Saturday, September 30, 2006

Another Indian Summer day. Sunny, warm, clear with a light S1 breeze.

I walked Bunty from the village along the front to Seaton Point and back. Of note were 1 male Wheatear, 1 Swallow, 1 Stock Dove, 51 and 58 Pink footed Geese flew S ( Rob had 400 during the day), 1 Red throated Diver S.

Strangest of all though was a full patch tick for me. A Red-legged Partridge was with a covey of 9 Greys in a harrowed field near the marker posts.(148) It may not be as good as some wind borne stray, but they all count so I'm having it!

Friday, September 29, 2006

No sign of any Yellow broweds this morning. Rob had one yesterday at the top of the golfcourse in the wryneck bushes. I think this is the bird he found at the weekend overthere and is probably doing a circuit of the area. This is a good way from the bird I had at Bowmere, so I think it is safe to assume there have been two individuals.

Today the weather is warm and sunny with a clear sky. The wind is very light SSE. I checked the north end, seaton point and the golfcourse bushes. All were very quiet. At the north end, 40+ Skylarks and 4 Reed Buntings were in the stubble as was a fully albino crow. It looked like a little egret in flight and was mobbed by its own kind. Do you think I should put it on the year list as an albino Hooded ! Also 15 and 10 Pink feet flew south and 1 Sandwich Tern was offshore.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Yellow browed Warbler was still at Bowmere this morning along with Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. 1 Lesser Redpoll flew N overhead.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Some more September patch ticks.

Today started off fine calm and clear. I had five minutes on my way to work this morning and checked the bushes on the edge of the golfcourse. The main reason for this is that the area is easily checked from the hard road surface so feet stay dry.
There were no birds in the bushes but overhead were 2 Lesser Redpolls S (145) and 1 Siskin N.

This afternoon had some rain and fog so I got home from work earlier than expected tonight and headed to Seaton Point to see if the Spotted Flycatcher, found earlier today by Rob, was still around. Luckily it was, a juvenile showing some cream spotting on the scapulars. It perched on a barbed wire fence at Seaton Point house for ten minutes or more, until I left it.(146) Pity I didnt take the camera, shots would have been a doddle. Its amazing what you see when you haven't got your they say. A Grey Wagtail flew N here, calling.

I was on my way back home at 6.00pm and decided to check the row of trees on the edge of the housing estate. It is easy from the car. I was suprised to see a few birds flickering in and out of the whitebeam and sycamore cover so pulled up for a better look.
First bird seen well was a nice Yellow browed Warbler. It was remakably slow and sedate for this species and did not call at first, just looking down only a few yards away. It soon perked up and began feeding along the line of trees and into nearby gardens, calling softly 'cheewit' several times.
The two good wing bars with black shadow could be easily seen as could the long yellowish supercillium. A small squat phyllosc, even its head profile was recognisable. I was very pleased with it after Rob had one yesterday down at Alnmouth Golfcourse. (147)
Kepping the Yellow brow company were 1 'acredula'type Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff.

A single Red throated Diver was on the sea off Seaton Point, 5 Common Scoter flew N and a single Razorbill was close inshore.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

September Patch Ticks.

The weather today was mostly too rough for birding with heavy rain and fog most of the day. In the occasional drier spells I was glad to get back down to Boulmer after a weeks absence.

At the north end this morning Rob and myself got a good soaking looking for a flushed passerine that we feel was a juv Red backed Shrike, though we didnt manage to relocate it. Rob later found a Yellow browed Warbler just outside my boundary at Alnmouth Golf Course.

In the afternoon a good search of the front, seaton point and the caravan site wood yielded 1 Tree Pipit showing well on fence posts (143), 1 Blackcap, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Whitethroat, 20+ Robins, 100+ Goldfinch and 4 juv Ruff in the field south of the caravan site with curlews (144).

Elsewhere 1 Red throated Diver flew south and a Grey Plover was on the beach.

After a dismal month on the patch, its nice to get a couple of new birds at last.

Some birds at last.

During the week I visited Cley East Bank, Kelling Water Meadow and Salthouse Little Eye quite regularly. The highlights were 26 Little Stints in one flock, 6 Spotted Redshanks, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Greenshanks, 200 Black tailed Godwits, 3+ Arctic Skuas, 1 Juv Red backed Shrike, 55+ Pintail, sev Avocets, up to 7 Marsh Harriers together, 1 male Bearded Tit and 4+ singing Cetti's Warblers (all unseen despite hours trying).

Give it some Gyp.

While it was quiet for birding I thought, why not get some pics of Egyptian Goose...These were viewed from the East Bank, Cley. I wonder what Richard Richardson made of them? Maybe there weren't any in his day.

Is this your car?

We parked in the car park of the Manor Hotel in Blakeney. As I got out of the car I noticed this huge Convolvulous Hawk Moth resting on the alloy wheel! We decided that it would be better off put somewhere a bit more sheltered than is current choice of roost and moved it to a nearby hedge.

I'm not sure how common they are in Norfolk. I've seen one in Northumberland ( in my garden at Stobswood ) and in the moth trap at Portland Bird Obs. They are quite impressive. You couldn't eat a whole one!

Some Norfolk stuff...

We had a very pleasant week in Norfolk, staying in Cley and touring some of the local lanes, villages and coastal spots.

The hedgerows here were laden with fruits and things of interest. Brambles, sloes, rosehips and hops all decorated on the lane sides along with the seeding heads of clematis or old man's beard. Crickets chirruped away unseen, but butterflies and dragonflies were much more active. Of the former we had Painted Lady, Comma, Red Admiral and Peacock, Small Copper and Speckled Wood. The 'dragons' were more of a challenge as they darted around hardly giving time to see the details to identify them. I was pleased to get good views of Migrant Hawkers, new to me, and Common Darters in many locations.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Just a short note today before I'm off to Norfolk for the week. I hope the high pressure stays for a bit longer so I dont miss anything up here!

A short wander around the Seaton Point today had 2 Goldcrests, the first of the autumn here, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Stonechats, 3 Grey Wagtails, 20 - 30 Swallows, 4 Red throated Divers S, 2 female Sparrowhawks, 5 Common Terns and 1 Sandwich Tern . A few Meadow Pipits and Skylarks could be heard moving overhead.

Yesterday on the beach were 240 Dunlin and 2+ Curlew Sandpipers, 1 Knot and 1 Sanderling. Quite an increase in Dunlin over recent weeks.

Oh well, thats it for now. Back later with tales of Norfolk mega's...( I wish.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The nights closing in mean little time for birding after work now. The summery weather continues, in Blyth today plenty of butterflies on the wing with 1 Painted Lady, 2 Red Admirals and a Small Tortoiseshell on one buddleia bush in the town centre.

Looking forward to a week in Norfolk from Saturday.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Since the excitement of the Bonaparte's Gull there has not been much to write about. Over the weekend highlights were a seawatch on Friday 8th Sept where I had 2 Bonxies, 1 Arctic Skua, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 11 Manx Shearwaters and 16 Bar tailed Godwits.

On Saturday 9th Sept the tides were the biggest of the year, leaving Boulmer Haven all but dried out at its lowest point. On the beach were 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 25+ Dunlin, 2 Knot and 1 Whimbrel. An after noon seawatch at high tide had 8 each Wigeon and Teal flew N in one flock, later a flock of 48 Teal went North, 10 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Arctic Skuas, 1 Red throated Diver flew South.

On Sunday 10th Sept the patch was very quiet dispite covering most of it. Of note were 1+ Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 41 Meadow Pipits-S, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 13 Pied Wagtails flew from their roost on board one of the floating fishing boats in the haven, Robins seem to be back with a vengeance with at least 18 birds present, 2prs Stonechat, 1 Whitethroat, a flock of 35+ Goldfiches and 50+ Linnets together and, best of all the first 16 Pale bellied Brent Geese of the autumn flew North.

Late morning on Sunday I popped down to Alnmouth south dunes to see what JWR was up to. On his patch we had 1 Great nothern Diver N ( probably, it was quite distant and high ), 1 Whinchat, 1 Whitethroat, 5+ Common Terns and 2+ Sandwich Terns. There was a steady south passage of Swallows and House Martins all morning.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Boney G.

Last night ( 4th) Tim Dean called home to say that there was a Bonaparte's Gull at Chevington North Pool. Originally found by Trevor Blake at lunchtime, the bird had vanished until 4pm when Tim and friends relocated it and got the word out.

A true mega in Northumberland, this bird was sure to attract some attention. It was only the third record in the county, the last being several years ago on Cresswell Pond / Cresswell Skeer.

I arrived at Chevington just about ten minutes too late as the bird had flown south and was being looked for. I was quite sure that this was the last of it for the night and that it surely had gone to roost, but 'lucky' Les Robson and Graeme Bowman refound it on, of all places, Cresswell Skeer behind Cresswell Ices in the village. This is the exact spot where the last Northumberland Boney had spent most of its time in 1998, almost to the day.

We all dashed off in convoy from Chevington and had reasonable views of the bird out in a rock pool with a couple of hundred other larids. It was an adult in almost full breeding plumage with only a few white speckles in the black hood.It preened and roosted until the last of the light made it too difficult to pick out.

Unfortunately, it could not be relocated today. Thanks to Tim Dean for the photos above.

Also of note, a juv Spotted Redshank was at Chevington South Pool this evening.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

More rain.

I tried a seawatch at 6.30am but the rain was too heavy even to view from the car window until 8.00am. The wind had swung around and was genarally variable from the SE-SW.
Of note were 3 Sooty Shearwaters distantly, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Arctic Skuas, 1 Bonxie and 1 fw Mediterranean Gull all north. The Med Gull was different to yesterdays bird in that it had the usual ear covert type mask. At the Low Steads a good flock of Goldfinches numbered about 80 birds.

At 5.30pm I took another look towards Seaton Point. This Stonechat showed well on the main track and was a fully moulted bird of the year. There was little else of note other than 2 Whitethroats at the top of the golf course.

At 9.30am I took a trip to East Chevington to meet Nigel,Andy and everyone to see what was about. It was quite good here even though I dipped out on the two Spotted Redshanks on the south pool, I had 2 Greenshanks, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 7+ Ruff, 3 Black tailed Godwits, 1 Garganey, 7 Pintail and an immature male Marsh Harrier. The White Pelican made an appearance by flying NW over the south pool towards Felton, about 3 miles away, then back towards Cresswell.

This evening at 8pm a Barn Owl flew over the road at the south end of Longhoughton.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Solid Lash.

This picture was taken by a friend of Jimmy Steele in Turkey this year. Pelicans are tame over there too apparently. Still no answer from anyone as to why the bird that has toured Europe and is now in Northumberland is not a wild individual.

The weather today was very poor. It started raining at 10.15am and stopped at 6.30pm. The wind was calm early on then light NW in the evening.

On two walks around Boulmer ( North end and Seaton Point) with Bunty today I had - 1 fw Mediterranean Gull in quite unusual plumage. It had a fully white head and an almost black bill except from the tiniest pale patch at the base of the lower mandible. 16 Grey Plovers, 10 Bar tailed Godwits, 1 Bonxie N, 1 Arctic Skua N, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Wheatear, 1 Willow Warbler and 40 Goldfinches feeding on seeding ragwort.

It may be worth a seawatch early tomorrow as there were loads of Kittiwakes and Gannets moving but the passage soon dried up after about 6.45pm. It may start again in the morning.

Flagging year list still waiting the likes of Canada Goose ( probably too late in the year now), Spotted Fly (time is running out) and Black tailed Godwit ( still hoping...)