Sunday, December 31, 2006

Some Redshank pics.

Nice light....

Flukey flight shots!

Above - some flight shots of waders taken yesterday. Bar tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Not easy to digi-scope hence the title...

No sign of the Glaucous Gull this morning. Most of the large gulls having moved on elsewhere. Two imm male Scaup were with Tufted Duck on the quarry and a Willow Tit called nearby.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Fat Lady Sings...

Top three - First winter Glaucous Gull with other large gulls.
Bottom - Glauc twitch, Boulmer style. Note - Sheena the Alsatian not too concerned even though it was a lifer!

Just when you think you have exhausted your year listing options, something just pops up. As the weather was nice and bright and clear today, I thought I would try and get some blog snaps of the waders on Boulmer beach at high tide. After an hour or so I was chatting to Rob about the chances of another year tick when I noticed this huge Glaucous Gull (158) feeding in with 50+ Herring Gulls just offshore. They have been very scarce in recent years in the county so this one attracted one or two visitors who needed it for their year lists.
The photos are a bit iffy due to the distance involved but they aren't too bad. I got some nice wader shots too, so they will follow soon.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A strong stormy S gale today, heavily overcast with odd spots of rain later.

JWR and myself did my Winter Plover Survey today. We also counted all waders along shoreline from Seaton Point to Low Steads with some excellent results.

We had 159 Oystercatchers, 54 Ringed Plover, 223 Golden Plover, a massive 76 Grey Plover, 79 Lapwing, 70+ Dunlin, 90 Sanderling, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 37 Knot, 27 Bar tailed Godwit, 100+ Curlew, 50+ Redshank and 83+ Turnstone. A few ducks were around too with 11 Teal, 59 Wigeon, 45 Mallard, 30+ Eider, 16 Goldeneye and 1 male Red breasted Merganser. 1 Sparrowhawk was hunting, 1 Fieldfare flew south. It appeared to be newly arrived but couldnt say for sure. It stayed low and landed on a fence once before moving on. 1 Grey Wagtail was on the beach and a single imm Gannet flew north.

No photos today as the light was rubbish, one of those days where it is always dusk.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Boulmer List 2006

Boulmer List 2006

1. Mute Swan Cygnus olor
2. Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
3. Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus
4. Greylag Goose Anser anser
5. Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis
6. Brent Goose (Dark-bellied) Branta bernicla bernicla
7. Brent Goose (Pale-bellied) Branta bernicla hrota
8. Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
9. Wigeon Anas penelope
10. Gadwall Anas strepera
11. Teal Anas crecca
12. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
13. Shoveler Anas clypeata
14. Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
15. Scaup Aythya marila
16. Eider Somateria mollissima
17. Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
18. Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
19. Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca
20. Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
21. Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
22. Goosander Mergus merganser
23. Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
24. Partridge (Grey) Perdix perdix
25. Quail Coturnix coturnix
26. Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
27. Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata
28. Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
29. Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
30. Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus
31. Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
32. Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
33. Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus
34. Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
35. Gannet Sula bassana
36. Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
37. Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis
38. Little Egret Egretta garzetta
39. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
40. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
41. Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
42. Buzzard Buteo buteo
43. Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
44. Merlin Falco columbarius
45. Peregrine Falco peregrinus
46. Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
47. Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
48. Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
49. Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
50. Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
51. Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
52. Knot Calidris canutus
53. Sanderling Calidris alba
54. Little Stint Calidris minuta
55. Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
56. Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima
57. Dunlin Calidris alpina
58. Ruff Philomachus pugnax
59. Snipe Gallinago gallinago
60. Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
61. Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
62. Curlew Numenius arquata
63. Redshank Tringa totanus
64. Greenshank Tringa nebularia
65. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
66. Turnstone Arenaria interpres
67. Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
68. Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus
69. Great Skua Stercorarius skua
70. Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus
71. Little Gull Larus minutus
72. Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
73. Common Gull Larus canus
74. Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
75. Herring Gull (subsp unknown) Larus argentatus
76. Yellow-legged Gull (Western) Larus argentatus michahellis
77. Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
78. Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
79. Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
80. Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii
81. Common Tern Sterna hirundo
82. Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
83. Little Tern Sterna albifrons
84. Guillemot Uria aalge
85. Razorbill Alca torda
86. Little Auk Alle alle
87. Puffin Fratercula arctica
88. Stock Dove Columba oenas
89. Woodpigeon Columba palumbus
90. Feral Pigeon Columba livia
91. Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
92. Little Owl Athene noctua
93. Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
94. Swift Apus apus
95. Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
96. Wryneck Jynx torquilla
97. Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
98. Skylark Alauda arvensis
99. Sand Martin Riparia riparia
100. Swallow Hirundo rustica
101. House Martin Delichon urbicum
102. Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
103. Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
104. Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus
105. Yellow Wagtail (flavissima) Motacilla flava flavissima
106. Yellow Wagtail (Blue-headed) Motacilla flava flava
107. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
108. Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) Motacilla alba yarrellii
109. White Wagtail (alba) Motacilla alba alba
110. Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
111. Dunnock Prunella modularis
112. Robin Erithacus rubecula
113. Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
114. Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
115. Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
116. Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
117. Blackbird Turdus merula
118. Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
119. Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
120. Redwing Turdus iliacus
121. Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
122. Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
123. Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
124. Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
125. Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
126. Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
127. Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria
128. Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
129. Whitethroat Sylvia communis
130. Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
131. Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
132. Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
133. Goldcrest Regulus regulus
134. Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
135. Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
136. Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
137. Willow Tit Parus montanus
138. Coal Tit Parus ater
139. Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
140. Great Tit Parus major
141. Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
142. Magpie Pica pica
143. Jackdaw Corvus monedula
144. Rook Corvus frugilegus
145. Carrion Crow Corvus corone
146. Starling Sturnus vulgaris
147. House Sparrow Passer domesticus
148. Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
149. Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
150. Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
151. Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
152. Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
153. Siskin Carduelis spinus
154. Linnet Carduelis cannabina
155. Twite Carduelis flavirostris
156. Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret
157. Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
158. Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
159. Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
160. Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra

Total Species: 157 Forms: 160

Omissions to my list include Woodcock, Black tailed Godwit, Bewicks Swan, Richardsons Canada Goose, Balearic Shearwater, Redstart and Shorelark. All of the above have been seen on the patch this year ( mostly by Rob!)
There have beeen a couple of 'hoodwinks' - a Richards Pipit that flew miles away before I could get a second chance and a Water Pipit that did the same. Oh well, these things are sent to try us, better luck next time.
So, not a bad year, particularly since the pond didnt reappear this year...
Who knows what 2007 will bring.
Hope everyone had a good Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Xmas Card.

Many thanks to Alan Gilbertson for sending me this festive just had to be 'recycled' to send to everyone out there. Apparently its Loch Lomond in the background. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

While most of the country has been clothed in a shroud of fog, up here in north Northumberland the weather has been glorious. The past couple of days have been clear and sunny, sometimes frosty, and the sea has been mirror calm. Until today. I intended to catch up with some survey work but the fog has finally arrived leaving visibility too poor to see anything. Oh well.

This week some short Boulmer visits have produced some reasonable wader numbers - 94 Oystercatchers, 70+ Dunlin, 50+ Sanderling, 5 Purple Sandpipers, 14 Bar tailed Godwits, 17 Knot, 56+ Redshank, 77+ Turnstone and 20+ Grey Plover. Duck numbers are up too with 5 Shelduck, 41 Mallard, 41 Wigeon, 9 Red breasted Mergansers and 15 Goldeneye. 5 Pale bellied Brent Geese flew north and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew inland.

The Little Egret has been around on and off all week and someone reported two Black throated Divers yesterday. I could do with those, I haven't seen one here since I moved up here 18 months ago. They are by far the rarest of the divers in the area and would definately be twitched!

Of the passerines ( what there were, anyway ), 4 + Rock Pipits were on the beach.

Just out of patch area, a Barn Owl was at Ratcheugh, hunting the roadside near the Alnwick road.

So, a Merry Christmas to everyone, cheers!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Little Egret

Rob found this Little Egret on rocks just north of Boulmer village this morning. It was quite flighty and soon flew off to the north, hence the quality flight shot at the bottom! It would make a good one for a 'mystery bird' competition though. The bird was the second record here, but our first and is 158 for the year. Just when I had given up hope of anything new.

Also around this weekend, 15 Pale bellied Brent Geese flew N, 42 Wigeon, 20 Mallard, 4 Shelduck, 6+ Goldeneye, 3 Red breasted Merganser, 1 Red throated Diver, 46 Grey Plover was a good count, 35+ Dunlin, 9 Knot, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 100 Curlew, 13+ Bar tailed Godwit and 35+ Turnstone. Rob had a Mediterranean Gull, either an adult or second winter off Seaton Point this afternoon.
One Snow Bunting flew south and 2 Grey Wagtails were in the area.

Last night, when travelling to and from Morpeth, Barn Owls were seen in vehicle headlights at Causey Park on the A1 and near Eshott.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Where are the waxwings?

Above - Waxwing at Nethybridge, Highlands, March 2006.

Not much to write about at the minute as I'm too busy doing stuff like working and xmas shopping etc to get out birding. And the weather is hopeless.

In recent winters, the pager has been full of waxwings here and there. Sometimes its a bit of a task looking beyond them for other birds, but not this winter. It seems as if this could be the mildest on record with westerly and south westerlies now for months on end. I suppose that the waxwings have stayed put on the continent keeping all of those Pine Grosbeaks company that we had heard about in the autumn...

I see that the west coast is having a very late glut of Leaches Petrels, with many being found storm driven at inland sites or moribund in gardens and car parks. Maybe if the wind swings suddenly to the NE, then we would get some! Its not looking likely though.

At Boulmer during dog walks were - 5+ Bar tailed Godwits, 15+ Oystercatchers, 2+ Grey Plovers, 25 Sanderling, 15 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, 1 Shelduck, 80 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Grey Wagtail, and 21 Collared Doves. Another 16 Collared Doves were in Longhoughton.

A look aroung the wooded pond at nearby Howick Gardens the other afternoon just before dusk produced 3 Marsh Tits, 11+ Long tailed Tits, 2+ Goldcrests, 2 Great spotted Woodpeckers, a Wagtail roost consisting of 30+ Pieds and 2 Greys, 1 Little Grebe, 50 Greylags S, 4 Moorhens, 1 Heron and 5 Mute Swans.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Only short visits to Seaton Point yesterday and today. Today the weather was very rough, SW gale 8 with heavy squally showers and one sunny spell mid morning.

The weather was too poor for proper birding but the following were noted, 1 Merlin, 2 Stonechat, 14 Wigeon, 6 Red breasted Merganser and a storm washed Guillemot was standing on the tideline.

At the quarry, 45 Tufted Duck, 1 male 2 female Scaup, 1 Coot, 2 Buzzard low overhead and 2 Redwings. Several people fishing were disturbing the wildfowl.

Friday 1st December again...

Top - Whooper and Mute Swans.
Bottom two - Teal.

Friday 1st December contd...

Top two - Aln Estuary, Alnmouth.
Bottom two - Aln Estuary, Foxton.

Decided to check out the Foxton, Alnmouth area for a change. Only a couple of miles south of Boulmer, it gets even fewer birders. The estuary is under going some flood restoration work, creating some small pools and saltmarsh. A short distance up river at Foxton, the wide meanders hold quite a lot of wildfowl.

Present today were 206+ Wigeon, 300+ Teal, 1 Red breasted Merganser, 1 Goldeneye, a nice drake, 12+ Mallard, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Shelduck, 5 Whooper Swans, 51+ Curlew and a female Sparrowhawk.
In Alnmouth 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Mistle Thrush, 15 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 2 Grey Partridge and 1 male Kestrel ( photos below).

Friday 1st December 2006

Today was Fine and sunny, mild with a light SW3.

At Boulmer, I decided to check the farmland and old runways ( Boulmer used to be a WWII decoy aerodrome to lure enemy bombers away from nearby Acklington air base). The farmer here has recently signed up to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme so hopefully the habitats will improve in years to come.

I had 1 Buzzard, 9 Grey Partridges, 12+ Yellowhammers, 2-3 Reed Buntings, 2 Redpolls flew over S, 50+ Lapwings flew N and 2 Roe Deer and 2 Brown Hares fed in the fields.

On the shore were 11 Sanderling, 21 Dunlin, 7 Bar tailed Godwits, 1 Rock Pipit and 1 male Red breasted Merganser flew N.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I was pleased when this male Kestrel hovered in the same spot for a few minutes allowing me time to set my gear up to get these photos. The bird is hovering along the road between Hipsburn and Alnmouth.