrow numbers there seems to be an upturn in the numbers visiting the back garden. Currently there are about 12-14 regularly feeding on seed on the ground. A rare visitor for me was a male Chaffinch amongst the sparrows.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Druridge Walk

This morning seemed just right for a stroll from Druridge Pools to Dru CP and back.
Dru Pools is nicely flooded again with lots of the usual birds about.
Along the track there were many new water flashes in the fields with large numbers of Curlew and Lapwing making the best of them. Stonechats appear on the bush tops every hundred yards or so, and it was nice to see  a few Twite. The Druridge dunes Goldcrest flock also contained a few Chaffinch.
At E Chev burn outlet there was a strong flow of water turning it into a stream all the way to the sea.
About fifteen Ringed Plover with a few Sanderling were resting beside the burn.
In the NE corner of the East Chev North Pool an otter went about its hunting.
Numerous geese flocks went back and forth and a diver, unable to ident, flew north above sand dune tops
Walking back along the beach small groups of Sanderling scurried in the waters edge.
Back at Dru Pools a Short Eared Owl hunted.
Very nice.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Where's the birds

Have acquired and installed a new set of bird feeders and topped up supplies but the variety of garden birds is poor at present.

 However I can always rely on a pair of Great Tit to put in an appearance

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


This is the first year that I have kept a list of birds seen, prompted by friends asking how many I was likely spot.
This morning I was on 198 so with weather promising much I went to St Mary's Island wetland where there were loads of thrushes in the bushes. When I approached one of the wetland viewpoints a Woodcock (199) burst out of the hedge then provided a nice side on view. A further wander a Seaton Sluice brought more Fieldfare and Redwing and also a tweet re Black Redstart ( not on the list) at Tynemouth Pier.
So along to Tynemouth Pier and in the small triangle area of rocks between the pier and cliff were Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird, Robin, Pipit and finally as I was starting to give up hope, a Black Redstart.

Then there were two in sight, with the rain tipping down.
So that got me to 200 for the year. I know its nowt compared with the pro's totals but I'm quite pleased that its my total.
Later learnt that I had just missed Brambling at both SMI and the Pier.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

PC Bridle path

This afternoon's wander up the Prestwick Carr bridle path was enjoyable.
There were about a dozen Redwing making the best of the Hawthorn berry crop in the area of the old ruin.

A couple of Redpoll were nice to watch and as I neared the second gate  Mistle Thrush, Kestrel and Buzzard were seen

There were good numbers of Blackbird, Coal Tit, Blue Tit and Goldfinch all trying to make themselves scarce.
A single Small Tortoiseshell flew in the sunshine

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Plenty to see

First of all this morning was a wander along cliff top at Newbiggin north bay. Nowt oot the ordinary
but plenty of the regular Pipits, Wagtails, Linnets, Goldfinches and of course Stonechat.

After bowl of soup with a massive cheese scone at The Drift I walked the road from the end of Druridge Pools to Chevington Burn. There were similar sightings but many more Stonechat.
At the Burn a Kingfisher flew upstream and a large flock of Pinkfoot flew over heading north.
Lots of Common Darters were busy outside the Budge hide, while Red Admiral and Speckled Wood made the most of the sunshine.

Monday, 12 October 2015


It was late this afternoon that I saw there had been some Shorelark activity at Blyth south bay adjacent to the Yacht Club. So off I went to locate the bird feeding amongst the blue containers next to the access road. It was not at all put off by a number of vans going past.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Lapland Bunting

Having spent a couple of unsuccessful days pursuing a Lapland Bunting on The Leas, South Shields I was up and out with the news of another at St Mary's Island this morning. After assuming the wrong location I eventually got there and was over the moon to see the bird feeding along the gravel path between the two car parking areas. My camera, or me,  was unable to cope with the poor light so I had a go at creating my own brighter image.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Tried to do the responsible thing this morning and complete the tax form.
Five minutes in and there was the first tweet of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Whitburn. I carried on, needs to be done. Then another tweet, and another.
Thats it I'm off.
Parked up and walking down to the field only to be told it flew off ten minutes earlier.
However on reaching the field the bird dropped back in, and I had my first sighting of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Get in.

Promise I'll be more responsible tomorrow, honest.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Guilty as charged

After Stewart's comments what better way to start to redress the balance of low blog posting rate by restarting with a Red-footed Falcon sighting.
Having missed yesterdays flurry I sprang into action this morning and arrived at Cresswell to see half a dozen cars parked up and the bird on a straw bale. A first for me.

The falcon stayed about thirty minutes alternating between bales and posts, then after a few seconds on the power line took off northwards and out of sight.
A quick visit to the Ponteland Hide at Hauxley produced only a Common Sandpiper and five Redshanks, one of which just avoided being snatched by a Stoat.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Photo Comp

Now that I know that this is Sam  Hood's winning photo, displayed at Logan Botanic Gardens I thought I'd show it here. Sorry about spotlight reflections.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Mull of Galloway

Just back from a few days camping in Portpatrick. Wanted to renew some old friendships with people and places, and was fortunate to get five days of sunshine.
Had a nice mixture of a wide range of wildlife sightings including Arctic Skua, Manx Shearwater, Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher, Raven, Otter, Red Squirrel, Dolphin, Painted Lady and Grayling.
The Spotted Flycatchers were a delight to watch and I spent an hour in Logan House gardens watching at least ten as they dropped from branches to pick insects from the lawns below. At one time I could see five at the same time.
The Manx Shearwaters were nice to see from Corsewall Point with a SW breeze pushing them closer.
It was just off the point that an otter went by and Dolphins were seen on a couple of days.
I camped at Castle Bay site with Dunskey Castle on the cliff tops which was the haunt of Ravens.
I was surprised at the number of Grayling Butterflies on the cliff top heathers along with  well worn Painted Lady.
Wildlife was easier to spot than WiFi spots. On one search, I was advised Bangor was one of the nearest.
On a visit to Logan Botanic gardens I viewed a  wildlife photography  display where one of the winners was Sam Hood, and I wondered if that was "our Sam" from over here?

Monday, 18 May 2015

Cresswell Pond

Wood Sandpiper and Dunlin at north end of Cresswell Pond today

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Canny Day

This mornings trip to Fontburn brought some good views of Pied and Spotted Flycatchers as well as Treecreeper and Redpoll.

Then after a pit stop back home I was out again to see the Boldon Flats, Temmincks Stint.
Back through the tunnel and up to East Chevington to watch a Spoonbill, then on way home there was Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, three Barn Owls, one Short eared Owl at Druridge Pools.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


A trip to Newton scrapes this afternoon was well worth it. Despite the manic wind, it was pleasing to see Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectorial Sandpiper, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper.

Then North to Long Nanny where Arctic, Little and Sandwich Terns were on show

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Little Gull

Managed to see the Little Gull at Ladyburn Lake, Druridge Country Park at my second attempt and show a comparison with BH Gull in foreground

There seemed like hundreds of hirundines feeding over the water. Have never seen as many.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

American Wigeon

After seeing the early morning tweet that the bird had appeared at St. Mary's Island wetland I hot footed it out of the house and duly saw the American Wigeon.

I was then tipped off that there was a large pod of Dolphins making their way south past the island.
While I have seen the one or two Dolphins before I was taken aback by the numbers involved this
 morning. A brilliant scene.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


A cracking morning for a mission to see Pied Flycatcher turned out well.

As well as the target species I spotted, Green Woodpecker, Blackcap, Redstart, and Nuthatch in the woods.
Travelling onward provided good views of a pair of Dipper, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, Red Grouse, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew, Wheatear.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Prestwick Carr

While I stood quite still, like Ray Mears, this character came bounding up quite close, then spotted me, stopped, and didn't seem to be bothered one way or another before sloping off.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Whittle Dene Redstart

This mornings visit to Whittle Dene did not produce any Yellow Wagtail but I was not to be disappointed.
First up was a male and female Redstart.
The pics are rubbish but its my Redstart rubbish.

There were good numbers of birds about including, Tree Sparrow, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, 
Mistle Thrush, Wheatear, Yellow Hammer, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron and GS Woodpecker

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Big Waters Garganey

Following a blank visit the previous afternoon I returned to Big Waters yesterday in an attempt to see the Gargeney pair.
The usual greeting of 'the have gone into those reeds beside the small hide' was not encouraging however I settled in.
After well over an hour and seeing Buzzards, Pochard, Sand Martin, Common Sandpiper but no Gargeney, I started to get itchy feet
I was advised to check from the small hide on my way back, which I entered and as I took a seat there were the pair right in front of me.

Monday, 13 April 2015

South Shields Wheatears

This morning I was south of the Tyne and so took the opportunity to see if the recently reported Wheatears were still at the start of the pier at South Shields. Before I reached the pier proper, I met Doug @Jarrowbirders  watching 4 Wheatears on a small bit of fenced off derelict land.

We parted company and I went a little further along the pier adjacent to where the beach ends, and I saw at least another four colourful individuals

I later heard that Doug had gone 2 or 3 miles south to Jackies beach and found a further six there

Saturday, 11 April 2015

East Chevington

Thanks to Targa159, from twittersphere, who pointed me in the right direction, I was pleased to be able to see my first Great White Egret on the west shore of the North pool this morning.

I wandered down onto the beach and the waters edge provided nice views of a Great Crested Grebe and three or four Red throated Divers one of which was well on its way to summer plumage

Swallows and Sandwich Terns completed a nice group of sightings

Monday, 6 April 2015

Woodland sightings

A walk along south side of Sweethope Lough brought views of Redpoll and Chiffchaffs with Buzzards over. Later a short walk in Harwood similarly Redpoll, Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk, Buzzards, Linnet, GS Woodpecker.

Also saw a dozen Peacock butterfly

Friday, 20 March 2015

Spetchells, Prudhoe

A walk along the river bank this morning produced some nice sightings of Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Dipper and two Grey Wagtail.
Four Small Tortoiseshell were on the wing on the Spetchells

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


A walk onto Weetslade provided a cracking view of Yellowhammer

and looking fit to burst, heading toward a pond

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


Just a few splashes of colour today on a dull day.