Saturday 23 May 2009


A very quick visit to Druridge tonight, my last for a week or so as I am off to sunnier climes.

Only a black-tailed godwit of note on the Budge fields. Offshore, the sea was flat and visibility good, good conditions for tern-watching, though there weren' t that many about, I did see my rozza of the year. Thursday's great northern has moved on, so all in all, pretty quiet.

112 roseate tern

Thursday 21 May 2009

Great Northern

A quick visit to Druridge tonight with nothing much to report other than a splendid summer-plumaged great northern diver offshore, not too far off either. You don't often see the 'big' divers in Druridge Bay in summer plumage so this was all the better.

There were also five red-throats offshore in a variety of plumages.

Not much to report on the pools, migrant waders today numbered 13 ringed plover, 2 dunlin and a curlew.

This grey partridge was in front of the little hide, the other half of the pair was, unknown to me, even closer, I only realised when it flew out from in front of the hide calling.
111 great northern diver

Monday 18 May 2009

Tonights waders

A bit of a wader update, but firstly, the spoonbill is still here and thankfully tonight he was a bit closer allowing some piccies, unfortunately, he wasn't' active for long and soon went back to sleep!

There was also a good scattering of waders again including a stunning little stint which was nicely turning orangey,a nice year tick, below dwarfed by the black-tailed godwit.
more godwits
There were two male redshanks displaying to a single female, quite impressive to watch, I wished I had videoed it, but here's a pic
The waders were spooked from the Budge fields by a marauding carrion crow, the little stint didn't return, but some of the ringed plovers and dunlin returned to the front of the Oddie hide, allowing some photo's.
There were more ringed plover and dunlin on the beach with two summer plumage sanderlings, other than a pair of little grebe appearing on the big pool, not much else to report

110 little stint

Sunday 17 May 2009

Sleepy Spooner

All good intentions of doing atlas work this morning, were knocked on the head when the Toon got beat yesterday and sorrows needed drowning. My leisurely start to the morning, after staying in bed til gone 1030, cam to an abrupt end when I checked the mobile to see a message from Dave Elliott saying 'Spoonbill at Druridge'. Thankfully it was still there when I turned up 5 hours after he had found it.

It didn't do a lot, spoonbills rarely do, it just slept a lot. It wasn't even close enough for a photo as it was right over by the heronry wood. After getting our fill of the spooner, we had a roam around the patch.
There wasn't much to report though, none of the goodies that Newbiggin has turned up. There's a few young birds about, one of the lapwing pairs had two small young today and there appears to be another young gadwall. There were 4 pheasant chicks cheeping in the wood, after the mother was scared off by me trampling about.

We spotted a meadow pipit feeding young in the dunes, and found the nest with 5 large ringable young, so they got ringed and put back. I wish I had more time to look for nests, but never have.
Above top the mipit nestlings in the nest and above, one of the nestlings after it had been ringed
On the non-bird front, I saw my first wall brown butterfly of the year

We also came across this plant, I can't find it in my book, I think it might be a saxifrage, but have posted it below so hopefully Nigel or Stewart can help me out.
109 Spoonbill

Saturday 16 May 2009


guuarrgghhh, that's how I felt this morning, with tales of iccies and firecrests coming from Newbiggin and some nice easterlies and fog, I knew I should be at Dru. BUT, having gone to watch the cricket at Chester-le-Street yesterday that didn't happen, we decided to spend the the next 11 hours in the booozer, hence the guuarrggghhh!

Anyhoo, I managed to get an hour at Druridge before hitting the lager again before the match. I bashed the bushes, but found very little, garden warbler, a singing male, was the only year tick.

Had my hangover not prevailed and we had gone ringing, I am sure we might have turned up a rare or two

108 garden warbler

Thursday 14 May 2009

Wader Update

A quick wader update, tonight there were:

dunlin 2
ringed plover 5
whimbrel 3
redshank 2
ruff 6
wood sandpiper 1

Also new broods of 5 shoveler, 10 and 9 mallards, 2 gadwall and yesterday's 2 yellow wags are still present.

107 wood sandpiper

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Yellow wags

I saw my first yellow wags of the year at Druridge tonight, a pair of them on the mud in front of the little hide, these fantastic birds appear to be getting scarcer and scarcer.

Crappy record shot of a yellow wagtail

I went to Druridge looking for a bluethroat tonight, the Farnes had one today and there was one Holy Island. No such luck at Dru, bluethroat would be a full patch tick for me, though they are the Druridge list.

There was nothing much different about Druridge tonight than there was last night, even the flying man was back again. Dunlin now number 8 and ringed plover 5. A female greenland race wheatear was near the parking area. And to prove you can never have enough stonechat pics on one blog:

106 yellow wagtail

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Flying Man

I've had a couple of visits to Druridge since my last post, clinging on to the hope that a rare wader might have dropped onto the budge fields.

Yesterday morning, before work, there were two greenshanks on the Budge with a few dunlin and ringed plovers. Another pair of common whitethroat were also found, so there are three confirmed territories at Druridge.

Tonight, it was all very quiet, one dunlin on the Budge fields and little else of note. I headed for a quick look on the sea and spotted the stonechat family in the bushes and I am happy to say that all three younguns we ringed out of the nest have fledged and are sporting their shiny new rings.

Above top, ringed juvvvy stonechat and above the 'fatha'

I was joined on the Dunes by Trev Blake, we had both noticed a chap carrying a huge rucsac - but weren't prepared for him rising up above the dunes and flying over our heads - unpowered!
the flying man takes off
And then flies over me n Trev's heads!

and there he is off over the dunes, we watched him for a bit, then got bored, the next we noticed he was lugging the whole kit and kaboodle along the beach, must have had a crash landing!
I've added this to my 'Bizzare Behaviour at Druridge' list!
Trev and me had an adult little gull flying south, which was all of note.
105 little gull

Sunday 10 May 2009

A busy afternoon at Druridge

There were an awful lot of birdwatchers at Druridge today, I say 'birdwatchers' rather than 'birders' cos the majority of them were from an RSPB members group visiting from York, all very nice people and very interested in Druridge.

It was also WeBS day, so I did a full count of the waterbirds, in fact I had a good three and a half hour mosie around the patch.

On the Budge fields, there were a few groups of waders with 9 blackwits, 19 ringed plover and 13 dunlin. The greylag pair have hatched out four goslings and were parading them about and there was a little egret and drake garganey too.

Also on the wader front, I had two whimbrel and greenshank over. A 'courting' pair of common terns were right out in front of the Oddie hide, every now and again, he would go off and bring her back a fish ....nice!
This redshank was there too
A common sandpiper on the edge of the big pool was a nice year-tick, my only year-tick of the day.
Not much on the sea, so I went off, scouring the dunes for whinchats (there had been some elsewhere on the coast). I found three wheatears at the north end, here are two of them.

I don't often get time to walk through the dunes, I was impressed at the number of cowslips, which are just starting to go over and just coming up are the first bloody cranesbill flowers.

I spotted two of the three stonechat youguns in the dunes, sporting their nice shiny rings on their left legs.

It looks like easterlies for the foreseeable future, so with Druridge looking ripe for a rare wader or maybe even a nice bluethroat I will try to get down there at least once a day this week.

104 common sandpiper

Friday 8 May 2009


It was GODWIT way at Druridge tonight! We popped down for an hour after work, despite the near gale-force wind and squally showers. From the Budge screen we could see 'a few' godwits on the pool in fornt of the little hide, so we tootled round there. When we got there, there were only 36 of them! in a range of plumages from dark-brick red full sum-plum jobs to greyish looking wintery jobs, all very nice to see and in such good numbers (I got a text from Paul Stewart to saythat another 6 had dropped in later making 42!)
some of the 36 fuc...ooops sorry blackwits

Nothing much else to report, there was a single little egret on the Budge fields again, a male 'greenland' wheatear and 3 ringed plover on the beach.

A lapwing

I went through my 2009 Druridge list the other night and found four year-ticks I've missed offuv the blog - couch ticks which sadly includes the 100th of the year :-((

100 blue tit

101 great black-backed gull

102 little grebe

103 cormorant

Monday 4 May 2009

Busy weekend

It's been a busy weekend so Druridge has been somewhat neglected I'm sorry to say. On saturday we were 'Atlassing' tow tetrads in the north of the county, the first one was near Hethpool and the second one in farmland north of Kirknewton. I've been in the College valley many before, it is a beautiful place which I really like. It was a cracking morning morning so nice to be out and to see birds that are scarce on the coast like yellowhammers, garden warblers, redpolls and cuckoo.

The College Valley near Hethpool

The Kirknewton tetrad took me along roads that I had never been on before, there aren't many of them left in Northumberland.

On the way home, we called briefly to check the nest boxes - one blue tit sitting tight. Dave Elliott stopped to say he had seen yellow wagtail on the Budge fields so I called by for a look, no sign of it but there were 3 whimbrel, a bar-tailed godwit and a wheatear.

An away trip to Liverpool ruled yesterday out, meaning the garden won today, but I managed a quick hour at Druridge this afternoon. It was like an October afternoon without the migrants - bloody cold!

A greenshank on the Budge fields was a year-tick, 2 ringed plover were there too and at least six swifts were on the wing. Offshore I had my first arctic terns of the year, there were 7 red-throated divers, some in stunning summer plumage and finally a single female wheatear on the dunes was almost certainly of the greenland race.

98 greenshank

99 arctic tern

Friday 1 May 2009


A quick visit after work tonight and a quick post...

Highlights were drake garganey and black-tailed godwit on the Budge fields

Atlassing in the Cheviots tomorrow, so I hope that spooner from E.chev doesn't put in a quick visit to Druridge tomorrow!