Monday 21 June 2010

long day, little gull

Well, June 21st, solstice, it's all down hill from here, it'll be autumn before we know it and there rarities will be piling into Druridge........

Back to reality, a quick dodge to the patch tonight after work produced very little, the sea was so far out it was in Norway so no use looking at it.

On the big pool, yesterdays ruff had gone (though had been seen by Alan Gilbertson this afternoon) as had the great-crested grebe. A first summer little gull flew through, another welcome year tick and this grey heron kept us entertained feeding on sticklebacks in front of the hide. Another new brood (3) of gadwall were also on the big pool.

grey heron feeding on sticklebacks

MSK sent me a pic of the ruff - nice eh?
male ruff - image: Martin Kitching

127 little gull

12:15am - A report has just come onto RBA to say there was an unconfirmed BRIDLED TERN at East Chevington this lunchtime....

Sunday 20 June 2010

Lost bonxie

I spent this morning ringing at Gosforth Park, it was steady going and we caught some good birds.

This afternoon, just as we were about to set off to visit the outlaws, MSK sent me a text to say there was a bonxie on the main pools at Druridge, so a diversion had to made. The bonxie was sat on the island at the far end, a pretty sick-looking bird that didn't look as though it had long for this world. What the good Doctor didn't tell me about in his text was the fantasticly stunning male summer plumage ruff that was prancing about in front of the Oddie Hide.......guess who had left his camera at home, well we were only calling in on the way to the outlaws weren't we?

When Martin sends me a pic of the ruff I'll post it - stunning bird!

126 bonxie

PS - Bugger! Just read bird boulmer birders blog, missed WeBS count today...

Saturday 19 June 2010


A very pleasant afternoon was spent  in Bob Biggs' garden with a smattering of local birdwatchers for another one of Bob's excellent fund-raising garden parties.

I got a call from Dave Dack to say he was at Newbiggin and had seen an adult long-tailed skua, so my mind was made up, a seawatch was in order. I did an hour between 7 & 8 and it was pretty quiet, 7 manx sheawaters and a single dark phase arctic skua being the highlights.

An hour in the little hide produced a brood of six gadwall duckilings and three broods of mallards. When I was wasn't owl watching on Thursday night, I had a brood of four gadwall and a brood of six shoveler.

Still no cuckoo.....

Ringing at Gosforth tomorrow....

Thursday 17 June 2010

not a hoot

A late visit to Druridge tonight, just generally scanning about, but with the hope of an owl of any species...not one!

The regular barn owls aren't breeding at Druridge this year, last year, the male was seen with a broken leg, so that may have put an end to the regular pair.

The little owls have been seen just outside the patch on Druridge Lane regularly, but not inside the patch yet. A few people saw short-eared owl when the GW egret was here, I didn't and there has been recent reports of a long-eared owl on the bay. Tawny owls are rarer than rocky-horse shit on the patch.

So there you have it, nearly half way through the year and not an owl on the list!

Long day

I did another territory mapping survey at Druridge this morning before work, nothing much to report, lots of birds feeding young including reed bunting, whitethroats and chaffinches and meadow pipits (below). Lots of fledged starlings, like 350+, flying about too. Then work all day......

Then, this evening, after work, went out ringing barn owls, we ringed four young at a box near Acklington Prison, then checked some more without success, so we went for fish'n'chips at Amble before heading back to Druridge at 8.3pm0 to strim the fronts of the hides.

They quickly get overgrown at this time of year and you could hardly see out of them, so an hour or so's back-breaking labour had them sorted.

A quick look on the sea produced a couple of great-crested grebes. Got home at 22.20......knackered!

Monday 14 June 2010

Dogs in Northumberland

No Druridge this weekend, I was at the Download festival at Castle Donington, watching the greatest live band in the world ever and some other really cool bands.

I 'popped in' this evening for a little while, not much doing.... I need to get down with the strimmer asap to cut the grass in front of the hides, yer can't see ooot! I did get a couple of moths pics, but they will have to wait until later in the week too.

I and many other Northumberland bloggers often mention dos and dog walkers, often in an negative way, well, the Coonty Cooncil are currently consulting on a range of proposed new dog control orders.

Have your say at

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Marsh Warbler still singing

I stopped at Druridge for literally five minutes tonight, in the rain and cold northerly wind - it felt more like late October than early June.

After I had 'bollocked' a couple in a landrover who had driven over the mounds that are either side of the road at Druridge, that are there obviously to keep vehicles out ....Why is that people who buy 4X4's feel some strange urge to do silly things? 

If there is grassy knoll in an otherwise perfectly flat car park,  you can bet the 4X4 owning wazzack will park on it!

The marsh warbler was still singing from the willows over the mound. 

The area if frequents was once pristine habitat for things like breeding willow warblers and whitethroats, I asked RBA to urge people to stay on the path (they did put this on a couple of messages), but I don't think it would've mattered. There is now a well trodden path into the reserve...

Even over the old bridge, onto the area between the willows and the phragmites that the bird was favouring wasn't off limits  to some.

Still, as long as the photographers got their shot and the MP3 playing wazzacks got decent views, then everything is just OK!

Mr and Mrs Whitethroat might not have been so happy.

I've often thought what might happen at Druridge these days, if a real rarity turned up.. a county mega? 

If it was viewable from the hides or the road, then it would be manageable., but if it was skulking warbler in the bushes....a different story. If  it was during the breeding season - forget it - the habitat would be destroyed.

In the autumn, this type of behaviour is not too much of an issue - but remember the damage caused by the idiots trying to flush out last year's Raddes warbler?

If I am ever lucky enough to find a rare bird skulking in the bushes at Druridge during the breeding season, you'll read about it in the bird club bulletin a month after it has gone.

Monday 7 June 2010

A round up....and a marsh warbler

I've just been too busy to update the blog this weekend, especially on Saturday when I was up for 23 hours!

A brief seawatch on Friday evening produced 3 roseate terns and 2 little terns as well as 7 red throated divers.

On Friday I did another territory mapping survey, again in less than ideal conditions. I arrived at Druridge at 5.30, as had a sea fret, it cleared by 7.40 and then brightened up to be a real scorcher! I'm finding both house sparrows and tree sparrows that nest over by the hamlet are both feeding in the bushes at Druridge, must be a better supply of caterpillars there. Nothing else of great note, there are now three singing whitethroats.

On Saturday, Janet and I were ringing for only the second time this year. A calm morning soon brightened up to another hot day, which brought the plebs flocking down to Druridge with their England flags waving from knackered Corsas - makes you proud!

I had to go to work at 9am, but in total we caught 24 birds (19 new ones and 5 retraps) including our first sedge warbler of the year.
sedge warbler - caught and ringed
We also caught this blackbird which was first ringed in November 2003 as a first year bird, making this chap 7 this year!
Seven year old blackbird
Janet caught this juvenile starling, there are a lot of them about so I am surprised we didn't catch more, Janet wasn't concerned though, seemingly starlings are a pain to ring. I was disappointed, I've never ringed Starling.

juvenile starling
Saturday night ended at a BBQ in Stakeford, I didn't get to bed until 3.30 am, not bad going considering I had been up since 4.30.

I was in the office today when I got a call from Steve Holliday, who was sure he had a marsh warbler singing by the path to the hides. I called in on the way home and soon heard it singing, imitating a swallow at first, from the willows behind the bund.

It only sung intermittently and flew out of cover, briefly, once, in the hour and half I was there. this is my second marsh warbler for Druridge, the first was on the 1st of June 2008, which sang for three days by the Budge Screen.

Whilst I was bored, I took these shots...

Cercopsis vulnerata a red and black type of froghopper

northern marsh orchid

unidentified spider
Any thoughts on this spider?

123 little tern
124 roseate tern
125 marsh warbler

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Two quick visits

I had to work BH Monday, at the County Show all day in Corbridge with 26,000 other mugs - at least I didn't have to pay to be there! I needed some stress relief, so popped down to the patch for an hour. There was light SE wind blowing so I decided to have a look on the sea.

Nothing mega, 26 manx shearwaters north in 40 minutes were a year tick. I still haven't picked up either roseate or little tern or a little gull yet, I need to put a couple of hours of seawatching in I think..

I birded the patch from the car for 20 minutes tonight, again, nothing startling. I've been at Bamburgh Castle all day with work, at 4.15 I was still there having a quick look over the dunes and sea from the car park whilst I waited for a colleague......little did I know


122 manx shearwater