Sunday, September 30, 2007

While the winds from the NE dropped some good birds onto the east coast, I was on family business in the NW and the midlands ( I even drove past the Green Withens Junction on the M62 and dropped a Sabs Gull off for Darrell. I wonder if he saw it :-))on Saturday and today. I wonder what went unrecorded at Boulmer...

I'll give it a grilling tommorrow, no doubt too late.

Elsewhere in Northumberland, Holy Island had Barred and YB Warblers and RB Fly, Farnes had Bluethroat and RB Fly, Druridge had RB Fly, Newbiggin had Blyth's Reed and YB Warbler, St Mary's had YB Warbler and Barred Warbler. Can you see a theme running through here? The whole lot will have buggered off by tomorrow.

Friday 27th September 2007

Sorry for the delay... I popped in at Boulmer at 8am for half an hour, thinking that after the recent excitement at sea, the falling winds would have quietened things off a bit. How wrong could I be. I parked the car and glanced east to find the sea alive with birds all moving north. This time there were hoards of Kittiwakes and a few Fulmars to accompany the ever present Gannets, these birds have been notable by their absence in recent days. As there had been good numbers of Sabine's Gulls further south, the increase in Kitti's gave me hope that it was now or never! After 15 minutes of studying various juvvy and fw Kitti's a small band of 3 or 4 flew north and in their midst a cracking juvenile Sabine's Gull! A full patch tick nonetheless. This bird hugged the line of breakers with the larger Kittiwakes as it progressed steadily northwards. Its distinctive tri-tone upperparts were so much different to the Kitti's, being more brown in tone and the mantle could even be seen to have a scalloped patterning. Absolutely fantastic. As if that wasn't enough,at 8.30am, a second Sabine's moved through a few yards further out but almost as good as if to confirm my first bird. What a relief not to have completely missed out on the best birds... Also rans... Manx Shearwater 3 Sooty Shearwater 19 Velvet Scoter 1 Common Scoter 50 Wigeon 50 Arctic Tern 1 Long tailed Skua 1 juv Puffin 5 Teal 5 Scaup 1 Arctic Skua 1 Pale bellied Brent 6. At Longhoughton, my first Redwing of the autumn flew from the trees surrounding the Spar shop. Once again, whilst I was very pleased with the mornings events at Boulmer, Newbiggin had 7 Sabine's Gulls, 6 Grey Phalaropes, 3 Divers, 4 Skuas etc... I popped in at lunchtime and managed 4 Little Gulls, 2 Bonxies, 1 Arctic Skua, 5 Velvet Scoter, 4 Red throated Diver, 20 Common Scoter and 40 Wigeon. My Boulmer Year List 138. Sabine's Gull. Boulmer Total 207. My Boulmer List 185. Sabines is only the second proper patch tick this year after Green Woodpecker. What's next?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yes, you guessed it...


What a year this has been for seawatching. Last year was appalling with only about two or three days between July and October that were any good, this year its relentless.

As usual, sticking to my priorities, Boulmer first. Strong N6, overcast, cold. Two visits totalling 2hrs had -
Again, all north unless stated.

Wigeon 102
Teal 3
Common Scoter 52
Velvet Scoter 3
Dark bellied Brent 6
Pale bellied Brent 8
Red breasted Merganser 3
Red throated Diver 3
Sooty Shearwater 25
Manx Shearwater 6
Bonxie 2
Arctic Skua 1 S
Long tailed Skua 3 juvs, one very close in loitering off the village for ten minutes.
Arctic Tern 3
Sandwich Tern 4
Knot 8.

I managed a short visit to Newbiggin for 50 minutes this morning. Now, thats a different class of seawatching, no wonder there was a line of about 8 people staked out. Birds, mainly wildfowl, were flooding past in good numbers very close in. A flock of 40 Brents came over our heads! Some strange banter was heard amongst the observers...
Cries of "There's a zillion ducks coming through..." and "There's a multitude of scoters..." from ADMc ( How many noughts does a multitude have?, and what does a zillion + a multitude equal? )Then Mr Cleeves commenting that " I've got the gulars!" when discussing some cormorants resulted in someone falling off their stool.

Anyway, back to the totals. Compare this 'hour' to Boulmer's two.

Wigeon 154
Pintail 1
Scaup 6
Dark bellied Brent 4
Pale bellied Brent 49
Teal 39
Goldeneye 2
Red breasted Merganser 2
Common Scoter 152+
Velvet Scoter 5
Great Northern Diver 1
Red throated Diver 2
Little Gull 1
Sooty Shearwater 4
Manx Shearwater 2
Pomarine Skua 1 juv very close in.
Long tailed Skua 1 juv
Sabine's Gull 1 juv watched well for 20 minutes dip feeding offshore. At one point the Long tailed Skua harried it before the gull briefly retaliated! An excellent size comparison.

Not a bad hour... the final days total from the combined observers must have been something special.

PS There will be no further updates till Monday...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Strong NNW 7, squally showers some sun. Cold.

Seawatching conditions again after a short lull. Today I spent a total of 2 hours at Boulmer and about 45 minutes at Newbiggin ( you know, that place where everyone seawatches. Need not dwell on it here!).

Totals from Boulmer -
All moving North unless otherwise indicated.

Pale bellied Brent 16
Wigeon 49
Teal 1
Scaup 2
Velvet Scoter 3
Red breasted Merganser 1
Red throated Diver 1
Black throated Diver 3
(Came through all together at about 200 yds range. Possibly a family party, 1 adult in full breeding plumage, seen so close that the black and white chequered pattern on upperside could be clearly seen, contrasting with the grey head and black throat. Large size with a distinctive cruciform shape in flight, as long behind as in front, due to the feet sticking out. The other two were juveniles. One of the absolute highlights of the autumn so far for me.)
Red necked Grebe 1 S
Sooty Shearwater 71
Manx Shearwater 6
Balearic Shearwater 1 ( Glimpsed a bird that was probably this species but it was lost into the waves after only two brief views.)
Sandwich Tern 1
Arctic Tern 1
Arctic Skua 1 S
Small Skua sp 1 S at considerable distance may have been long tailed?

While watching, the adult Peregrine showed well along the shore flushing waders.

I suppose I better add the stuff seen from 'the other place'...jealousy showing through there...because they had another two Great Shearwaters after I left. Wouldn't you think they'd let me have one.

While I was there we had 30 Sooty Shearwaters, 1 Manx, 1 2nd W Mediterranean Gull and a nice juvenile Peregrine showing very well off the point.

137. Red necked Grebe.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Patch List Update.

Out of interest I decided to go through my Boulmer year list to see if there were any errors. I found that Brent Goose had been ticked twice ( 88 and 132) and I had missed off Goldeneye and Turnstone! So when I remove one and add two that leaves the new total at a pityful 136. Missing expected birds by now are, for example, - 3sp Grebe, 3 Ducks, SEOwl, a few warblers and 2 flycatchers. Plenty to keep me looking really...

Today out with Bunty at dawn down the road to Low Steads had 150 Pink footed Geese S, 200 Starlings and a Buzzard mewing. A Brown Hare was crossing a harrowed field.

Now the forecast looks very good for Friday for some migrants. Easterlies from Russia...not that I'll be getting any, I'm off to Manchester and Liecester this weekend. Please leave me some for Monday...

Monday, September 24, 2007


Rain steady and quite heavy in the morning, fine for about three hours at lunchtime then more rain.

Weather put the kybosh on birding today. Out twice to Boulmer with Bunty ( only short jaunts as she gets quite angry when wet. Its a bit of an ordeal drying her back home).

250+ Golden Plover on new plough were checked for Buff breasts, Pecs and Dominica's with no result. The autumn's first Rock Pipit was on the cliffs along with 3 Robins.

I forgot to mention, yesterday tea time a Merlin was hunting over the village, just as I have been whinging how they have been in short supply this autumn ( they are a 'day bird' here most years).

On my way to Morpeth today I was approaching Denwick when I noticed a Kestrel lying on the roadside looking worse for wear. I assumed that it had been a road casualty so went back to see if I could help. As I pulled up next to it I could see an open wound above its bill. I climbed out and approached the bird and was suprised when it lifted and flew a hundred yards into a field. Although it's flight was a bit wobbly it seemed ok. I think that it had probably collided with the over head pylon cable above where it was lying and was only stunned. I checked for it again a couple of hours later but it had gone.

The weather forecast predicts some easterlies on Friday...bring it on!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Up the coast for a change...

Top - Fenham Flats looking towards Fenham Mill and Holy Island causeway.
Centre - A tiny sample of the waders on the mudflats.
Bottom - Some of the Pale bellied Brents now back for the winter.
( Click any picture for a bigger image).

As my mate Rob was up from Leeds visiting friends in Alnwick, we decided to have a day out up the coast. Starting at Fenham Flats the view from the hide was quite daunting. All the birds were a mile away at low tide. Luckily the tide was on the flood so we waited for developments.As the tide compressed the masses onto ever smaller patches of mud, the birds swarmed like ants over the ground. The scene reminded me of the African plains with the hoards grazing mammals wandering around.

This hide is usually empty, so we were suprised when, in rapid succession, we were joined by Ray Craig, Steve Rippon and Alan Hall. Out on the flats we had -

Redshank, Knot and Dunlin possibly as many as 3000 in total, numbers impossible to assess accurately.
Grey Plover 100+ many in full summer plumage.
Curlew 85+
Curlew Sandpiper 1 juv
Ruff 1 juv
Pale bellied Brent Geese 500+
Shelduck 85+
Wigeon 100+
Teal 100+
Pintail 6
Pink footed Geese 25 S
Red breasted Merganser 3
Arctic Skua 1
Lesser Redpoll 10 S
Goldfinch 25

From here we called at Budle bay -

Pink footed Geese 600+
Teal 324
Mallard 104
Redshank many
Greenshank 9 was a good count in Northumberland.

And Stag Rocks, Bamburgh -

Purple Sandpiper 9
Red throated Diver 1 S

No wintering ducks or grebes visible yet.

Monks House Pool ( Ennion's 'House on the Shore') -
Snipe 7+
Black tailed Godwit 1 juv
Golden Plover 8

Above - Pectoral Sandpiper juv, Newton Pool.

Our next stop was Newton Pool. A quick check of the tiny flash in the field north of the pool revealed the Pectoral Sandpiper still present from last week. I was quite suprised as I hadn't heard about it for several days. It was wandering around the boggy area with 3 Ruff and 4 Redshank. Little of interest on the main pool other than 9 Little Grebe and a nice showy Snipe next to the hide. Steve and Alan had seen a juvenile Water Rail here earlier today but they didn't mention the Pec still being around. I wonder if the saw it?

Above - Snipe. The last pic would make a good 'mystery birds' photo!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A nice day. A south westerly wind mind you, but still a nice day.

At Seaton Point, a flock of finches etc feeding in the bean fields held 23 Tree Sparrows, 22 Goldfinches, 20+ Greenfinches and a few Reed Buntings.

In front of the village were 1 juv Curlew Sandpiper with 80 Dunlin, 10 Bar tailed Godwits and 27 Redshank. 6 Lesser Redpolls flew from the allotment towards Boulmer farm.

Quite a few Red Admirals have arrived over the last day or two.

On a more sinister note, Jane was walking down towards Low Steads yesterday and heard a strange chattering / gnawing noise from the hedges along the road. She peered into the hedge tops and saw not one but 10+ Brown Rats. She said the scary thing was that while she could hear the noise from the ones she saw, others could be heard right along the road. Possibly dozens up in the hedge tops!? Maybe the James Herbert books will be true! Can anyone suggest a good German flute player wth time on their hands...

135. Curlew Sandpiper.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Watercolour Challenge.

Black headed Gulls at Boulmer.

Dull and rainy this morning clearing to a nice sunny afternoon. Calm.

Had a couple of hours at Boulmer this afternoon painting with John Steele. It was good to get some proper tuition in how to use looser, more fluid techniques with the watercolours. Although my end result was hardly gallery standard, I was quite happy and feel that I can learn from my mistakes. This watercolour painting is quite a complicated process...

Out on the shore a second winter Mediterranean Gull was the first here this year, 59 Dunlin, 5 Bar tailed Godwits, 2 Knot and a Grey Plover.

While we sat on strategically placed boulders on the high tide mark, a movement in the stones caught my eye. As I glanced down, a tiny Pygmy Shrew was peering out from a pebble next to my rucksack! I have seen all three species of shrew on the high tide debris now. I think they must find rich pickings amongst the rotten weed etc.

134. Mediterranean Gull.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A day off today, work tomorrow and Weds then off till Tuesday.

I was convinced that todays weather forecast would have produced the goods on a seawatch but it wasn't to be. I spent about 2 hours on and off today at Boulmer and saw nothing really. 2 Manxies flying south, always a bad omen on a seawatch, and 5 Red throated Divers was about all of note.

A Porpoise showed briefly too.

In Lincs, a crap seawatch at the weekend produced a Black Kite for John Wright...see links.

Yesterday ( all my troubles seemed so far away)...

Mod SW 5, dull and rainy.

Boulmer. Dismal. 13 Bar tailed Godwits were the highlight on the shore and an Arctic Skua flew north. At 9.10 I was interrupted by that incessant beep...beep...beep...that signifies a MEGA in the far off reaches of the UK. Still keen to see what it is, the word at the top of the screen, 'Northumberland' brings about a certain frisson of excitement. Then the species - WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT flew SW at Cresswell Pond!!!!

Oh my lordy. Now this was a first for Britain, not on Foula or St Agnes but 15 miles down the road. Hopefully the observer will have been either Mssrs Wallace, Vittery or Holloway then we can all pull it to pieces as being the most stringy sighting since the Loch Ness Monster or the Cresswell Western Sandpiper. With clammy shaking hands I ring Andy McLevy ( Mr Cresswell!) to find out the crack. Has the bird been a House Martin seen by a myopic schitzo? Worse than that it was found by Andy himself and 'lucky' Alan Jack and Richard Dunn. All good lads with a track record of rarity finding, just makes things even more depressing, knowing that a Britsh first has been found by your mates only half an hour away but remaining untwitchable ( Can you imagine the chances of catching up with a Swift with a half hour head start flying south ' somewhere'? I think not.).

Later on a text from IDR said ' QEII on the patch list'.(See Druridge Blog).

Great. Not only am I a castaway in a rarity free zone, I can't see Great Shearwaters, Sabine's Gulls, White rumped Swifts or even bloody great ocean going liners on my patch...

Well, there's still tomorrow ...

Oh and my blogger has turned German. Excellent.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A light W2 breeze this morning increased to a moderate W5 this afternoon.

At Boulmer today 3 coveys of Grey Partridges, 12, 6 and 7 birds and 125 Pink footed Geese flew S, the first here this autumn, though I saw 3 fly south at Newbiggin midweek. An hours seawatch this afternoon on the high tide produced -

Sooty Shearwater 14 N
Manx Shearwater 2 N
Arctic Skua 3 adults battering the gulls and terns offshore, one pale, one intermediate and one dark bird.
Little Gull 8 N
Red throated Diver 2 S
Pale bellied Brent Goose 4 N
Wigeon 1 N.

Friday, September 14, 2007

More seawatching weather on its way on Monday...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nice day today. Sunny and warm with a sea flattening Westerly.

At lunchtime I popped to Newbiggin for half an hour ( praying that I wasn't going to get a Great Shearwater. After the hours at Boulmer that would have been a p...ser).
ASJ and myself had -

Little Gull 12+ loafing close in of all ages.
Arctic Skua 2
Bonxie 2
Sooty Shearwater 1 N.

At Wansbeck Buisiness Park I watched two male dragonflies defending air space. They were either Southern or Migrant Hawkers. The brownish tint to the wings makes me lean towards Southerns. Closer scrutiny tomorrow methinks.


Hello all heres a little interlude.

In my haste I write these blog posts as I would write my notes at home. Apologies to the non or casual birders out there who are unaware what my abreviations mean. Here is a glossary?

Gannet 3 S or 100+ N means 3 individuals of this species flew in a southerly direction or headed off south and 100 plus N means an absolute minimum of a hundred individuals of this species flew North or in a Northerly direction.

This term is most often used in the context of birds migrating in a certain direction.

Juv /Imm / Fw / Fs / Ad Refers to the age of the bird -
Juv = Juvenile a bird born in the summer of this calender year and is in its first plumage when leaving the nest.
Imm = A bird not in adult plumage, age not exactly defined.
Fw = First Winter, a bird out of juvenile plumage usually in the autumn after the summer it was born.
Fs = First Summer, the next plumage after Fw, occuring in the next calander year after hatching ie if born in 2007 a gull would achieve FS plumage in spring 2008.
Ad = Adult.

Dipped Usually means you have gone to see a rare bird and its gone before you have seen it ( unless you have dipped -in which means you are a jammy sod and have accidentally arrived at a spot just after someone has found a rare bird).

Thats probably enough to be going on with. If anyone is struggling with the terms I use please leave a comment and I'd be happy to explain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Right, today is the day for Great Shearwaters. There had been loads right down as far as Norfolk and an unprecedented 12 N at Newbiggin this afternoon. So I was bound to see a single one past old Boulmer tonight.

WRONG! Like gardeners and fishermen, Birders are renowned for having reasons (making excuses) why something doesn't happen. Tonight it was heat haze over the sea. I know, thats nearly as bad as leaves on the line, but I kid you not after about half a mile Gannets looked like Fruit Bats and Sooties became shivering apparitions, ghostly thumb prints drifting north. The only reasonable birds were those within the pot flags or those so blatantly identifiable even a fairground mirror couldn't disguise them.

JWR, TAC and MC, myself and a holday maker from Weymouth who had dashed from Alnwick Garden to get a Great Shearwater before he had his tea (!) gave it two and a half hours.

We had -
Arctic Skua 11
Bonxie 3 N
Long tailed Skua 1 ad and 1 juv N.
Manx Shearwater 22 N
Sooty Shearwater 5 N
Common Scoter 27 N
Red throated Diver 5 N
Puffin 3 N
Little Gull 3 N
Teal 5 N

The Long tailed Skuas came by together quite high up. The juv was a dark bird. They slowly flapped North, then began soaring over Longhoughton Steel and looked like gulls flycatching. The long rear end, generally sooty appearance with a cream breast and black cap could be noted. There were no pale wing flashes. The adult stopped and stalled in flight before resuming its course. Not classic views but good enough for a correct id.

A welcome patch year tick and some compensation for dipping out on the Great Shears.

133. Long tailed Skua.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Anybody want a scope?

Today the wind gradually increased to a NW5, but it remained suuny and cool.

Late in from work, I didn't get down to Boulmer until 6.30pm where I seawatched until 8pm.

If you go onto the shore at the bottom of the cliff you will find the remains of a Leica scope with tripod shot putted off the seat by a depressed seawatcher!

While the east coast tipped up by the weight of Great Shearwaters along its length I screwed my eye into my scope til it bled with no joy. As darkness fell and I couldn't see for the tears, TAC provided comfort and reassurement, by reminding me that he is off to the caribbean on holiday soon while I gaze out to the east as the nights close in. Oh well there's Christmas shopping to look forward to...

Totals -

Sooty Shearwater 2 N
Manx Shearwater 4 N
Arctic Skua 2 N 4 S
Bonxie 4 N
Red throated Diver 2 S
Great Shearwater 0
Sabines Gull 0
and F'ing Leaches Petrel none of those either...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Artist at Work

A bit of a Peregrine theme today.

John Steele is a local wildlife artist of some repute. As you know, I 'dabble' so today was an education and a pleasure for me to watch John at work in the field. He has a confidence with the watercolour that I could only dream about, but today he shared some good hints and tips with me so I'm hoping to put them to good use. Watch this space! The Peregrine in the photos sat out on the rocks nicely back lit for John to get something down on paper..

Raptorial Elegance.

Above - Male Peregrine sitting in plough minding his own when the crow just wouldn't let it lie. Peregrine ringed ( zoom into bottom picture).

Sunny with a cool NW breeze, pleasant.

At Boulmer today from 06.30 until 12.00. I concentrated on the North End this morning, starting off alone, but joined by John Steele at about 7.30ish.

Highlight had to be this male Peregrine, seen on three occasions showing very well first sat in ploughed field later harassing waders just in front of the car park.

Also this morning, a Buzzard was right out on the rocks at Longhoughton Steel, a very strange record, 1 Goldcrest was in a small bush on the edge of the shore, 5 and 3 Lesser Redpolls flew NW, 30+ Meadow Pipits were on the point, 2 Stock Doves, 1 Greenshank flew S. A sea watch from 10.30 - 11.30 had

Sooty Shearwater 20 N
Manx Shearwater 6 N
Bonxie 1 N
Arctic Skua 1 ad S 1 juv N
Red throated Diver 2 S
Teal 6 N

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Above - Harwood Forest and its Fallowlees Lough with Black Darter dragonflies.

A cracking summery autumn day basking in warm sunshine.

For a change Jane, Bunts and mysel took a trip to Harwood Forest, central Northumberland, for a walk with the idea of checking Fallowlees Lough for dragonflies.

The pool was 'rattling' with them. 'Buzzing' doesn't sound right because they don't buzz, they rattle! We had great views of 40+ Black Darters, tiny little dragons and the first I've seen. Several pairs were coupled and egg laying at our feet, other single males were chasing females around with gusto. Also here were the more sinister Common Hawkers, about a dozen of them chasing the Darters if they got in the way, and the ephemeral Emerald Damselflies in small numbers. I couldn't get pics of the latter two, the hawkers never landing and the Emeralds landed on rushes over the water so I couldn't get near.

Bird wise 4 Crossbills including a very late juvenile, 2 Jays, Buzzard and Siskins were the highlight while the only thing on the lough was a young family of Little Grebes.

A very pleasant afternoon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sunny clear and autumnal. Calm.

Down to Boulmer for an hour before work, 06.40 -07.40. The sun glare on the sea was a blocker but generally there wasn't a lot moving.

Sooty Shearwater 8 N
Manx Shearwater 7 N
Pale bellied Brent Geese 30 N ( 13, 11 and 6 )
Bonxie 2 N
Common Scoter 10 N
Red throated Diver 1 N

As I got in the car for the drive home from work at 5.30 I thought I'd better check the pager that had been languishing in the car all day. A missed MEGA alert had me intrigued until I saw that it was a Little Shearwater N past Whitburn at - 5.08pm!!

Don't panic! How long from Whitburn to Newbiggin? Half an hour maybe as the macronesian flies, gives me 8 minutes to get to the Church Point 3 miles away. Foot down and don't spare the horses. As I run up to the expectant crowd seawatching on the point having an attack incase someone turns around to say ' should have been here 3 minutes ago', but no, it has not arrived.

And nor did it. As is usual the black hole around the mouth of the Tyne had sucked our bird in never to be seen again. We've done this before here for Little Shearwater, more than once. They never make it to Newbiggin. What happens after Whitburn is a mystery, maybe they drift offshore, or get eaten by a Bonxie, who knows.

I waited 45 minutes before heading for home having had a couple each Manx and Sooty Shearwater and 10 Little Gulls in a flock flew N.

Better luck next time. And there will be a next time, I'm sure.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Sunny, cool N3.

Newbiggin 2.20pm

I was at Newbiggin working when news came through that JGS had found an adult Sabine's Gull loitering with a tern frenzy off the Church Point. As I was half a mile away, it would have been rude not to check it out...When I got there Andy had aleady picked it out at some distance feeding with Kittiwakes and Terns and the odd Little Gull. Even though the range was great it could easily be picked out of the group as it dip fed in the waves, thanks to its very distinctive upperpart pattern.

Top Tip for id'ing Sabine's Gulls. They are nothing like Kittiwakes. If you have a glimmer of doubt about that distant bird, its not a Sabine's.

While we watched a nice adult Pomarine Skua flew south panicking all the terns and a few Sooties flew north.

Now that has whetted my appetite I wonder what Boulmer will have...

Boulmer 5.20 - 7.10pm

Seawatch. Company was provided by TAC and a chap from Bolton who does Twite studies in the Pennines.

We had -

Sooty Shearwater 15 N
Manx Shearwater 16 N
Arctic Skua 5 N
Bonxie 1 N
Pomarine Skua 2 adults N. Both seen very well, both bedecked in full tail spoons. The first one chased a Kitti until it brought up its tea only to lose the profits to a Great Black Back. Not happy with this, the Pom took a dislike to the Kitti and hounded it that much I felt sure it would end up as a meal. The Pom ragged its wings and flipped it over several times before giving up and allowing its victim to move off in peace. The Skua then landed on the sea to bathe and rest before flying off north.
The chap from Bolton was pleased, it was only his second since one twenty years ago at an inland reservoir!
Whimbrel 1
Tea. 6+
Pale bellied Brent Goose 8 N

131. Pomarine Skua.
132. Pale Bellied Brent Goose.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lumpyheed 3.

Today dawned overcast with a strong blustery W6 carrying some rain. By mid afternoon, the wind had dropped right off and the skies were clear making it a very pleasant evening.

Boulmer 0700 -

Only a short visit before heading down the coast for a chat with the lads. High Tide. Very little of note as a result of the weather probably. 7 Common Terns flew S, 1 ad male Sparrowhawk, 3 Herons, 3 Grey Partridge, 2 Yellowhammer and the first Goldcrest of the autumn.

Cresswell Pond 08.30 -

On the approach to the hide a Stoat jumped across the track into a clump of Tansy. I squeaked at it thorugh my fingers and it approached down to only a few feet, before realising its mistake.

For the first 45 minutes I was in the hide, an Otter showed well feeding constantly on unseen items in various spots around the pond. It eventually swam right up the hide and disappeared into the reeds.

2 Greenshank, 8 Black tailed Godwits, 2 Snipe, 1 Merlin hunting, 1 Swift overhead, 17+ Stock Doves and an assortment of common wildfowl.

Boulmer 18.00 - 19.00 -

High Tide again but now feels like a different day! Weather much better.

Jane and myself were out with Bunty around the Seaton Point when I noticed a tremendous Great Northern Diver on the sea only a few yards from the beach, giving fantastic views. As is typical I had no camera with me. After our walk I took Jane and Bunts back home then returned 'armed' hoping for some frame -fillers. Unfortunately the diver had swam a good way offshore to feed, but I still got some reasonable record shots.

Also here, 1 ad and 1 juv Roseate Tern, first located by the spotshank-like call, 1 pale phase adult Arctic Skua was flying about offshore. 51 Turnstones and 70 Dunlin were pushed closer by the tide.

All in all, not a bad day.

Lumpyheed 2...this time its personal...

Above - Seaton Point, Boulmer. Sea like a mill pond.

Above - Great Northern Diver, Seaton Point. Top, snorkeling with Razorbill nearby, centre, gets a shock when it realises the Razorbill is so close. Showing egg sized bump on head ( no it hasn't hit a rock, they all have it!), bottom, with a fish.

Above -Juvenile Roseate Tern begging for food, Seaton Point. Adult flying around but didn't come in to feed the young bird until it was on the water. Look closer, I think this bird has a BTO ring on EACH leg!

Lumpyheed 1....

Above - Otter, Cresswell Pond. More under water than on top...

Above - Greenshank. One of two present at Cresswell Pond today.