Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Out on the north field towards Boulmer Steel this evening had 4 Wheatears including at least 1 Greenland male in fresh plumage. The tide was high and the wind blowing from the NW. Waders included 6 Knot, 4 Bar tailed Godwits and 46+ Turnstones.

Ringers caught a Western Bonelli's Warbler during a Constant Effort session on Hauxley Nature Reserve today. It will be nigh on impossible to see due to the extent of cover being buffeted in this breeze. Pity, it would be a lifer for me, I've only had Eastern Bonelli's at Whitley Bay some years back.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ive been looking at my tern pics below and reckon theres a cock up there. That one I've labelled as a juvvy Common is an Arctic. See, if I'm going to put stuff out for the world to see, I'll need to be more awake!

Bank Holiday Monday.

Only a short visit to Boulmer today with Jane and Bunty. Had a large juv Peregrine chase the waders at Longhoughton Steel then move off north. On the rocks before the tide pushed them off were 300 Curlew, 300 Golden Plover, 100+ Oystercatchers, 2 Grey Plover in summer plumage, 3 Knot, 5 Bar tailed Godwit and a few each Dunlin, Redshank, Turnstone and Ringed Plover.

I hear that there are 2 juvenile Red backed Shrikes at Howick. The White Pelican is still at Cresswell.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Alan Gilbertson took these photos of the White Pelican on Cresswell Pond this afternoon.

Red Bike.

On a moderate westerly wind with clear sky, Julie Roper and Winnie Banks found a nice juv Red backed Shrike in the gorse near Sea Houses Farm, Howick. Unlucky for me, this is just outside my Boulmer patch, but within eyesight of it. The bird was quite flighty and remained in cover for quite long periods. I wonder if it was left over from last weeks fall?

Nearby the highlight at Boulmer was a Curlew Sandpiper and 3 Yellow Wagtails. 2 Lesser White throats were in the golfcourse scrub.

Changing the subject slightly, Andy sent me a message last night telling me that the roaming White Pelican was at East Chevington. As we were nearby at Morwick Ice cream shop we decided to pay it a visit. It was roosting on the middle island, looking like a cross between a spoonbill and an abandoned fridge. It lifted its huge bill out once to yawn ( terrifying a cormorant nearby) before getting back to sleep.

This morning we had it soaring over the south pool at Chevington dwarfing everything else nearby before drifting out of sight towards Hauxley.

Could it be a wild bird? It has apparently been to Holland in May, then Germany, back to Holland, Norfolk, Lancashire and Teesside before ending up here. See the May issue of Birding World for a photo.

I enjoyed it where ever it came from!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A few snaps on a quiet day at Boulmer...
Wheatear digi-binned on overhead wires.
Juvenile Goosander, possibly a male, still in the haven. The other 40 odd seem to have moved on.
Redshanks posing at high tide.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Quite a few Painted Ladies around today but ten times as many silver-Y moths were everywhere.

Not a bad place contd...

Some pics of the hinterland just behind the beach area. No one, and I mean no one goes birding here, probably as it is quite a flat expanse of fields without much cover. These photos were taken at about 10 -11am this morning. Notice the complete absence of human activiy. Still, the fewer visitors the better in my book...
1. Flat farm land, the old aerodrome.
2. The beach at low tide.
3. Scrub behind the caravan site.
4. Seaton Point House.
5. The corner gate next to the small caravan site.

Not a bad place to go birding.

As the birding was quiet today I took a few photos to introduce the patch.
1. The view to Seaton Point.
2. North of Boulmer, Longhoughton Steel.
3. A terriers eye view of Boulmer from the south.
4. Boulmer from the north with Seaton Point behind.
5. Gateway to the beach near the navigation posts.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Of note at Boulmer over the last couple of days were 2 juv Curlew Sandpipers (142), 2 Red throated Divers flew N, the first of the autumn and 2 Bonxies flew north in the afternoon.
Rob had 1+ Little Stint here the other night.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A nice calm, fine evening. A Wryneck was on the pager at Howdiemont sands track at the north end of the patch this afternoon. I walked up from Boulmer with Jane and Bunty but couldn't find it. Of note were 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warblers, 14+ Yellow Wagtails in a flock feeding around cows feet and 10 Grey Partridges. 300 Golden Plovers were out on Boulmer Steel.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

More migrants etc

At Boulmer this morning the weather was dull with a light NW breeze.
Most of the good birds have departed but still managed one or two interesting things. On the shore were 2 Whimbrel, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Bar tailed Godwit, 1 juv Knot, 60+ Ringed Plover and 30+ Dunlin. Elsewhere were 15+ Willow Warblers, 1 Willow Tit, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Whinchat and 2 Wheatears 1 female Merlin, 2 Sparrowhawks a Weasel and a Hare.

I went with Rob to Holy Island to look for the Greenish Warbler but we only had an hour and dipped. Still we did see one or two noteworthy birds in the vicars garden and the Chare Ends. 1 Wryneck, 1 Wood Warbler, 5 Garden Warblers, 9 Willow Warblers, 1 Pied Fly, and a Tree Pipit. A Little Egret was on the causeway.

On the way home we stopped at Monks House Pool and had 1 Spotted Redshank, 10 Ruff and 2 Common Sands. All in all not a bad day. Thanks to whoever took the wryneck pic above ( borrowed from the web). The Peacock and Spotshank are my own.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

First Barblers, now Necks...

This morning started foggy and calm but soon became sunny and clear with a moderate SE breeze.
Rob and myself spent a few hours this morning scouring various Boulmer sites for migrants with some good results I had another brief visit this evening.
We found a nice WRYNECK in the scrub on the roadside at the top of Alnmouth Golf Course. It was chased into a bean field by a Willow Warbler where it perched in the open for a short while. It then flew back to the same cover and was not seen again. Another great patch tick. Several other typical early drift migrants were found on the patch today too. 3 Wheatears, 3 Whinchats, 3 Reed Warblers, 5 Whitethroats, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 3+ Garden Warblers, 5 Willow Warblers and 4+ Pied Flycatchers.

'Also rans' came in the form of 4 Greenshank in one flock on a rock pool, a Merlin and a Great spotted Woodpecker. A dash past falcon was almost certainly a Hobby but not enough detail was seen to be claimed. Damn.

Still there always tomorrow. Patch year list standing at a comfortable 141 now.

Friday, August 18, 2006

It only takes one bird ...

The weather was quite poor. NNE 3, foggy, poor visibility etc. I was hoping for a fall of migrants that might include one or two year ticks or even better. As I was in charge of Bunty this morning 'proper' birding was out of the question so I decided to walk north from Boulmer around the headland to Low Steads and back. This area reminds me a bit of Newbiggin Golf Course and we all know what Jimmy and Stef have turned up on there in recent years so off I set with my mind set firmly on a wryneck.

The area was devoid of birdlife until I reached some nettles on the cliff top at the far end. Here I flushed a bird that I thought could be a wryneck. The size looked good. It flew a good way along the cliff behind me so I set off for a better look. I saw the bird another twice but could not get a handle on it at all due to the fog and brief flight views. Then, a Rock Pipit flew out of the grass onto the beach. Surely not. There's no way I would mistake a Rock Pipit for a wryneck. Then 'my' bird flew again, west, right over the grassed area and I lost it at the stone wall. A short search produced nothing so we restarted our walk as far as the Low Steads Gully and back along the beach. It was suprising how little there was to see.

As I got back to the track just south of the old pumping station I noticed a bird sitting on top of the stone wall. On raising my bins they were steamed solid and I couldn't see a thing. Frantically cleaning my optics with the care and precision they deserve ( using my t-shirt) I could finally nail my target. A great big chunky BARRED WARBLER!Tremendous.

It continued to hop along the wall in a nervous manner for a while before flying 10 yards to the north and landing again. It then flew into the grass field near the burn and dropped out of sight into a large clump of thistles.

An excellent patch tick, the first for Boulmer, number 137 for the year. This weather looks set to continue for a day or two so there may be more good birds yet to be found. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Some odds and ends...

Today was calm, misty and mild. No weather. A short stop at the caravan site corner at 7.30 this morning had a suprise Great spotted Woodpecker juvenile calling as it crept up a telegraph pole. Only my third record here and the first seen 'perched'.
Also 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Whitethroats, 1 Stock Dove and a calling Willow Tit.

A second visit after work to walk Bunty had 1 Great crested Grebe, a patch year tick ( 136) and only my second record here, 1 Sooty Shearwater loafing around offshore, 66 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling, 20+ Dunlin, 1 female Merlin and Whitethroats had increased to 5 birds.

Rob called with news of a Spotted Redshank on Monks House Pool at Seahouses. Now that would be some bird for Boulmer.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tuesday evening

All quiet down at Boulmer. A female Tufted Duck was in the Goosander flock in the haven, an unusual saltwater record and two Willow Warblers were at the campsite gate. The weather forecast looks ok for some passerine movement nearer the weekend.

About time too...

One or two White-rumped Sandpipers have turned up this summer on the east coast so I think Northumberland was a bit overdue, and what better place for one than East Chevington NWT Reserve. Andy sent me a text to say that a nice adult was showing on the North pool. As this was my fourth county White-rump I was not in a major hurry to get there but the bird was kind enough to wait til I'd finished work.
Also here were 3 Greenshanks, 6+Ruff and an unusual juvenile Mediterranean Gull

Monday, August 14, 2006

Waders are back.

The wader numbers are building up on the beach and the rocks this week. Several summer plumaged Grey Plovers and Bar tailed Godwits were with 187 Oystercatchers, 70+ Redshanks, 200 Golden Plover, 33 Turnstone and odds and sods such as Knot, Dunlin, Sanderling and Whimbrel.
2 Swifts flew north this morning and a nice summer plumaged Red necked Grebe was in the Haven.
Oystercatchers and Turnstone above.

One good tern...

Loads of terns feeding offshore included 13 Roseates. Its a pity none of them came to land for a photograph.
Above, Arctic Tern and juv, Common Tern and juv, Sandwich Tern, all on the shore at Boulmer Steel.
I've had three patch year ticks this weekend - Storm petrel, Velvet Scoter and Red necked Grebe plus some reasonable sea watching with Sooty Shearwaters, Bonxies and Arctic Skuas.