Friday 31 August 2007

What to call this post....

Well, when I set out from home this post would probably have been titled "woeful westerlies" as there was a strong westerly and bright sunshine, but I thought, what the hell, I'll have a look anyhoo. And I am glad I did, as it could equally have been called 'wonderful waders' or 'tern-tastic'. Nowt from the Budge Screen, but from the little hide - woooah! The spooners were back, with 19 blackwits, 2 greenshank, 2 ruff, 15 dunlin and 3 snipe.

A family from Leicestershire were in the hide, most impressed with the array of birds, but they were used to Titchwell RSPB, what must they have thought of the little hide at DP? the door is now propped up against the wall and the grass is growing up around the shutters - welcome to birding in Northumberland!!!
I thought I would check the sea, at least to see if y'days GND was still around, which it wasn't, but the sum plum RTD was with a stunning pale-phase arctic skua and just as i was packing up a juvvy black tern flew south, which I watched as far as Cresswell. Eeez niizzze!
Tonight's posting was brought to you with the help of "FOSTERS LAGER", "JACK DANIELS WHISKEY" and music by "THE WILDHEARTS"

Thursday 30 August 2007

Return of the Spooners

They're back! The Spooners, if only briefly on their way from East Chevington to Cresswell Pond, I wonder how long they're gonna hang around for - they certainly brighten things up on the bay. Of note on the budge fields were 8 dunlin and 2 greenshank.

I had spotted TB seawatching from the dunes, he had briefly seen one of the big divers, so I went for a look. We soon re-located it, north of where it had been - it proved to be a great-northern, in non-breeding plumage, but still nice nonetheless, that's all three of the common divers this month, I reckon August is a good month for seeing the bigger divers in the bay. There was also two red-throats on the bay, one still very much breeeding in nick. This is the first time I've managed to digi-scope a bird on the sea - crap I know, but hey......

An hours seawatching also produced 5 manxies, a pale phase arctic skua, close in, 3 red-breasted mergansers and not much else! None of the goodies seen further south today!

Wednesday 29 August 2007

Not so grim up north

Another DP-free day, was working/walking (no pronunciation change required for those in Ashington...or ADMc) in the north of the County today. From Fenwick to Berwick (12 miles), highlights were a short-eared owl, peregrine and ruff at Goswick and a merlin at Cocklawburn.

Monday 27 August 2007


I've not been to DP over the weekend, was at the Carling Leeds Weekend, watching bands and generally getting wasted, I did have two red kites over the campsite though, really close to the, mostly worse for wear, campers. (Leeds photo's on facebook)

To recover my excesses I headed down to DP for a couple of hours this afternoon, of note on the meadows were 19 Dunlin and greenshank. There were two or three willow warblers in the bushes by the screen hide and a painted lady butterfly with lots of wall browns on the track.

Nothing of note on the pool. I then did an hours seawatching from 4 til 5pm:

arctic skua (1 pale, 1 dark)
manx shearwater 16 (feeding with 100+ kittiwakes)
common Scoter 120 and 80 south
velvet scoter 1
red-throated diver 2
bonxie 2 (north)
sooty shearwater 12 (all north)
whimbrel 1 south calling.

The Seawatchers at Newbiggin had 3 great shearwaters past by 1800 - sods law, so I headed back down to Druridge for another hours seawatching from 1900-2000. No great shears for me but:

Sooties 19 north
manxies 48 north
arctic skua 1
bonxie 1 south

Thursday 23 August 2007


Happened to be working in the Belford area today, so when news of a greenish warbler on Holy Island came out I couldn't resist it - a new Britsih bird for me. It hadn't been seen since mid mornin (found by Stevie Rippon), I arrived late afternoon and headed down the straight lonnen, I saw a phlylosc almost immediately in a hawthorn then promptly lost it, after meeting ADMc, we walked back and he spotted a warbler in some elder opposite my hawthorn...BINGO....the greenish! It showed well, but briefly for 5 mins or so, in and out of bushes, then didn't call once. I had to go to by this stage, but it was in the bag......RESULT! It's amazin, when you see a bird, but not well enough to clinch it, then see the same bird again, you just knaaa it was the one!

Monday 20 August 2007

Birdfair and black-throat

Work is tough, I'll tell ya, I've just had to endure a weekend at the British Birdfair in the name of work! (seriously it was totally knackering). I reckon the Birdfair is a must visit event, if only once, for every birdwatcher, seven marquees packed full of the latest optics and gadgets, books, art, clothes as well as holiday firms and birding destinations from all over the world. To be honest, far too many opportunities to spend far too much cash, which I did in spectacular style, not only buying 4 books when I wanted 1, but also booking an £1100 trip to India. . No time for any birding at Rutland though, not only was I on the Northumberland Stand, but was volunteering on the BirdLife Malta stand during my time off. This is our stand with TAC and Mark Winter getting a bit friendly(!!!) and John-boy Whalton in action.Cracking shots for the backdrop!

I got a text from STH this morning telling me he had a little egret from the Budge Screen at DP, bugger it, I was on my way to work in the work van with no scope or bins. Called down there tonight after work, but it had gone, in fact a greenshank on the Budge fields was the only thing of note, so I decided to a quick seawatch as there had been bits and pieces reported on Birdguides from further down the east coast. Typically for Druridge, the three sooty shearwaters I had were distant and they came through together, other than a few manxies and good numbers of gannets and kitti's, little else was on the move. Much more interesting though was what was loitering on the sea. About 1/3 of the way out was a black-throated diver, these are by far the most scarce of the three divers that regulalry occur in the bay, this was an adult, well into winter plumage. Unfortunatly it was too far away to get any photo's. Also loitering offshore were c90 common scoter, 2 red-breasted merganser, great-crested grebe and a handful of guillie's and razorbills. 12 sanderling were on the shore. The cold NE wind made it feel very autumnal. On the way home I noticed that the two spooners had moved to Cresswell Pond - they definately enjoy each-others company!

Wednesday 15 August 2007

More Spooner Action

After a very wet start, the BBC forecast was right for a change, (put that Bladder Wrack away girl, there's no need!) dry by ten. Called in at DP on the way home from a nice walk between Seahouses and Belford (God, I hate my job). The spooners were still there, with yet more interaction, I am convinced these two are related, check out these pics!

A bit of change on the waders scene, 3 juv ruff, 1 juv spotshank and a black-tailed godwit...oh and a handful of snipe. Offshore there was a very smart drake velvet scoter, the first one i've seen in donks.

Is That me?

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Rain again....

Popped down to DP tonight with the hope that today mist'n'rain might have dropped some waders in, but it was peeing it doon, so didn't even leave the car. But I thought I would post a couple of pictures from last weekend, when the sun was shining (That was it, our summer, three days, hope you didn't blink and miss it). The first is comma, had two of these at the weekend, the first I have ever seen at Druridge. The first one, which I didn't manage to photograph, was in better nick than this one. The other pic is an arty shot of a soldier beetle on a thistle.

Monday 13 August 2007

And then....there were two!

As if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared....not quite but a second spooner did! I guess this is the youngun that's been loiterin at E.Chev for so long. There was quite a bit of interaction between them, tugging at each others feathers with their bills and kinda clattering their bills of each other, maybe they're related? I like the third pic with the crest showing on the adult bird.

The spotshanks have cleared off but the two ruff were still there. Oh, and a miracle happened, NWT have been and cut the grass in front of the hides, now I have no excuse for out-of-focus pics! There were a few peacock and wall brown butterflys about. I did a brief seawatch and had two Arctic Skua and a manxy. 15 grey partridge on the road by the plantation were nice, looks like they've had a good year.

Sunday 12 August 2007


A mammoth drinking session on Saturday (garden party, morpeth, the local then to the beach with a bottle of wine....then in the sea) meant a late start at Druridge, gone 5pm....

But the effort was worth it, an adult Spoonbill on the Budge Fields, first from the Budge Screen, then it flew to the front of the little hide. A nice bit of mud had developed in front of the Little Hide, although the veg is deep (A note to NWT..PLEEAASE open the gate and let the cows in to this side!!!!!!!!!!!!), The mud had attracted two spotted redshanks, two ruff and a dozen or so Snipe, something decent on my WeBS count returns for a change!

By the Car Park, Bob Gadjus spotted a young hedgehog wandering towards the fence, not very often you see them during the day
Offshore, seven manx shearwaters moved north, two of the lingered in the bay feeding quite close to the shore.