Thursday 31 December 2009


Rough - what the sea was today and what I will be tomorrow......

As a result of yesterday's easterlies, there was a really huge sea running and today it was still bitingly cold as I stood on the dune scanning through the breakers - to be honest it was like weeing into the wind, I could pick up a couple of red-throated divers and some shags but the sea was too rough....and I was freezing!

Despite wearing nearly everything I own, big thick socks and waterproof over trousers, I was cold. However, some nutters on the beach were obviously tougher than me - they were playing footie in T shirts, one of them was wearing shorts and if that wasn't punishment enough, he took his trainers off and ran round barefoot for 20 minutes! Druridge doesn't disappoint - bizarre behaviour right up to the last day of the year.


The fields behind the meadows were full of birds, starlings, lapwings and crows mainly....but, also a year tick! Seven stock doves were in among the mix.

Coot - one of 11, a modern-day record for Druridge

Before the snow set in I checked the big pool, still five pochards and a record count for 2009 of 11 coots! Then I got my eye onto something odd, on it's own by the island - a duck with a cheek patch - redhead smew was going through my mind - but it was all dark. It took me a short while to fathom as the bird was totally out of context, it was a female type common scoter. I don't think I've seen one at Duridge that hasn't been offshore, it, and the drake red-breasted merganser that was also there must have gotten sick of the rough seas and headed for the safety of Druridge Pool.

Common scoter - totally out of context

So, that was it, last visit to the patch of 2009. It's been an interesting year, not record-breaking by any means. the year list stands at 157, one less than 2008.

Two new birds were added to the patch list during the year....and they were monsters, firstly, the glossy ibis in October, part of an national influx, arriving whilst I was in Spain, thankfully staying for over a month. The second addition was the raddes's warbler, caught and ringed by Neil Anderson, Tom Cadwallender and myself in October whilst Janet was in Canada, as the year draws to a close I think I am forgiven...

Two additions to the Druridge Patch list, Glossy Ibis and Radde's Warbler

Some obvious omissions from the patch list this year include both spotted and pied flycatchers (probably due to these species population decline along with many other trans-Saharan migrants), merlin, pintail, woodcock, whinchat and little auk.

Other highlights this year included spoonbills, garganey (both now almost annual at Druridge), buff-breasted sandpiper, sabine's gull, yellow-browed warbler, firecrest and long-eared owl.

NWT did much in 2009 to improve the habo on their side of the divide, getting the vegetation levels right for the spring which meant a better year for the lapwings and snipe and getting the grazing and water levels right for the wintering dabbling ducks, the grazing animals arrived too late for autumn wader passage though.
So, looking forward to 2010 - hopefully more ringing - including those still elusive twite, good spring and autumn falls and NWT to continue and improve on this years good work. I plan to a CBC style survey of the whole patch in 2010 to give a bit more focus to by patching.
So, to all the readers of this blog, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010 -BRING IT ON!

157 stock dove

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Just like buses......

You wait for two months for a year-tick and just like buses, three come along at once!

In my last post I was moaning that I couldn't see me getting another year-tick before NYE, but a good walk (slide mainly) around the patch yesterday yielded three!

It was cold yesterday, but a really nice, crisp, winters day. A good day to be out to blow some cobwebs away before hitting the drink again. The first year-tick was pochard, at least three of them on the big pool, pochard are very rare at Druridge nowadays and I didn't see any of the spring birds so these three were nice to see.

After checking the pool we walked along the dunes before skating along the haul road to the preceptory, there was a covey of 11 grey partridge along and a handful of snipe feeding along the sunny side of the ditch, I was hoping for stock dove on the piles of chicken-muck, but there were none.

Chibburn Preceptory with the snowy Simonside Hills in the background

We walked down to Low Chibburn Farm where the next year-tick was found (as had been predicted by me earlier) - yellowhammer, another bird I normally see in the spring around the farm. There were three of them in the hawthorns.

At Druridge Hamlet, one of the cottages has a new array of shiny feeders, maybe they where delivered by Santa? They attracted a lot of birds including tree sparrows (year-tick number three), I thought the Druridge tree sparrows had moved on, hopefully this lot will stay around and find our nest boxes.


Hopefully I'll get one more visit in before 12 bells!

153 pochard
154 yellowhammer
155 tree sparrow

Sunday 27 December 2009

Will I get another year tick?

Will there be another a tick for me at Durirdge this year, time is running out.....

A nice walk around the patch with the family on Christmas Day didn't produce one, as I bored them with tales of patchwatching and refusing to let them walk north or south of the patch boundary....

Sister and Brother-in-law down the dune - Not allowed beyond this point, the northern patch boundary!

Our walk did produce a great-spotted woodpecker which are very rare in the winter at dru, always an autumn passage bird, there were a few more thrushes about so maybe it arrived as part of a cold weather influx?

Today I fed the corvids twite food again, then froze my arse off looking at the sea, five red-breasted mergansers (all drakes), nine shag and two red-throated divers...that was it, before the rain came from the north and I retreated home, for hot soup.

So, what chance of a year tick now...slim methinks, probably got two more chances at it, I'm currently on 152, I got 158 last year, which I considered a poor year.

Thursday 24 December 2009

Wintery Webs

A wintery scene greeted me when I went to Druridge this morning to do a somewhat late WeBS count, this should've been done last Sunday but the combination of a gallon of red wine on Saturday night at the Cadwallenders and a 1pm kick off at St James' Park ruled that out.

Wintery Scene

First job though was to put some twite bait out, as usual the corvids were there first - here is a question for you experts out there...Can and do corvids pick up and eat black niger seed from the ground? We thought, perhaps wrongly, that their beaks would be too big to pick up the tiny seed from the ground, but maybe they can? Jackdaw, crows and rooks are the only species we have seen at the seed.

Greedy corvids hoovering up the sunflower hearts and niger?

A somewhat shortened WeBS count as the Budge fields were completely frozen and bird-free, other than a rather confused looking grey heron, which flew off as we approached, not before ungainly losing it's footing on the ice before take-off.

The ducks were congregated in the middle of the big pool, decent numbers but not as many as last month, the highlights being:
mallard 82
wigeon 208
teal 159
tufted duck 47
goldeneye 9

also an amazing, and chart topping for the year, SIX coot! The best bird though was female scaup.

Wintery WeBS

Other than wildfowl, there was little to report, a male sparrowhawk chased a couple of blackbirds and a song thrush from the bushes by the Oddie hide and three or four skylark flew over.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day and we will have our annual pre-pub walk along the beach.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a very merry Christmas to all who read this drivel!

As a footnote, I have noticed the Boulmer Birder has gone to extreme lengths to advertise his excellent blog, maybe he has taken on Mr Tillmouth as his PR adviser?

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Vote for Druridge Pools

Druridge Pools has been nominated as a BOVRIL 'doing up the great outdoors' project - to be in with a chance of winning the £20,000 (which would be used to improve habitat and access at the site) we need people to vote!

So get voting at

Please pass this on to everyone you know to help Druridge to win!

Due to work, the cold weather, social functions, a trip the Dam and preperations for some forthcoming religious event, I haven't been down to the patch for ages. I am hopefully off work on Christmas Eve so will be down there to my delayed webs count - no sign of a thaw though so birds might be thin on the ground....

Sunday 6 December 2009

Tree O'clock

Yesterday was Tree O'Clock, an attempt by BBC Breathing Places to break the world record for tree planting. The idea was that everyone had to plant a tree between 11 and 12 o'clock yesterday follow this link for further information.

We got a free cherry tree from Focus DIY for Tree O'clock last week and I had a rowan which we got free from last years County Show healed into the garden, so 11am yesterday I planted them at Druridge, before zooming off to Newcastle to watch the Toon.

The cherry tree
The rowan tree
Both rowan and cherry are really good for birds and should do well here. Rowan is my favorite British Tree, it has everything - attractive bark, autumn colour, stunning bright red fruit and nice blossom in the spring.

Friday 4 December 2009

Sunny Winters Day

I hate the winter, especially this time of year when it is hardly light and you get days and days of damp gloominess like we've seen for the last couple of weeks. Today was nice though, a crisp, bright and sunny winters day...and I was fortunate to have the day off!

So, bright and early (despite going to see the Yeah Yeah Yeah's at the Academy last night, who were truly awesome) we headed for our Atlas tetrads near Kirknewton on the northern side of the Cheviots.
It was great to be out, giving the old serotonin levels a boost, but the only problem with the Cheviots a this time of year is that the sun rarely gets high enough in the sky to peak over the tops and shine into the valleys.

like night and day...winter in the Cheviots
We did two tetrads and, for the winter, saw a lot of birds, certainly more species than we expected too. Lots of thrushes on anything with berries, a couple of buzzards and a kestrel, two great-spotted woodpeckers...nice stuff!

On the way home we called by Druridge to check the twite scenario, again, the niger had all gone and was topped up, we did locate the twite, at least 80 of them in a mixed flock with goldfinch and linnet, maybe 130 in all, sadly they were all down in Willie Bell's Dunes at Hemscotthill. A flock like this could certainly quickly gobble up a load of niger seed, so I really need to spend some more time down there, hopefully over the Christmas break we might get to catch some.. the wrong place

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Twite appeal

Called by Druridge to chuck some twite food down on the way to work, in a hundred mile an hour gale (it felt like that anyhoo as I staggered about the paddock in my work strides lugging a bag of niger).

I've got a problem though, I reckon the black niger seed is being eaten, rather than being blown away, but as I got to work in the dark and come back in the dark and weekends are hectic with football and social functions, I can rarely get down to druridge to see if twite are coming down.

So, here's an appeal, to readers of this blog who frequent the bay, if you see twite feeding at Druridge, please let me know. The seed is being put out in the small dune paddock immediately south of the pine plantation by the entrance to the patch, some on the track and some on an area of tarmac between the track and the plantation.

So, please let me know if you see anything feeding here....Ta!

Monday 23 November 2009

WeBS Count

I didn't get my WeBS count done yesterday, so as I had today off to go an watch the toon thrash Preston NE tonight, I did the count this morning.

It was a nice, bright morning, with a 4-5 W and not too cold.

NWT have recently been installing some new sluice gates to help control water levels on the wet meadows and they appear to be working well. Both sides of the Budge fields are holding a good level of water for wildfowl. The numbers on the count therefore were quite good, teal numbered 522, wigeon 136 and shoveler 13.

new sluice - looks a bit heath robinson but is doing the job

Wet meadows looking....wet

On the big pool there were 22 whooper swan in the adjacent field, 3 little grebe and 2 coot (Now a massive scarcity at Druridge!) amongst others. A nice male sparrowhawk was sat in the bushes and female came through later pursued by an angry crow! A water rail flew out of the ditch on the track to the hides, hopefully the numbers are high this year and we might get to trap some.

grey heron and cormorant on the very unstable island

A mistle thrush flew in from the sea and plonked itself on a fencepost to rest.

Also the dog warden was on site, hopefully the dog-walking wazacks who let their hairy muts shit all over the dunes might get the message.....

Sunday 15 November 2009

packing up

Another Sunday, another huge hangover....

And not getting home til 4.30 meant no birding at Druridge today. We did go down to Druridge though, chucked some twite food down and packed the ringing site up, taking the poles away to stop them getting nicked, now that the leaves are gone from the trees, they are really obvious.

So, that's it, no more ringing til next May. Well, not quite, we are hoping the twite will find this food and we can whoosh net some of them. We might also try trapping some stonechats and thrushes and maybe even water rails over the winter.

Hopefully I might get some birding in this week, I've procured a little owl nest box, so will need to check out some sites for it.

Wednesday 11 November 2009


I am lacking a bit of it at the moment - Motivation. I did go down to Druridge on Sunday, walked along the beach looking for snow buntings, but there was way too many people there.

Walked back along the road, gave a woman with seven dogs (seven!! not one under what I would call 'close control') a bollocking for not picking up the shit, and went home after seeing very little.

I called in on Monday to chuck some twite food out for the crows and jackdaws to eat....

Off to the big smoke with work tomorrow and I gotta work Saturday, so little chance of birding this weekend.

How long is it til the spring?

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Westerlies grrrr

This morning was a lovely day to be out and about, crisp with clear blue skies after an overnight frost....Nee good for birdwatchers though!

Still my hour at Druridge this morning was better than being in the office, I started baiting up a potential new twite ringing site with some sunflower hearts and niger, it would be great to catch some of them and fathom out where our overwintering twite breed, my money is on Scandanavia, but until we can catch them and get some recoveries we will never know.

There were 4 goldcrests in the plantation but little else of note.

Saturday 31 October 2009

A day of two halves

Today was a day of two very different halves

But before any of that, yesterday I went to Holy Island with work, there were stacks of thrushes, mainly blackbirds, all over the island with good numbers of redwing, fieldfare and song thrush too. I saw nothing rare but it was nice to witness a big fall of thrushes, there were a few woodcocks on the island, one of which seemed to be doing circuits of the village.

This morning, Janet and I put some nets up at Druridge, we only had half the nets up, only at the north end. We chose to net the north end because that is best for thrushes and as there were so many of them on HI yesterday...

We were only ringing between 0730 and 1100 but managed to ring 15 new birds and 2 retraps.

NOISY song thrush


coal tit

Not much else to report from Druridge, there were still 3 greenshank on the pool and an increasing number of ducks.

By 1130 setting sail, on the 'Shockwave' boat for Coquet Island, in absolutely glorious weather, sunny, warm, hardly any wind.....perfect for messing about on boats and islands.
Not many people get the chance to land on Coquet Island, but along with our Young Ranger group from work, we were working for RSPB to begin getting the island ready for next years breeding birds.

Yesterday, I had high hopes of finding something rareish on the Island, but by this morning it was obvious that the majority of birds will have moved onto the mainland.

me, working......

As I working, we didn't have a chance to do too much birding, but Paul the warden was keen to have a bird count done, so after lunch, we went off around the island checking the bushes and gardens. Again, nothing rare but some migrants and wintering species including 72 twite, 30+ blackbirds, 10+ song thrush, 4 redwing , 9 rock pipit, 1 woodcock, 3 snow bunting, 1 black redstart and 14 purple sandpipers.

some of the twite flock, which apparently winter on the island..
Looks like birding tomorrow will be a non-starter as our bit of coast is going to be ravaged by strong SW winds and heavy rain all day.
Ringing totals:
goldfinch 4
blackbird 5
song thrush 2
coal tit 1
blue tit 1 + 1 retrap
wren 2
Robin 1 retrap

Thursday 29 October 2009


I went to Druridge at the crack of sparrows to look for the reported pallas's warbler - no sign, in fact no sign of any phyloscs.

It must have gone overnight...

There were lots of siskins, redpolls and goldfinches moving through the alders, emptying the cones as they went, nice to see the siskins back, my first of the year at druridge. There were redwings flying over at dawn when it was a bit murky, any coming later would've been miles high. A few thrushes in the bushes making the most of the hawthorn and whitebeam berries.

Crappy redpoll pic
There was amazing sky first thing, like the ripples left on the hard sand when the tide goes out...

152 little owl

Tuesday 27 October 2009


So, here's me, doing the ironing, glass of wine, bit of Eagles of Death Metal on the stereo..until about 10 minutes ago when a text comes through from RBA

"Probable Pallas's Warbler Druridge Pools in trees south of Budge Screen path at 1pm"

1pm FFS!!!!! 1pm when it was still light, 1pm when I could've nipped away from work to check it out, 1PM!!!!!!!!


How come it takes til 2015 to appear on the pager, don't these people realise I still need Pallas's for Druridge, I've only been predicting it as my next patch tick for the last two years.

The boss gets back from her hollibobs tomorrow so I've to get her from the airport in the morning, time to squeeze a quick visit to the patch in first though.

Though to be fair, 'probable' in RBA speak probably means it wasn't one anyway, probably a chiffchaff! Still it needs to be checked out.

Sunday 25 October 2009

No Birding

I've not lifted my bins since Friday, yesterday I was the footie and then went to see a storyteller doing 'Frankenstein' at Northern Stage which was great.

I did intend to go out today, but the near gale force westerly put me off, I had at least wanted to pick some sloes from the blackthorns on the patch to make sloe gin, but didn't even manage that, DIY took over and I spent the day stripping paint offuv the stairs.

Dave Elliott texted to say that he had found my owl again in the plantation and it was little owl, I knew that's what it was....

Looks like westerlies for another day, then swinging SSE then South...

151 little owl

Friday 23 October 2009

Crowned it!

Despite my reservations last night, I gave in and went, I still hate twitching, but this one was worth it and I had to really, a first for Britain only 30 miles from home. Shame it hadn't been a few miles further north, to save crossing the Tyne into mackem land! Thanks to Alan Gilbertson for the lift down there!


The bird showed really well, if briefly, but the short glimpses I got were excellent. The twitch was quite well behaved, one chap got particularly angry with people encroaching and started shouting and other than a really annoying woman in a bright red coat no-less, who's pager on loud mode went off every 30 seconds, I didn't feel the need to abuse anyone! One chap did make me laugh, on arriving he proclaimed "I left the house so quickly, I didn't have time to look to see what this bird looks like" he then thumbed the index of his Spotters guide to common British Birds or similar and then quietly put it back in his rucsac....

Back to the sanctuary of Druridge....

Despite going to mackem land and back, I still managed nearly six hours on the patch...and I was rewarded. Pre-twitch from 0750-0940 I didn't see a lot, highlight was unidentified owl. I was alerted to it by a bunch of robins, wrens and tits giving something hell in a lone pine in the plantation, as I approached, it flew out never to be seen again. All I could make out was that it was small (Smaller than SEO or LEO) and brown and appeared to be streaked...I think it was probably a little owl.

Post twitch I went back to the plantation to look for the owl and found a firecrest, in the dense stuff at first then favouring the sycamore and pines by the road. It was a stunningly bright male, sadly no pics as it didn't stay sill long enough. I always work this plantation first during the Autumn, it is normally representatvie of what is about. There were two chiffs, including a grey looking eastern bird, 3 goldcrests, 2 blackcaps and at lest 20 robins in here.

I continued to work through the bushes, right to the north end, seeing more chiffs and goldcrests, a great-spotted woodpecker and lots of robins, but no woodcocks?. At the top end by the whitebeams, there were a few thrushes including three nice redwings and a tit flock, as it moved through I picked up a goldcrest, a chiff and then a yellow-browed warbler in amongst them...nice! I would have loved to turn it into a Pallas's but sadly couldn't so that will remain an obvious gap in my Druridge list for a little longer.

The weather looks crap for birding for the next few days so it'll be lager, football and DIY!

148 firecrest
149 great-spotted woodpecker
150 yellow-browed warbler

Thursday 22 October 2009

Redwings still cometh (to twitch or not to twitch?)

A very quick, nearly in the dark, visit to Druridge tonight after work. Still lots of robins about and a three or four goldcrests near the entrance so it might be boding well for tomorrow's day off.

Redwings still coming over and dropping in at dusk...fingers crossed. If the weather is good we may ring tomorrow afternoon.

22:10 - That plan might be out of the window as MEGA - E. Crowned warbler South Shields Trow quarry has just come on the pager....

What to do?

There'll be loads of wazzacks there, I'll just get annoyed, I've seen lots of them in China, I might miss a new bird for Druridge, there might even be one at Druridge? we might even catch one and ring it?

but... It is virtually on the doorstep and I have got the day off and it is a Monstrously rare bird...

Sunday 18 October 2009

Sunday morning

Not much to report from Druridge today, the bushes were devoid of migrants other than robins. The ibis had cleared off earlier in the morning, spooked by photographers on the baffle banks and flew off north seemingly, I hope it's gone to Hauxley and never comes back and all of the annoying photographers cluttering up the hide will go with it!

Was that a rant?

No news on it either way on RBA tonight. People will still continue to turn up though as there was more NWT spin in yesterday's Journal, strangely NWT didn't mention that the Radde's warbler was actually caught and ringed on the NATIONAL TRUST site....odd eh?

Still a greenshank hanging about and offshore there were at least 18 red-throated divers.

I bumped into Alan Gilbertson today and he gave me an aerial photo of Druridge in 1972 when the site was still being opencast mined for coal. You can make out the dunes and the existing road and the preceptory which was left intact during the mining operation. You can also see 'Big Geordie' the dragline machine There wasn't enough material left to fill the hole, hence the incredibly deep Druridge Pool. Very interesting, thanks Alan!

Friday 16 October 2009

Migrants have cleared out

I thought yesterday's murkiness hanging about until late last night might have kept any migrants on hold and even dropped some more in....not to be!

A few chiffies, blackbirds, robins and redwings and not much else, despite giving the patch a thorough flogging.

At least 1700-1800 pink feet flew N during the morning with a single skein of over 1000 birds.

A bit of excitement this afternoon, some photographers had a jack snipe right out in front of the Oddie hide, I went to twitch it but it had disapeared, so went home for lunch. Alan Gilbertson and Roger Foster found it again later and after much searching I got onto it, fast asleep on the bank, totally camouflaged. A pair of scaup were also on the big pool.


After that a quick seawatch, lots of kitti's and gannets, red necked grebe, 12 red-throated diver, 6 goosander and then 2 skuas, together, the first was a steely grey bird, the second was a pale phase bird, both had a 'jerky' tern-like flight, both distant. I would have put them both down as arctic, but the first was so like a juvvy long-tail, with a real steely grey look......they both had the same 'jizz' , more like long-tailed than arctic....I'll leave it there.
Seawatching at Druridge can be so frutsrating!
147 jack snipe

Thursday 15 October 2009

Flying visits

Two flying visits today, crack of sparrows and then lunchtime. Nothing much new at lunchtime, but first thing it was obvious that birds had come in overnight, I only checked the plantation and willows by the entrance, there were lots of robins, more goldcrests, redwings and blackbirds. There were also at least six chiffs and four brambling in the plantation.

I am off tomorrow so will give the place a thorough thrashing, it looks like this murk will stay with maybe a little rain overnight, then turning northerly, quite strong and getting brighter.

Next Tuesday/Wednesday might be interesting too!

There was an article about buses of birders, ibis and Radde's warblers in today's Northumberland Gazette, with quotes from NWT......

It might not be legible from this scan, sorry.

147 brambling

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Lunchtime Quickie

A very quick visit to druridge this lunchtime, I only managed to check the plantation and willows at the entrance, there were lots of birds in the bushes, blackbirds, song thrush, robins, coal tits with a goldcrest in the plantation. A large flock of starlings were feeding on insects quite high up, flying ants?

Birds were still going overhead, in the gloom, with a few redwings, meadow pipits and a couple of redpolls.

Redpolls and redwings flying over my garden this evening too.

146 lesser redpoll

Sunday 11 October 2009

A good flogging!

That's what I gave the patch today, a damn good flogging, hoping for a firecrest or yellow-browed warbler - anything really, at least it got me away from the masses trying to see yesterdays' Radde's warbler (seemingly somebody was blasting it with a tape/MP3 this morning, no wonder it cleared off - so much for fieldcraft!)

I did the WeBS count first, some good birds on the big pool, of course there was the ibis, there was also two greenshanks, a green sandpiper (year tick!) and two scaup (him'n'her). My counting was put on hold for half an hour as the weekends second bus trip descended on the pools, this lot where mackem birders from south of the Tyne....'weees keees are theeese keees'

The mackem's bus with cars as far as you can see.

This greenshank was feeding on small fish along the edge of the pool, presumably the same fish that are keeping the ibis alive. It looks as if it here for the winter, at least until the cold gets it, a bit like the squacco heron at E. Chevington a few years ago.

Anyhow, my good thrashing of the far-flung reaches of the patch produced little in the way of migrants, there were skylarks calling overhead again and a few meadow pipits. A group of 30 redwing came in off the sea, looked as though they were going to drop into the plantation then flew straight on inland. that was it other than a few robins and blackbirds.

Alan Gilbertson sent me this pic of one of those nice grey robins.

There were lots of these too....

Red Admiral

Some other visiting birders told me they had seen a black-throated diver on the sea, drifitng north. It must of drifted to Hauxley cos it was gone when I looked for it. Still a few red-throats in the bay, but not as many as yesterday.

Tomorrows predicted northerly looks as though it may stay to the west side of north, but Wednesday might have a localised easterly...

144 green sandpiper
145 bar-tailed godwit

Saturday 10 October 2009

Raddecal Birding

Janet is away in Canada for a few weeks, in her absence she was keen to have Druridge 'covered', so tom Cadwallender agreed to supervise any ringing operations in her absence. I texted her last night to tell her that Tom, Neil Anderson and I would be ringing there on Saturday morning, her response was "Have fun but don't catch anything rare though!"....

As if....

We only went and caught a Radde's Warbler!

Breast and Chin




This is my first ever Raddes's warbler in Britain, my second patch tick in a week and a new bird for the patch (I think).

We put the news straight out to enable people to see it before we released it and it caused quite a twitch!

These are really stunning birds, I saw loads of them in China last year but it was a real thrill to catch one here. I didn't get to ring it though, trainee's are last in line for such birds! I am not too fussed though, it was a good ringing tick for Neil!

Radde's is no longer a BBRC description species, so it will just go to the County Records Committee so we'd better not put my name on the description or it will get canned for sure!

It was seen again later by Jeremy Crate and Stef McElwee near the channel on the path to the Oddie Hide.

Other than the Radde's ringing was quite tame, we caught 17 new birds and 5 retraps, other highlights were a female redstart, a chiffchaff and this nice grey-looking robin, surely a continental bird?

After the excitement of ringing I has mosey around the patch, I still couldn't manage a decent photo of the ibis, though the hide was full so I didn't hang around. Instead I went up to the Preceptory and then the farm and back by the hamlet and saw very little, though a covey of 14 grey partridge feeding in the barn at the farm was nice and two grey wags flew over which are scarce at Druridge.

All morning we had skylarks moving overhead, impossible to say how many.

Next was a look offshore, nothing was really moving as such, but there was loads of birds loafing on the sea, the light had gone a bit and the sea was very choppy so viewing was difficult but there were at least 58 (yes 58!!) red-throated divers, 55 common scoter with a single drake scaup in with them, 110 teal and harbour porpoise.

Now, regular visitors to Druridge and readers of this blog will know that strange and obscure behaviour is a regular occurence down here, well, today was no exception. As I was looking on the sea, getting towards dusk, my attention was drawn to a huge 52 seater coach, reversing - I kid you not, along the narrow Druridge track, all the way to the entrance to the hides!

WTF? What is going on here I'm thinking to myself...

So it pulls to a stop and then, the really strange thing, about 20 or so scone munchers clamber off with bins and scopes....obviously twitching the Radde's or maybe the ibis...or maybe both

You can clearly see the lead chappie here sprinting away which suggests they might have been after the Radde's as the ibis has stayed rooted for nearly two weeks, I wonder if they saw it?

What really made me laugh was that they all sat aboard the huge coach as it gingerly reversed along the single track road, if they had got out and walked from the entrance they might have seen some birds!

Ringing Totals

goldfinch 4
wren 5 (1 retrap)
blue tit 1 (2 retraps)
redstart 1
chiffchaff 1
blackbird 2
song thrush 1
robin 1 (2 retraps)

Patch List

Radde's Warbler 219

Year List

Radde's Warbler 141
redstart 142
goldcrest 143