Saturday, 30 August 2014

Ruff-fest 3 !!!

After the large count of 28 Ruff on the scrapes a couple of weeks ago HERE I thought it would be some time before a higher count was achieved...... I was wrong.

This morning the scrapes were covered with ruff, 63 ruff to be precise !! An amazing total and having not been around all week I was also very pleased to see a cracking juv curlew sandpiper in amongst the mix of waders this morning.

This mornings totals:

63 ruff !!
1 curlew sand
12 blackwits
19 dunlin
43 snipe
11 redshank
25 lapwing
7 curlew
2 yellow wags
1st winter med gull

Monday, 25 August 2014

Patch Tick !!

Today I was wearing my lucky yellow socks !

These are the same socks I was wearing when I stumbled into a collared flycatcher hence the 'lucky' bit. Since then they have been worn for a little bit for birding, but I tend to now reserve them for good migrant weather to help maximise my chances of seeing a decent bird...... So far they have worked for me a few times, for example, they were on my feet for the lesser yellowlegs earlier this year.

Lucky socks ? Is this a load of old bollox ? The ramblings of a madman ? My missus thinks so...... but I like my little birding rituals !

Anyway today the socks came good once again. I wasn't going to wear them but I haven't done much washing recently so it was a forced decision. A couple of hours seawatching out on the point was hard work, with strong easterlies there is nowhere to shelter and I got battered by the wind. Worth the effort tho with a steady stream of manxies, 1 sooty, a few skuas and then the bird of the day - Cory's Shearwater !!

Another large shearwater patch tick within a week of the last, who says my yellow socks aren't lucky ?

Beadnell Point 11.15 - 13.45

1 cory's shearwater
1 sooty shearwater
23 manxies
4 arctic skuas
1 bonxie

Looks like some potential migrant weather is forecast for this coming week, I'll be stuck down in the Midlands for most of it tho - Typical !

Friday, 22 August 2014


We seem to be in a lull with little change in the way of waders moving through the scrapes this week.

Tonight there was just the same old.....

18 ruff
6 blackwits
29 dunlin
31 snipe
7 redshank
50+ lapwings
1 curlew
6 yellow wags

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


With a week of gale force westerlies howling across the top of Scotland followed by some good northerlies yesterday, I figured today could be a good time for a seawatch. However, my good intentions of getting up early this morning went right out of the window thanks to a bottle of plonk last night !

Anyway, I was pleased to see that not a lot had been reported from east coast seawatches early this morning and I decided to get on with a little bit of work that needed doing instead. As I sat in front of the computer I took the occasional break to look out of the window, whilst a few gannets and fulmars were moving a single manxie was my only bird of note.

As the morning progressed one or two large shearwater reports came in from east coast sites, both cory's and great shearwater would be long awaited patch ticks for me, so I decided to head out after lunch for a couple of hours down at the point.

Seawatching was pretty slow, with just a few manxies and a couple of bonxies in an hour and a half. Just as I was considering how much longer I would stick it out for, a couple more manxies came into view shearing over the waves. I scanned back from them (as I always do) on the off chance they may be being tailed by a Balearic shearwater. Then....... BANG !!....... GREAT SHEARWATER !!

I watched the shearwater for a couple of minutes as it headed north past the point. A superb bird and one I have waited a long time to see on the patch ! Unfortunately it wasn't very close. I only managed a very distant record shot, but if you squint and use a big dollop of imagination you can just about make it out.....

Great Shearwater - A patch MEGA !!
Apart from this patch crippler seawatching was otherwise quite disappointing.

Beadnell Point 13.30 - 15.45

1 sooty shearwater
23 manxies
2 bonxies
1 arctic skua
2 teal

Monday, 18 August 2014

Scrapes again....

Another day and another visit to the scrapes......

2 wood sands
18 ruff
26 blackwits
24 dunlin
1 knot
35 snipe
9 redshank
22 lapwing
1 adult med gull
7 yellow wagtails

A new male ruff has arrived
Med gull

Back at home this morning a few seabirds were moving offshore, best of the bunch were a red necked grebe and a sooty shearwater. There was also a slow but steady movement of manx shearwaters today.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday Evening Scrapes

There has been very little change on the scrapes over the last few days.......

Tonight there was:

2 wood sands
23 ruff
17 blackwits
1 knot
29 dunlin
3 ringed plover
8 redshank
7 curlew
30+ snipe
1 adult med gull
9 yellow wagtails

At home this afternoon 2 wheatears were on the shoreline in front of our house - autumn is here !

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ruff-fest 2 !

The scrapes are still looking too full for my liking at the moment and with a blocked outflow drain sitting under deep ditch water after the heavy rain there is nothing we can do about it right now unfortunately. Hopefully a bit of wind and sun will help the situation.

Anyway the place is still full of birds including what must be a record count of ruff today....

28 ruff !!
1 wood sand
6 blackwits
30+ dunlin
1 golden plover
9 redshank
20+ snipe
100+ lapwing
8 yellow wags

Caspian Gull

I like gulls so it was fairly inevitable that I would eventually crumble to the allure of the showy caspian gull at Amble ! I have to say that I'm very pleased I did. 

Only a quick visit today but some nice flight views, although I was a bit offended that it didn't like the Lidl savers loaf of bread that I purchased especially for the occasion.

The gull was a real performer, lets hope it hangs around long enough to complete that moult, either way I suspect I will be back down to Amble for more views soon.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Wet and Windy....

A couple of pics taken before the howling gales and rain arrived on Sunday afternoon and evening.....


A check of the scrapes this morning was shocking, the outflow drain is blocked and after a night of very heavy rain all mud has gone and we now have a lake !! Hopefully some of the water will seep away over the coming few days to expose more mud again.

Viewing today was very difficult, basically I was stood in the middle of a hurricane and all of the birds were lurking in the grass...

1 wood sand
10+ ruff
8 blackwits
30+ dunlin
8 ringed plovers
22 redshank
30+ oycs
300+ black-headed gulls

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Week at the Scrapes.....

It's been a very busy week dealing with life...... hence no recent blog updates.

I've have however visited the scrapes every day this week, at least once a day, sometimes twice. During the week I've witnessed a steady turnover of birds..... peak counts shown below....

1 wood sandpiper
2 greenshank
12 ruff (2 males)
15 blackwits
3 whimbrel
36 dunlin
13 ringed plovers
76 lapwing
17 redshank
12 curlew
59 oycs
1 adult med gull
16 yellow wagtails

Wood Sandpiper