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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Northumberland Pacific

Out with Mark and Pete and we drove up into Northumberland this morning to Druridge CP where a Pacific Diver had been showing really well on Ladyburn Lake all week, typically though there was no sign of it there this morning and it was found to have relocated to nearby East Chevington where although we saw it well enough there was no chance of getting any decent photos, a large skein of Pinkfeet flew over as we walked back to the car. With the Black Scoter being reported from further north at Goswick we thought we’d have a try for that in the hope the Diver may return to Ladyburn Lake and we’d do better with it on the way back however the Scoter didn’t prove that straight forward either and although there was a good selection of stuff on the sea including Red Throated, Black Throated and Great Northern Divers, Slavonian Grebes and Long Tailed Ducks all the Scoter were very distant, we had a good scan and at one point thought we might have got onto the bird but it was just too far to be sure then we received some information that another birder was watching it about a mile further north off Cheswick so we shot up there and tramped out along the beach for half a mile but all we could find were Common Scoters. We gave it up as a bad job but had lost a lot of time in the process and it was already getting to mid-afternoon but then reports of the Diver was that it was still at East Chevington anyway, there had been some Shore Lark on the beach there this morning so we thought we go and see them, we got back to East Chevington and walked out to the beach to find the Shore Larks hadn’t been seen since this morning but a small flock of Twite coming down to some seed were good value, we then took a last distant look at the Diver and talking with some other birders found out it had returned to Ladyburn Lake around mid-day for half an hour and shown well to a lucky few then flown back to East Chevington.
distant Pacific Diver on East Chevington Lake

some of the Pinkfeet flying over

Waders on the beach at East Chevington late afternoon

plus a flock of Twite

which showed rather well

also a few Pied Wags

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Banana bill run around

Day off today and I decided to go down into Lincolnshire where a juv White Billed Diver has been found on the River Witham north of Woodhall Spa, spurred on by an early report of it just south of Southrey I opted to park at the old station at Stixwould just in case it came south, I headed north towards Southrey eventually meeting a load of birders who glumly told me it hadn’t been seen since the  initial sighting and no one was sure whether it had gone north or south, birders arriving from the south hadn’t seen it but some others were investigating northwards, I decided to head back to the car for lunch, as I finished lunch news came over it had been refound right up at Bardney so I shot off there, got parked up and headed north again eventually running into some returning birders who thought it was coming south again but unbelievably had been lost to view again, a few of us who couldn’t believe it had got past us as we had walked up hung around for a while just in case it had doublebacked but after a while I deemed it must have got past and as I walked back towards Bardney a message came through confirming the bird was now south of the village and drifting south, I returned to the car shot back to Southrey and walked north to meet it which I thankfully did, just a shame the weather remained pretty murky all day on top of it giving me the run around, a very good inland record though and photographic opportunity, would have been better had the sun burned through but you can't win em all.

what a bill

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Double Dip Bunting and local stuff

Out with Mark today and after yesterdays failed attempt due to leaving early because I was feeling the miserable weather after my recent chemo session it was back to Dunnington this morning to try for the male Pine Bunting, nice and sunny this morning if a little cold but once again the bird proved very elusive and the few times it showed we were always in the wrong place, a few Bramblings and Corn Buntings mixed in with the flocks were nice though, Mark had seen the bird yesterday as typically it had shown well about 20 mins after I had left so early afternoon I gave up on it again so we could at least get a bit of local birding in, we went round the back  of Heslington first where we were pleased to catch up with a pair of Little Owls, carried on to the Tilmire to look for Barn Owls but none were out this afternoon, we then had a little jaunt out to the LDV, Bank Island held a good selection of Wildfowl but there was no sign of the earlier reported White Fronted Goose, carried on to North Duffield Carrs where we added Whooper Swans and a small selection of Waders but the afternoon had turned rather murky and we were very cold so we called it a day.
Little Owl at Heslington

2nd bird playing peek-a-boo

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Adwick Thrush

A planned afternoon trip to North Cave Wetlands was all changed when a Black Throated Thrush was discovered at Adwick Washlands in the Dearne Valley this morning, I arrived early afternoon to find the bird had unfortunately flown off with a load of Redwing, I pottered around the area for a while chatting with a few familiar faces including some of the Rochdale crew then after an hour or more news filtered through that the Thrush had been relocated in a field on the outskirts of Adwick village and after a bit of a muddy route march I eventually got some views of it, a bit distant and not the best views of a Black Throated Thrush I’ve ever had but I managed some views through a couple of scopes and they were good enough for a year tick, ran out of time for any other birding in the area and no pics taken today. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Teesside again

I decided on Teesside again today and first port of call was the Sainsbury’s in Middlesborough where up to 150 Waxwings were sat atop a tree in the car park, next up was Dorman’s Pool but there was no sign of yesterdays Water Pipits this morning and after failing to locate any of the recent rarer Geese on Cowpen Marsh I carried on to Hartlepool, Ward Jackson Park was first for the Ring Necked Parakeets then I went on to the waste ground South of the Cemeteries to try for the Shore Lark, bumped into Darren, John, Richard and Mike from Leeds there and had a bit of a catch up but despite an extensive search there was no sign of the Lark today, they informed me they had seen Snow Buntings at the De Brus Tunnel end so I headed up there, unfortunately there were a load of bikers bombing around so that put paid to that. The Fish Quay was very quiet so I moved round the corner to look up the channel, Red Throated Diver, Eider and a Razorbill were in the channel and a few large Gulls flying around included a juv Glaucous which I presume was the bird seen at the Newburn Bridge area the last couple of days, Jackson’s Landing only had three Red Breasted Mergansers on offer and the usual Med Gull was at Newburn Bridge. It was a pleasant stroll out to Seaton Snook on a nice sunny afternoon and the Twite posed superbly, a small group of Pinkfeet were on Seaton Common as I headed back along the road, I gave the Tundra Bean and White Fronted Geese another go, they had been reported earlier but directions to where they were showing were a bit vague and I failed to pin them down, I ended up back at Dorman’s Pool, still no sign of any Water Pipits but a Short Eared Owl out hunting was a nice end to the day. 
some of the Waxwings at Sainsbury's in Middlesborough

noisy as ever

Med Gull at Newburn Bridge

roosting waders

small flock of Twite at Seaton Snook not hiding in the Samphire Grass for once

I managed to get a bit closer

then a stroke of luck when this one landed right next to me

Pinkfeet on Seaton Common

standing sentinel

Shortie at the last

Monday, 2 January 2017

Year Ticking

Out with Pete Watson for the first birdwatch of the year and we decided on Teesside, called at Skinningrove first to year tick the long staying Eastern Black Redstart which showed very well again as did a pair of Stonechat near the car park also a few Fulmars on the cliffs, we then went to nearby Thorpe Kirton where we scoped three Tundra Bean Geese in a field near there. We headed up the coast to Teesside, the sea at Redcar was a bit rough so we didn’t see much although we found out later we were probably looking from the wrong spot, South Gare was very quiet so we soon headed over the river and round to Saltholme, a male and two female Scaup were showing on the East Lagoon and the reserve held a good selection of stuff including the large flock of Barnacle Geese, a showy Pintail from Phil Stead Hide and good views were had of the Long Eared Owl at the Haverton end. With the afternoon getting on we went off to search for other stuff although the earlier reported White Fronted Geese on Cowpen Marsh had disappeared but while scanning from Holme Fleet Pete got onto a Short Eared Owl flying around so that was a nice bonus, we then drove to the end of Zinc Works Road and walked out to Seaton Snook but with the sun sinking fast we had left it a bit late for the Twite and Snow Buntings and none were seen but our final year tick of the day was a smart Great Northern Diver in the channel, a pleasant start to the year with a respectable 65 species seen. 


and Eastern Black Redstart at Skinningrove

intial views of the Long Eared Owl looking into the sun

improved greatly when we moved round the corner

Black Swan in front of Phil Stead Hide

the Pintail was out in the middle at first

but then came closer

just terrible light