Sunday, 26 October 2014

First for North Tyneside

On Friday me and Pete went for a seawatch at St Mary's taking advantage of amazing light conditions if not ideal winds... A handful of Red-throated Divers, Common Scoter and a single Great Northern Diver whizzed by. At 08.30 I picked up a scoter flying south close inshore. It gave amazing views in perfect viewing and proved to be a female Surf Scoter. Rather incredible this species has never been recorded in North Tyneside before so this should prove to be the first record. I hadnt yet got my camera out of the car so I have had to prove that I cant draw for toffee!

Just prior to the Surf Scoter I had very brief views of a Minke Whale including a rarely seen blow - pathetic is the best word to describe it but the millpond sea and absence of wind gave me my first views of this despite seeing tens of Minke's before.

About ten minutes after the Scoter approximately 15 Bottlenose Dolphins made their way slowly north in a pod containing several young animals. Sadly not too much frolicking but always an awesome sight and I managed a couple of videos.

 David Elliot managed some distant photos of the Rough-legged Buzzard I found at Widdrington Moor whilst looking from West Chevington (closer to where I was). Good for some corroboration and significantly better views than I managed.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Suited and Booted

Dealt severely with one of my bogey birds this morning when I got crippling views of a Booted Warbler at Torness Power Station. It was doing a bit of sub-singing which I guess makes it a male. Also a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat in the same place.

Rolled up to the office and heard a Yellow-browed Warbler calling which is odd as we are in the middle of Gosforth, Newcastle. I managed to get Pete on the call but neither of us saw it.

Headed out for the afternoon and found a male Scaup at East Chevington and then a Rough-legged Buzzard over Widdrington Moor. Madness.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Pan-species Listing

So today I managed to bring 700 species up on my pan-species list with a pair of spiders around the house. One was a bolt from the blue. Well actually from the brown bin where we recycle the vegetable matter from round the garden. And the second was a couple of spiders on the garage door which I have been meaning to look at properly for ages.

The Rabbit Hutch Spider Steatoda bipunctata was on the bin and is one of the native false widows (and not the introduced scare spider S. nobilis). A very smart spider showing the distinctive dimples on its abdomen.

The second was the Missing Sector Spider Zygiella x-notata which came out just before dusk. ID was thanks to Africa Gomez who managed to set me right. Number 700.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Masked Shrike!

Finally got away to see this late on today and had great views as it worked the hedge with a couple of Redstarts. Terrible photos but some bad video as well!

A bonus Redstart messing about below. I also managed very brief views of the Red-breasted Flycatcher.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Ulrome and Barmston

Yesterday I went out for a wander for the first time since a bit of minor surgery and rather gingerly meandered round the patch. A thin scattering of passerine migrants was obvious with squadrons of swallows and finches heading south and the odd Chiffchaff in the bushes. A couple of Wheatears around the wader flash were nice as was a Grey Wagtail heading north. A Grey Heron heading south was a patch year tick.

The drain revealed a couple of Kingfishers and a Sedge Warbler . The plantation wasn't filled with migrants but a Goldcrest could have been either fresh in or a local breeder. Who knows? A decent way to pass a few hours. Plenty of drift going on ATM so hopefully I'll get out this weekend and find something better.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Little Stints at St Mary's

I managed to add plenty to this years St. Mary's Island list over the last couple of weeks with headlines of Little Stint as featured in the video below. Two of them were pottering about with the waders in the South Bay on Monday evening. I have also managed to add both Grey and Yellow Wagtails, Water Rail and some other common stuff taking the yearlist on to 98 species and 120 patchwork challenge points (only 13 behind Barmston). Also features below is a bad video of the Prestwick Carr Woodchat Shrike.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Cheeky Seawatch

So today I decided to sleep in, do nowt and then play away from home with a trip to Flamborough. Old fall flash revealed nowt so I went for a seawatch between 1520 and 1930. Aside from a sore back and cold arse I managed a few decent birds. First up was a dark morph adult Pomarine Skua giving a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull hell. Aside from that very little was doing other than triples of Arctic Skua and Manx Shearwater. Craig Thomas then found a Caspian Gull on the sea in front of us. A very sexy juvenile and a much overdue Yorkshire Tick...

Then Brett came along and 2 different Cory's Shearwaters went north. It is almost five years to the day since my last Yorkshire Cory's in the same place. Below is perhaps the worst picture of a large shearwater ever... In my defence it was about 2 miles out.

Both birds tracked north slowly and were on show for 15 minutes each although the second bird kept putting down on the water. All said a successful day!

Ornithological Idiocy

How brains and birds become mutually exclusive