Sunday, 21 September 2014

Fea's Petrel !!!.....

........ Well, to be more accurate Fea's/Zino's Petrel.

With a Fea's Petrel tracked up the coast of Yorkshire this morning I got a little excited and sent out a text to alert a few locals. I made a deal with myself that if it was seen as far north as Whitburn I might head out to Beadnell Point for a look, if it was seen past Newbiggin then I would DEFINITELY head out to the point for a look !

When it appeared at Whitburn I crumbled early and the decision was made. I recruited the good company of Stewart and Bazzer and we headed out to the point for our seawatch - the more pairs of eyes the better/strength in numbers.... and all that !

After some complicated mathematics I calculated that if the Fea's continued at it's current speed it should be flying past Beadnell at approximately 17:20. As this time approached we were all glued to our scopes (and had been for over an hour and a half).

17:20 came and went, but no Fea's Petrel action. Hmmmm........ flawed mathematics.......
Then at approximately 17:26 a distant bird appeared to the south that seemed to have a different flight action. It was tracked for a few seconds before it banked and showed off a black underwing and bright white belly.... FEA'S PETREL !!!

All hell broke loose as a stream of over-excited and very poor directions only helped people to locate a number different lobster pot bouys in an otherwise featureless sea !

Luckily the target was getting closer and now approaching a pre-designated pink marker bouy (planning pays off !). With all eyes trained on the bouy everyone connected as the Fea's flew past it. We all then continued to track it north until it passed Beadnell Point, by which time it was a little closer too.

Once it had passed the point we just grinned at each other and Stewart remarked '....what just happened ?!!'.

At 'mid distance' this bird was not quite as close as I would have liked, but it was still plenty good enough to see good details and nail my 2nd Fea's Petrel on the patch.

After last year's incredible bird HERE, I never thought I would ever see another Fea's in the UK let alone on the patch !!

A great experience with excellent company - thanks guys !!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Sun !

I made couple of visits to the patch today, an early morning and a mid afternoon check.

Nothing new to report really, breezy conditions made birding quite difficult but 2 RBFs and a barred warbler are still present....

I've been checking the scrapes daily this last week but there has been little change to report and the passerine migrants have stolen the show for the last few days too.

Today on the scrapes there was....

30 ruff
18 blackwits
13 dunlin
11 redshank
3 golden plovers
29 snipe
16 lapwings

Down at Newton Pool this morning there was very little in the way of obvious migrants, just a few chiffs and a couple of goldcrests.

This afternoon the sun appeared for the first time in about a week ! I hoped that this might help to make birds more active but unfortunately the windy conditions still ensured most stuff was difficult to see amongst moving foliage.

In a few of the more sheltered spots some birds were enjoying the sun. 2 RBFs, 1 barred warbler, 2 redstarts, 1 lesser whitethroat and 2 garden warblers were logged amongst the commoner blackcaps, chiffs and goldcrests.

The star of the show today was this cheeky weasel that ran out in front of me while I was stood looking at some elder berries !

A cheeky weasel !
The weather looks set to change imminently, clear skies tonight may see some of this weeks grounded migrants departing, then a week of westerlies ahead doesn't hold much promise.....

One of todays redstarts

Friday, 19 September 2014

Floggin the Patch.....

I managed a few hours back out on the patch today.

It was hard going and it didn't feel like there were new birds arriving, the only obvious new arrivals in the ringing site were a lesser whitethroat and a redstart. However, there is some headline news - a third RBF appeared today when the 2 ringed birds were joined by an unringed individual.

This is great news but I strongly suspect that there have been 3 birds here the whole time, when I had extracted 2 birds from mist nets the other day I was sure that I heard another bird calling. With three birds in the ringing site and a bird down at Newton Pool yesterday too, there is a possibility that there are actually 4 RBFs in the area !

The third RBF - great birds !
Today I spent hours methodically searching all the areas of bramble and elders for that ultra skulky barred warbler. I had an brief millisecond glimpse this morning, then in the afternoon it finally gave some brief views when it hopped into some bare branches of a hawthorn. It was only on show for a matter of 15 seconds before dropping back into the deep cover of the elders.

Record shots of the barred, a great bird but what a skulky fecker !
Whilst looking for the barred warbler the elders gave up a few other berry munching sylvias, 1 lesser whitethroat, 4 garden warblers and many blackcaps.

Garden warbler on the berries
Lesser whitethroat
 Also logged today, 2 redstarts, 2 siskins and 1 grey wag flew over heading south.

Today's star of the show

Thursday, 18 September 2014

More Murk, More Migrants......

Today was another day of fog and mist on the coast, at times it was so dense you couldn't really see much at all !

This morning I checked out Newton Pool, I have neglected this area for a couple of days in favour of flogging the coastal headlands and birding around the ringing site.....

Early morning down at the pool was good with a very elusive RBF lurking in the garden at Risemoor, and a pied fly and 2 lesser whitethroats in the willows. In front of the hide 2 water rails were 'showing well'.

I had my usual commitments today so birding ended at 9am.

At lunchtime I crumbled and headed back out into the murk. This time I hit the ringing site again and took a walk out to Newton Point to check the compound.

Out at the compound a willow warbler and a robin were the only birds present in thick mist.

Despite the lack of compound birds, some birds were clearly fresh in to the ringing site this afternoon including a redstart, a wheatear and quite a few chaffinches.

At least 1 (possibly 2) RBFs were still present this afternoon and a superb barred warbler showed very well for about 5 seconds until I pointed a camera in it's direction. From that point onwards it turned into a skulky fecker refusing to give itself up. I presume this was probably the same bird that was skulking in the compound yesterday afternoon.

One extremely skulky fecker !!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Fresh In - Barred Warbler

Another day of decent migrant weather and a few more hours out birding the patch.

Today I was joined for a couple of hours by one Andrew Stringhorn from that place down south called Durham (that's the one just above CLEVELAND Andrew). Anyway, a quick flog around the patch was made and on arrival at Newton Point we bumped into a cracking barred warbler !

Obviously fresh in it was in company of 2 robins and 2 chaffinches. In usual barred warbler fashion it was an absolute pig to see, I saw it just twice in the bushes and twice in flight, great bird tho and one of the flybys was superb.

Also still present today was at least 1 RBF.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Smelly feet !!

Well...... Having seen the weather forecast I have had no option but to wear my lucky yellow socks for 2 days running. 

2 days, same socks, lots of walking in sweaty wellies.....My feet now pong !!

Anyway it was well worth the smell. Yesterday saw some very nice birds, all of which seemed to still be around today. 

After yesterdays little fall of migrants I decided to dedicate the whole of today to ringing. A long day which saw me opening the nets at dawn and packing up late in the afternoon. The numbers of birds ringed was a little disappointing (only 30 odd) but what it lacked in quantity it made up for with quality - garden warblers, blackcaps, chiffs, goldcrests, robins and best of the bunch 2 red-breasted flycatchers !!

RBFs - Stars of the show....
Some more good migrants were logged around the ringing site today including 1 yellow-browed warbler, 1 redstart and 2 bramblings, all of which managed to avoid the nets. Some early morning 'vis' was also evident with plenty of meadow pipits, 2 yellow wags, 2 grey wags and a few skylarks and chaffinches.

Another good day and well worth the smelly footwear !

A little fall......

Yesterday the weather finally looked good for some grounded migrants........

I headed out in the morning with great optimism, but apart from a few common migrants it was hard going. Then late morning/lunchtime (as is often the way) it became apparent that birds were arriving. A flog around the headlands was in order....

At Newton Point the compound held a couple of robins, a chiffchaff, a goldcrest, a wheatear and a whinchat. Next it was off to Low Newton where a spotted flycatcher was flycatching from the exposed fenceposts near the boatyard. Then down at Newton Pool garden warblers, blackcaps, chiffchaffs and goldcrests were all logged in reasonable numbers.....

Spot fly in the gardens next to the boatyard

Newly arrived chiff in the compound
I decided to head back home to Beadnell to check the headland and it's gardens. Half an hour on the exposed headland saw 'in off the sea' arrivals of 2 redstarts, 1 black redstart, 1 garden warbler and 2 redwing ! Stuff was happening and the rocks here seemed to be hopping with with robins, with a couple of wheatears thrown in for good measure too. In the headland gardens 2 garden warblers, multiple goldcrests and a chiffchaff were logged.

Newly arrived redstart and robin on the rocky outcrop of Beadnell Point

Dodgy record shot of a black redstart on the rocks...
Finally, I decided to return to Low Newton and have a good look around the ringing site for mid afternoon arrivals. A wise move as the best birds of the day materialised here.... not one but 2 red-breasted flycatchers closely followed by a cracking yellow-browed warbler !

Even worse record shot of a RBF....
As it got towards late afternoon birds were still arriving and a large flock of vocal chaffinches arrived in off the sea and settled into the ringing site to roost for the night.

A cracking day of migrant action.

Sunday, 14 September 2014


This little beauty was ringed at Newton Pool this morning...

The ringing group very kindly sent me a text which allowed me to get there in time to see it - thanks for that Chris.

A cracking little thing, it was last seen flying into the walled garden, plenty of large sycamores in there so it may hang around.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

All quiet....

Another fairly quiet week this week.....

I saw my first merlin of the autumn down at Low Newton on Wednesday. The scrapes also received multiple visits from a peregrine on Thursday causing a scattering of birds, since then waders numbers seem to have have tailed right off.

This morning the scrapes held....

4 curlew sands
1 greenshank
34 ruff
6 blackwits
23 snipe
7 redshank
3 curlew
2 yellow wags

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


A walk on the beach in front of our place this morning produced 2 yellow wags and a grey wag amongst the many pied wagtails.

Cit wag next please !!