Friday, December 30, 2022

Look back on 2022...

Bird of the Year 2022.

Over the past 12 months most of my activity has been based around my, very local, home patch, the 3 sq kms around Howick, but in reality a lot of that time is within a single 1 km square. Last year I found a 5km radius way too big to do justice with the majority of that area not visited or not worth a look, so its basics all the way from now on.  

There were regular visits to other local areas just over the boundary to places such as Boulmer, Alnmouth, Alnwick Moors etc all within about 10 miles from home.

My 3km Local Patch

Further afield were 2 weeks in Caithness and 1 week at the Ardnamurchan plus a single long distance twitch to Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire with a couple of 'within county' birds taken in as the fancy arose.

This year I decided not to pile pressure on to 'hammer' the list, but to take things quite casually, just enjoying what ever I can come across.  

The birding around home was quite good with a few species new to the area list plus a few that are categorised ( by me) as rare, ie recorded in 4 or less years out of the last 14. Birds in this list are as follows. 

Egyptian Goose 1st record here, a lucky sighting on a morning dog walk on the 12th May.

Mandarin Duck 3rd patch record was of a nice drake on the pond, the same week as the goose and can be seen in the same link.

Pallid Swift 1st record. The rarest birds on patch this year will obviously be firsts when a party of 3 Pallid Swifts spent an hour showing well over the cricket pitch on 29th October.

Black Tern 2nd site record for me, a close in single feeding over the sea at Rumbling Kern on 6th September. Last record was 2011. 

Great Shearwater 3rd record. This pelagic wanderer is getting commoner each year and can now be actively looked for rather than just being a random occurrence.

Cory's Shearwater 1st and only my 2nd ever in the UK.  What a year for this bird in Northumberland, with multiples seen. I was lucky enough to get decent views of one from Cullernose on 26th July.

Hen Harrier 2nd record, was a great surprise on an otherwise quiet day for birds on 22nd February near the Teepee track. 

Green Woodpecker 4th record but none since 2017 and before that was 2010. Flew S along the coast path on a fine spring morning in May.

Siberian Chiffchaff  2nd record. One calling seen briefly near the pond on 30th October.

Bluethroat 1st record and contender for bird of the year for me. Found by Mandy Fall in her garden at Seahouses Farm. Sublime! A classic May date too. Worth another read. 

Pied Flycatcher 4th record. Probably commoner here really but I don't seem to find them often so it its always a pleasure. 5th September.

 Apart from these, other noteworthy species this year - 

Whooper Swan, Pink footed and Barnacle Geese, Scaup, Cuckoo, Water Rail, Purple Sandpiper, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Med and Little Gulls, Little and Roseate Terns, 4 sp Skuas, Little Auk, Sooty Shearwaters, Marsh Harrier, SEO, Raven, Waxwing, Willow Tit, Redstart, Twite and Snow Bunting.

Moth Trapping continued in the garden, where the species list continued to grow.

04.089    Ectoedemia albifasciella

15.044    Phyllonorycter sorbi

21.001    Lyonetia clerkella

32.016     Agonopterix propinquella

35.118     Scrobipalpa ocellatella  Beet Moth part of an unprecendented National Influx. New to Northumberland, I caught 6!

35.118     Scrobipalpa ocellatella  Beet Moth

35.159     Exoteleia dodecella

38.039     Elachista maculicerusella

49.376 Pammene aurita

62.053 Ancylosis oblitella

62.053 Ancylosis oblitella, new for the north of England!

My first garden Box Tree Moth was this lovely dark form.

63.054 Cydalima perspectalis Box-tree Moth  My first record.

63.074 Eudonia mercurella

70.046 Orthonama vittata Oblique Carpet

70.051 Xanthorhoe spadicearia Red Twin-spot Carpet

70.166 Eupithecia simpliciata Plain Pug

Lunar Marbled Brown.

71.011 Drymonia ruficornis Lunar Marbled Brown

73.087 Spodoptera exigua Small Mottled Willow

These were all new. Several Scarce Bordered Straw and Hummingbird Hawk-moths were a good feature as was a single Convolvulous Hawk-moth found in a nearby field.

Out of the other many highlights off patch must be - 

The Bempton Black-browed Albatross a lifer for me, clawed back after last years galling dip.

Another get back after last years miss was the Long Nanny American Black Tern, and what a stunner too giving great views.

Orca at Auchengill, Caithness in June.

Oysterplant, Caithness, June. Very pleased to find this declining plant.

Pine Marten, Ardnamurchan, September. 

Moonwort, Caithness, June.

Pied Wheatear, Whitley Bay, October.

As another year draws to a close, I hope to hear more from you all in 2023. Enjoy your birding, the outdoors and any wildlife you might be interested in.

All the very best. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2022


 As the cold spell melts away to a balmy 10 degrees, it is good to think of how these small weather features can have an impact upon local patch birding. 

I have already posted this month's birding in just a single km square around home we've had Woodcock, Water Rail, Little Auk, Blue Fulmar, masses of Thrushes, Snipe, Pink footed Geese, Golden Plovers, Lapwings etc but as I look through the apple feeding thrushes and see, I am reminded by Twitter, one of the W's was missing. Until yesterday that is.

We have had family staying over the weekend and as they packed the car to leave on Sunday morning the timing was perfect for a quartet of Waxwings to drop in to the berryless rowan right beside the cars. I called to them, 'Waxwings!' and pointed . Everyone looked and were treated to great views of the birds only 10 feet  away. They had been attracted by a few measly rosehips growing through the Rowan.

The birds, all soft crests and dove grey pink, fluttered down into the bush like dancers trying not to get their tutus dirty, but soon they flew off over the house. 

I went around with the camera and some apples to hang in our small birch tree. The vikings were now in our tall dividing hedge where they had found a few more hips. These birds are masters at seeking out a few trivial berries that you or I wouldn't even notice, but again they were off. I finally managed a couple of cursory record shots at range in a neighbour's apple tree before they flew off again, this time, for good.

Its a few years since I had patch Waxers so it was good to see them again. Maybe there'll be more?

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Cold snap.

 I think we have gotten off lightly here on the Northumberland coast. While the news reports show deep snow and temps down to -17 in Scotland and even double figures in inland England, locally we have just had an average wintry spell. Yesterday and today have seen the temperature stay just below freezing with it dropping to -4 at its lowest. As for snow cover, about an inch dropped last night onto already frozen ground making getting around 'interesting' .

These cold snaps aren't good for wildlife but for the birder on a local patch it can always shuffle up some interest.

Around our village, there has been a noticeable influx of thrushes of 5 species, with Fieldfares in particular cleaning out any remaining garden windfall apples. Yesterday a few birds were trickling south along the coast with Redwings, Fieldfares, Skylarks, Lapwings and Golden Plover heading for softer ground.

 I was on  a days leave today to catch up with some Christmas stuff before Jane's sister and nephew arrive tomorrow for a couple of days, so once again, actual real birding is on hold.

At lunchtime, out with Peggy, a glance into the burn as I crossed the bridge produced just what I've been looking for for the last few weeks - a Water Rail. It looks like a nice adult too, with a bright slate blue frontal colouring and no brown or white around the face and throat area. Unlike last winter, this time I managed a couple of record shots of it before it jogged off into cover. 

Its always a pleasure to bump into these reed bed skulkers especially when it is so far from any proper habitat. The small drainage ditches in the wood and burn all link to the pond about half a kilometre away so they must use this wider ranging habitat as a wintering spot because they are quite reliable here around Christmas time. Lovely.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Winter Blues.

 Its been a busy week what with Christmas preparations, visits, socialising and what not. So busy that I didn't really have time to get out on Sunday morning, but, when you live in  the middle of your patch even looking out of the window is birding.

It was one of these non-birding dog walks that caught me a bit unawares. 

On Sunday around 11am I took Peggy for her walk along the coast path just before we were due to leave home to visit relatives for lunch at Berwick. 

One day I will finally learn the lesson, never leave home unarmed! Remember the Pallid Swifts day when I was on a quick stop looking for fungi so I didn't even have my bins? Well this was a hurried stride out dog walk, so, again, no bins, camera or even phone. After all I was only going to be gone for 20 mins and its December.

As we dropped on to the coast path a few local Fulmars were celebrating being back on the cliffs by enjoying the updraft and racing past walkers at eye level. They are very inquisitive birds, I remember once being on the beach when a Fulmar made repeated very close, low, fly pasts of our dog, even turning its head to get a closer look. 

On the coast path, our birds regularly do this, hanging on an updraught making eye contact with passers by. This time there were around 8 birds back and forth, up and down, when one stopped me in my tracks. It stalled for a second then stooped and was gone. What was that? Too short a view to make anything then I saw a bird going away from me along the cliff, even with the naked eye it seemed odd but I couldn't place why so I waited on the view point, I knew it would be back, they can't help themselves.

Sure enough, I couldn't believe it when up popped the bird less than 30 feet from my face, a beautiful smokey grey 'Blue' Fulmar! I've only ever seen a few on seawatches at distance and never like this with local birds. A grey apparition from the high arctic looking even wilder than its white headed cousins.

I stood and watched for five minutes but was conscious of the time and I needed to go. I could have had frame filler photos.  I've been back today at 11am but there are only a couple of Fulmars flying with a dozen on ledges and no dusky guest with them. I might try again later...

Although 'just a colour form' I do like races and forms of birds so was over the moon to see it. Lets hope it comes is more than just a tick...

Monday, December 05, 2022

Its not quite over!

Hume's Warbler on a cardboard box...

After my last blog where I thought surely the end of autumn had come, we had a flurry of Sibe activity. Autumn lasts longer these days.

Not far from home, a couple of Hume's Warblers had taken up temporary residence at Low Newton village. I don't recall Northumberland having a multiple of this species before but stand to be corrected.

The spots favoured by these birds were not the best for viewing, the first being a site where you need to look over a high wall into even higher spruce trees for a distant glimpse. The second area, just about 50 mtrs behind the walled garden is a small stand of spruce at the end of a private cul-de-sac. I am not a fan of this type of site as it always looks suspicious to residents, but, saying that, not many 'residents' live here anyway, so a lot were empty second homes or holiday lets at the end of the season.

Last Wednesday was a day off work and with a couple of hours spare I popped along to try my luck. Knowing the walled garden is a pain, I stationed myself nonchalantly at the end of the cul-de-sac over looking both the small spruces and the taller walled garden trees. The whole place was very quiet in thick wet mist. No birds were in the close trees but I thought I'd give it half an hour to see if the birds moved around.

Soon after, I heard a single, fine wagtail like 'tiss-wick' across the paddock? Was it the bird or had I just misheard something? I scanned the distant trees with my bins and soon saw a pale small bird fitting about the upper branches, yes it was the Hume's Warbler. Distant, I thought, but at least I had seen it, when it only up and flew right across the field into the trees beside me where it fed low down in the dark damp branches of the spruce.

With some manoeuvring, decent views were possible at times but photography was a non starter. Once the warbler had a short burst of calls, repeating the two syllable wagtail note 4 or 5 times before falling silent again.

Its a long time since I've seen a Hume's Warbler so this one was most welcome. Unfortunately there was no sign of the second individual.

Surely its winter now!

A foggy soggy Hume's Warbler. The best I could manage in the dark conditions.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Surely this is The End!

 Yesterday I met John at first light at Seaton Point to see if any migrants had been grounding in the overnight rain. The wind was a light SSE. It was dull first thing but it brightened into a nice day by mid morning.

Seaton Point from Foxton beach.

A few Thrushes were coming in with a scatter of Redwing and Fieldfare but there were more Blackbirds and Robins. In fact every bush and bracken clump or seaweed pile had Robins.

A Woodcock was flushed from the edge of the golfcourse. In this spot, 9 Redpolls and 30 Siskins flew W.

Along at the point the sea was dead today with very few signs of movement so we decided to check the shore for the two Snow Buntings I had seen on Friday. We soon located one bird feeding along the strand line but there was no sign of its colleague? As is the way with Snow Buntings, this loner fed unconcerned as dogs and their owners walked past yards away so we took the good opportunity to get some photos. While we were watching, the shore waders became anxious and began calling. This disturbed the bunting and it flew off southwards.


After some tea back at the car, the sun was shining so we checked the coast path south to Foxton Golf Club.

A couple of small settling ponds here looked good for a migrant or two but the best we could manage was a nice Kingfisher giving a close fly by before perching briefly on top of beach side brambles.

Then down to the Golf Club proper. It was here when we were checking a nice looking gully a loud call close overhead jolted us back into concentration - Waxwing! I thought it might be sat in the trees but it was just flying low overhead, and continued straight south. Waxwings are scarce but regular on our patch recorded in 8 years out of 14 but this was my first local bird since 2019. Hoping there are more to come!

A shot from a previous year but this is what it was like if I could have deployed the camera quicker! 

The End 2...

 On Friday morning  I was back out for a couple of hours seawatching but what a difference a day makes.

After yesterdays masses of birds, today was much quieter with, for example, instead of the thousands of Kittiwakes passing, they must have all gone through because I had no more than 10 in 2 hours. Same for Gannets. 

The visibility was awful with thick drizzle and a moderate Easterly wind.The tide was still a good way out so to see birds they would almost need to be over the rock edges, as indeed most were. 'Real' seabirds were few but wildfowl made for a decent variety - 

Common Scoter 137

Velvet Scoter 6

Scaup 1 female with a scoter flock

Long tailed Duck 2 females

Goldeneye 15N 4S

Red breasted Merganser 2 drakes

Goosander 3 fine drakes S unusual in this plumage here.

Teal 99

Wigeon 31

Little Auk 3

Grey Plover 15

Purple Sandpiper 3

Snow Bunting 2 came off the beach, flew N and seemed to land again.

All birds moving North unless stated.

In the village the now flooded mere had 4 Black tailed Godwits and 200+ Lapwings. Oh for this to be a more permanent feature, what it would pull in...

So not a bad jaunt out...    


The view from Seaton Point...

Bull Mere, Boulmer


Thursday, November 17, 2022

The End.

 Of Autumn that is.

We used to begin our county Winter Atlas surveys after 13th November so I always think of that date as the end of autumn. Still, depending upon the weather, some tardy birds are still migrating up until the end of the month.

The Pied Wheatear from my previous post remained faithful to its graffiti daubed skate park right up until Saturday 12th November, allowing even the most reticent of twitchers time to catch up with it if they so wished.

On my patch things have been a bit quiet recently though a female Merlin across our village, well lit from early morning sunshine on the 6th was good and even better was the Snow Bunting on the 14th that danced low over our garden, calling its lovely tinkling tune all the way. This is my 3rd ( I think) garden record. 25 Whooper Swans flew S on 5th while 16 Redpolls were in Village Wood the previous day. Ive seen them in flight a few times and suspect a couple of Mealies in there but cant clinch it.

Other bits of interest around home were a Water Rail sadly killed on the road overnight, having just arrived on its wintering grounds and some big fungi on the cricket pitch, known descriptively as Macro Mushroom Agaricus urinascens. Apparently this is a widespread, but scarce fungi so I was pleased to meet with its oval, tiger bread, form while out walking Peggy.

Macro Mushrooms

On the invertebrate front, the moth trap has been moth balled until the New Year. With the rising cost of electricity units per moth well up, its not worth putting it on for 13 hours for 2 Angle Shades... The last Butterflies for me were a Small Tortoiseshell on 3rd and a Peacock on the 6th.

I've been on holiday this week, using up annual leave before Christmas. The time was to be spent putting the garden to bed for the winter. There has been mixed success here with fine Monday and Wednesday utilised but on other days its just been too wet and windy.

When the weather is stormy from the East we all know what that means to an East coast patch watcher - Seawatching.

Today has been really grim. Raining most of the day, barely daylight  and blowing a strong Easterly.

Although an East wind can be good, I prefer a Northerly for seawatching. My home spots are just too exposed in this weather, so I headed to Boulmer and the safety of the relatively sheltered Seaton Point, where strategically placed caravans make it just about bearable.

From 09.30am - 11am the count went  - 

Kittiwake 1300 N ( a gross under estimate with maybe double that in reality).
Sooty Shearwater 3 late birds taking the 'breeze' in their stride.
Little Auk 24 N
Pomarine Skua 3 N
Arctic Skua 2 N ( these 5 skuas were in one flock)
Skua sp probably a Long tail but it was too fast and hiding in wave troughs)
Brent Geese 2 N
Long tailed Duck 3 drakes N.
Gannets not counted but a light movement.
Fulmar 2N

Hopefully there will be more moving in the morning, I'll give it a couple of hours first thing.

Apologies for the images, I only had my 300mm lens. The pics look black and white but they are in full colour, honest!


Three Little Auks of the 24 seen.

Squint or click and zoom, these are Long tailed Drakes...

Arctic Skua first, then 3 Pomarines, and another Arctic at the tail end. Compare the sizes of the Arctic and Pom at the front.

Three Pomarine Skuas.

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Hero in a half-pipe...

 As dusk fell on Tuesday night news was released that a nice first winter male Pied Wheatear had been found at Whitley Bay sea front, along the prom.

A lady walking her dog had noticed a 'wheatear', thought it was a bit late in the season, and contacted local birder Alan Jack. Alan was sufficiently intrigued by the report to check it out. You can only imagine his delight when the bird popped up and was not a late Northern Wheatear or even the quite similar looking Desert Wheatear  ! The WhatsApp group message duly arrived complete with some gripping snaps of the bird.

For many a new Northumberland birder this would be a county tick, but I have seen two already, one at Tynemouth in December 1998 and another at Newbiggin in October 2004. Both birds were females so this nice male was very tempting.

As I was working from the office on Wednesday, I planned to take a lunchtime trip for a look, ala Bluetail recently. 

On arrival the prom and beach were busy with walkers etc and the bird had been lost. However, not to worry, it soon came back to its favoured zone in the Skate Park where it looked very incongruous hopping around the graffitied half-pipes and associated detritus. On two occasions the poor thing hopped down to pick up small bits of plastic, only for them to be discarded again when it realised it wasn't an insect.

Occasionally the bird would drop down and sit only a few feet away from us over the boundary wall giving point blank views.

I'd imagine that will be the excitement over for another autumn now, but you never know...

Pied Wheatear, Whitley Bay Skate Park. 

Monday, October 31, 2022


 While the southern half of the country is awash with rare subtropical migrant moths things are more sedate up in the far north east of England. Still, I have had a Scarce Bordered Straw and a Pearly Underwing so cant complain. I had hopes of a Crimson Speckled but now I see that not only are they very rare ( still) they are even rarer in a moth trap, with most sightings being out in the field. At Dungeness, moth-ers have taken to dragging a washing line between two of them, lightly over short vegetation in an attempt to lift one up. Ah well...

Back in the real world, on Saturday afternoon I had arranged to meet Sally, a mycologist ( fungi observer) on our estate where I hoped she could identify some of the tricky ones for me. As it turned out our wires became crossed and the meeting didn't happen, but while I was sauntering around the cricket pitch, eyes to the deck looking for fungi, I was aware of thrushes flushing ahead of me.

The bushes here are decked with berries and good numbers of Blackbirds, Redwings and Song Thrushes were stocking up. While I watched a good sized party of Redwings head skywards, my eye rested on some other birds low down just above shrub height . SWIFTS!

Swifts? three of them to be precise. Now I've not even seen a hirundine here since September and not a Swift since late August, so this was a bit of a shock. I was also aware that NW Europe was having a Pallid Swift invasion.

 As I watched these birds with the naked eye ( I had left my bins at home, you don't need them for mushrooms! What a muppet). The birds seemed to be feeding and not just passing through, so I put the word out on WhatsApp of 3 Swift sp present. 

Straight away Dan Langston replied, 'On my way'. Thank goodness, Dan only lives a mile or so away and is well up on these things having already found two Pallids earlier this year. Better still he would be bearing optical gear.

Within minutes Dan arrived and we had the next half an hour watching the birds drifting back and forward across the sky over the pitch.  At some angles they remained dark 'Swifts' as in sp, but when closer, in better light, it could be seen these were all Pallid Swifts. I've only ever seen two before, some years ago, so to have a multiple occurrence on patch was nothing short of amazing.

Dan rattled off some images, that showed enough to be sure, and at that, they slowly drifted north and out of sight.

Later Gary Woodburn had a single at Embleton Quarry that could have been one of ours and next morning three birds were over Amble and Warkworth for most of the day. With 4 up at St Abbs and dear knows how many in Yorkshire, its still worth keeping an eye on the sky.

 Just make sure to have bins and camera with you!


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A bit of a rush...

 All seems to have gone into a bit of an anti-climax after all of the excitement of last week. Last Thursday seems to have vanished on the easterlies that dropped some good birds in locally.

I'll start with Wednesday 19th. This was the beginning of a spell of winds from the east. In Northumberland it was not a  '2016 style' classic, but it was quite good and for the hotspots like Spurn and Fair Isle it was a very big deal.

Although I was working from home, one eye was being kept alternatively on the WhatsApp messages and then on the kitchen window. It soon became apparent that all along our coast it was raining Owls!  At least 21+ Short eared Owls were reported arriving along with half a dozen Long eared, so at lunchtime I took Peggy along the coast path. All seemed quiet until I heard a gull and crows mobbing something.

There, opposite our village entrance was a new-in Short eared owl on the fence, flanked by a Jackdaw paparazzi. Asio owls are scarce on my patch so I was very pleased with this one.

The Owl soon got tired of the Jacks and flew off high to the south.  By now, a few thrushes were arriving, mainly Redwings with a few Song Thrushes. Back home a male Brambling had dropped in with the sparrows on the feeders but was not present a short while later.

A kitchen window shot of the Brambling.

I decided to finish work a bit early and try half an hour on Cullernose Point. The wind here was uncomfortable and buffeting, but 11 Puffins, 9 Red throated Divers, 9 Common Scoter, 2 Little Gull, 1 Brent Goose, 1 Manx Shearwater made in into the notebook. As an oddity, a lone Barnacle Goose was in the sheep field beside the path where it was being chased around by inquisitive sheep, like a Benny Hill sketch!

Barnacle Goose in a moment of respite from sheep torment.

With the forecast looking good, I took Thursday off. At Seaton Point, the rain was steady off a blustery SE wind. Small numbers of migrants were clearly arriving, with 2 Fieldfare, 50+ Redwing, 12+ Blackbirds, a Woodcock, possibly 2,   and a Brambling. At sea with bins only, a nice group consisting of a fem Velvet Scoter, 2 Red breasted Mergansers and 2 Goldeneye flew N along the beach almost over my head. More wildfowl offshore included 7 Pintail, 13 Red throated Divers, 1 Black throated Diver, 3 Little Gulls and an Arctic Tern

The big mistake here was me going back to Howick to seawatch from my home patch. News came through of a drake Surf Scoter coming North with 30 Commons, so I hunkered down to wait. After 25 mins, I picked up the Scoter flock almost straight out from me at half distance. How I missed them further south I don't know. I screwed my eye into the scope and checked every one, They were quite bunched up and doing 30 mph. I thought I saw a white dot in the party but they were going too fast and away from me so, I dipped the Surf Scoter! On checking my phone I saw that Dan had not only seen the Surf close in at Seaton Point, he even managed a photo. Bugger, this is becoming a theme.

Back home for lunch and to dry off. Around 2pm Ben had found a Firecrest at Seaton Point golf course laybye so off I went. Ben, Dan, Mark and myself ( John was working) made up 80% of the Boulmer team getting good views of the bright male Firecrest, Lovely. We checked other areas but apart from thrushes not much was seen. One very late Spotted Flycatcher at the small caravan site was unexpected.

Firecrest, Seaton Point

 On Friday 21st I was working from the office down in Ashington. This location meant I was halfway closer to Whitley Bay where a Red flanked Bluetail and a Pallas's Warbler had taken up temporary residence. At lunch time, the sun was shining and the wind had eased to I went for a look.

A small gathering of 8 or 10 birders made finding the Bluetail quite easy, though viewing was not so comfortable. The other Bluetails Ive seen have been all below head height but this one decided it preferred the tree canopy. Still it was almost constantly on show, so worth the trip. I didn't see the Pallas's but did hear a Yellow browed Warbler briefly in a Long tailed Tit flock but it remained unseen. 

Red flanked Bluetail, Whitley Bay Cemetary.

Red flanked Bluetail from below.
On Sunday 23rd, the fall had largely tapered off.

At Seaton Point a Treecreeper, 2 Brambling, 6 Redwings, 12 Blackbirds, 12 Redpolls and 10 Twite were the only things of interest, so I went twitching again. This time all of 6 miles to Low Newton to try and see a Radde's Warbler found by Gary Woodburn in the wood beside the Tin Church. It was typically skulking but with some patience some brief decent views were had as it flicked around in dead grass and nettles. It called softly a fe times and once it popped up less than a metre from me but quickly dropped again before I could get a shot. This is my 7th county record I think?

Radde's Warbler, Low Newton

As I write this the sun is shining and its mild with a SW breeze. Dan has just found a Pallid Swift at Boulmer but I am working from home. Hopefully this autumn as a few more surprises in store...