Saturday, 24 March 2018

Suppression Blues......

 19 Whooper Swans a Sandwich Tern and a Blue Fulmar went north at Whitburn Obs on this mornings watch. All were reported in our normal way on Twitter for all to see rather than on a closed private WhatsApp group. A heads up from @yellowbrow was much appreciated regarding a White-billed Diver heading south from Newbiggin. Otherwise the public news from the north of us was scant. It makes us wonder should we be so generous in future...Sadly the bird did not arrive
Saint Mark beat me in this morning with our earliest start date of the year and on a nothing day with hardly a breath of wind birds started moving. By the time Pink Floyd arrived migration was in full swing, then lo and behold our lost Boy Wonder joined the party and was soon calling birds like he had never been away. It was cold and i regretted leaving my bag with flask at home for the second time in a week, old age..
The first Sandwich Tern of the year turned up at last and was on a typical date, id missed one that SMI got on Monday on a nice early date, but we are up and running at last, last year it was the 22nd and a recent earliest date was the 17th. Coal Tit, Siskin and the Tern were all Obs year ticks bringing my total to 106
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 24th March 05.50-10.50 W1 8/8

Red th Diver 23n 15s
Fulmar 207n
Kittiwake 1360n
Eider 4n 8s
Black h Gull 28n 12s
Coal Tit 1 by Obs
Cormorant 7n 14s
Shag 2n 7s
Common Gull  13n 7s
Guillemot 14n 2s
Mallard 4s
Razorbill 6n
Gannet 21n 3s
Common Scoter 15n 18s
Alba Wagtail 3n
Redshank 6s
Shelduck 3n 1s
Peregrine 2n
Siskin 3 
Porpoise at least 5 feeding
Canada Goose 3s
Blue Fulmar 1n D
Mute Swan 2n
Turnstone 4s
Skylark 9n
Grey Wagtail 2s
LBBGull 2n
Sandwich Tern 1n
Grey Heron 1s
Curlew 1n 1s
Whooper Swan 19n
Wigeon 2n
Dunlin 4n
Pintail 2n

Not a bad haul shame the Diver didn't come south for us, maybe tomorrow
My camera was in my bag at home so no video of todays birds but here is some of a White Pelican at Saltholme Pools its poor quality but what a turn up


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Magical Mystery Tour....

 Iceland Gull and Raven were the pick of the bunch on a busy sea watch at Whitburn Obs. With spring in full swing and temperatures due to hit 5 degrees we didn't know what was going to happen next on our magical... The birds just kept coming. Stoney was in the house and it was straight down to business. After the Beast 2 i expected to see some bird movement yesterday as they moved back after the blast but it didn't happen, instead it started today. Common Gulls were ghosting north in numbers, hard to count as they seemed to appear from nowhere. Two Great-crested Grebes at Whitburn is unusual and perhaps more predictable was the Iceland Gull.
Birds were coming in/off and as we have seen a lot of lately Corvids were coming in/off and generally moving. I picked up on a Raven way up high heading north in the close proximity of some Carrion Crows, our 4th in a week. To round it all off Pink feet started moving, can't wait for tomorrow morning
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 21st March 06.05-10.05 W2-3 6/8

Common Gull 346n 27s
Cormorant 18n 17s
Kittiwake 91n 18s
Razorbill 13n
Fulmar 89n 5s
Black h Gull 54n 22s
Guillemot 30n 1s
Common Scoter 3n 4s
Shelduck 3n 1s
LBBGull 2n
Meadow Pipit 6 in/off
Red th Diver 16n 10s
Eider 3n 3s
Great-crested Grebe 2n
Curlew 3n 1s
Sanderling 18n
Shag 3n 13s
Porpoise 2n
Sparrowhawk 1n
Redwing 2 in off
Grey Heron 1s
Iceland Gull 1n 1st w
Pied Wagtail 3 in off
Raven 1n 07.35 high over sea with Crows
Carrion Crow 6 high north and 2 in off
I managed video of the Iceland and Pinks but decided to go with a Grebe, one of our birds today was in similar plumage on the sea
Peregrine 1n hunting over the sea it failed to take a Kittiwake
Teal 2s
Pink-footed Goose 124n
Mallard 1n
Velvet Scoter 2s

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Corvid Conspiracy.....

 3 Ravens flew south at Whitburn Obs this morning right along the cliff top only yards away from Rob and myself. Yes Stoney was in the house and we were enjoying a pleasant watch with little of quality and lots of Common Gulls moving north. In recent days Carrion Crows have become more obvious and abundant with groups close by and also flying distantly out to sea,  a regular event this time of year. We always check them out as we are due or annual Hooded Crow. Rob was watching some Crows go north close in and commented one looked rather chunky. I jumped up and threw open the north shutter as if an Albert Ross was passing but we couldn't see any big black birds. Then three corvids flew south with a smaller bird and i said 'is that a Jackdaw' and lifted my bins to find it was a Crow dwarfed by the three Ravens that were flying ahead of it at eye level. We ran outside and they were already well south looking like landing on Jackies Beach but instead hurried south.
Not my first from the Obs but a great year tick.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 14th March 06.05-10.05 SSE3 6/8

Pink-footed Goose 32n
Black h Gull 12n 46s
Fulmar 127n 2s
Common Gull 336n 37s
Cormoranat 8n 9s
Gannet 6n
Curlew 5n
Guillemot 40n 3s
Kittiwake 10n 10s
Red th Diver 5n 3s
Shag 2n 5s
Razorbill 11n 3s
Shelduck 2s
Common Scoter 20n 5s
Eider 1n
Magpie 29 in reserve
Red br Merganser 1n
Mallard 2n (distant birds)
Grey Heron 1s
LBBGull 1s
Lapwing 1s
Carrion Crow 2 in off
Raven 3s

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Ton up......

Spring arrived at Whitburn Obs today as we saw an increase in the number of species seen and a little vis mig. We didn't have anything special but 6 species of wildfowl including our first Gadwall of the year was a vast improvement. The Gadwall were my 100'th species of the year from the Obs and with Sandwich Tern and Sand Martins due soon it should gather pace after a pedestrian February.
I still need plenty of tarts ticks tho like Canada Goose, Coal Tit and Siskin.
I was joined by Magic and Saint Mark and Stoney was in the house, this was Magic Marks last watch till May as he heads off to Antarctica this week lucky boy
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 11th March 06.15-09.45 SW2 4/8

Fulmar 162n
Curlew 2n 1s
Eider 3n 6s
Razorbill 3n
Guillemot 6n 11s
Red th Diver 4n 9s
Common Gull 6n 8s
Goosander 1n
Black h Gull 19n 52s
Greylag Goose 2s
Cormorant 7n 8s
Kittiwake 49n 5s
Shag 4n 11s
Shelduck 3s
Porpoise 5 feeding
Common Scoter 7n
Great-crested Grebe 1s
Carrion Crow 6s
Gannet 4n
Mallard 3s
Pied Wagtail 1n
Sanderling 1n
Skylark 1n
Turnstone 2n
Grey Heron 1s
Gadwall 2n

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Fancy a Shag........

Three species of Diver and a Blue Fulmar passed Whitburn Obs in 4 hours this morning. I was joined by Pink Floyd and Stoney was in the house on another wet Obs watch. The south easterly was chucking rain at us most of the time making it hard to keep the optics dry. Birds were slow to get moving but when they did it wasn't bad. For the third day running i found a Great-crested Grebe on the sea, Rob managed to get on it but Dave did not and as on the previous days it was never seen again. The cracking Blue Fulmar won bird of the day followed by our 3rd Puffin of the year.Shags continued to feature with today's haul bringing the four day total to 116 mainly south, some will be locals but many are just heading south.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 6th February 06.35-10.35 SE3 8/8 rain heavy at times

Black h Gull 7n
Kittiwake 34n 22s
Fulmar 100n 110s
Guillemot 70n 449s
Shag 16n 3s
Razorbill 2n
Red th Diver 5n 8s
Cormorant 4n 1s
Eider 1n 1s
Gannet 14n 3s
Puffin 1s
Common Gull 2n 1s
Mallard 6n
Little Gull 2n 3s (1 1st w)
Great-crested Grebe 1 on sea
Black th Diver 1s
Great Northern Diver 1n
Common Scoter 4s
Curlew 2n
Blue Fulmar 1n (D)

Sunday, 4 March 2018

In like a Lion....

 Slavonian and Great-crested Grebe were both off Whitburn Obs this morning, both Obs year ticks and both scarce. I was on my own this morning cold and wet from the easterly, Magic Mark was AWOL, Saint Mark was somewhere between Copenhagen, Birmingham airport and Nottingham. Stoney was not in the house.
Who would have thought on a miserable wet and windy morning i would get three Obs year ticks. My first bird of the day was a tick,Woodcock coming in /off, Next i picked up on a Great-crested Grebe on the sea amidst the Little Gull feeding area. I never saw it again but did find a Slav Grebe bobbing about on the rough sea, this was soon lost as well drifting south. No Ducks was a bit of a shock and the Shag fest was nice
It was good to get a few new birds following on from yesterdays Little Gull after a very poor February. The list in on track with 98 so far, it would be nice if @SteelySeabirder could send south one of his Tystie's.
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Sunday 4th March 06.40-10.15 ESE3-4 8/8 rain/sleet/snow

Woodcock 1 in off
Common Gull 8n 39s
Fulmar 21n 25s
Guillemot 22n 51s
Kittiwake 5n 56s
Shag 2n 34s (we had 34 sth yesterday as well)
Black h Gull 10n 1s
Little Gull 2n 13s (3 juvs)
Great-crested Grebe 1 on the sea drifted south i think
Golden Plover 3s
Gannet 4n 13s
Slav Grebe 1 on sea drifted sth
Red th Diver 2s
Razorbill 2s
Black th Diver 1n
The Little Gulls were difficult to video in dark conditions
Not todays bird.......

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Winter Birding Weekend.....

 2 Long-tailed Ducks and a  Red-necked Grebe went north on this mornings Whitburn Obs sea watch. They were my first Long-tailed Duck of the year and brought my Obs year list to 91 species, a bit of a slow start but plenty of time to improve. Both Saint and Magic Mark made it in today and Stoney was in the house to round off a great weekends seawatching. Today's Snow Bunting and yesterdays Pink feet added to that winter feel. We may have to rename Pink Floyd due to his ability in finding impossible to see skeins, Goose got a few votes
This is what we saw today in order of appearance followed by yesterdays sightings.

Sunday 18th February 06.55-10.00 S1-2 7/8

Black h Gull 14n 64s
Fulmar 170n
Guillemot 116n
Razorbill 38n
Goldeneye 1n
Shelduck 2n 1s
Shag 5n 4s
Common Gull 10n 13s
Cormorant 2n 17s
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Red th Diver 7n 20s
Porpoise 2s
Eider 2n 2s
Red br Merganser 1n
Snow Bunting 1n
Greylag Goose 3n
Mallard 3s
Redshank 8s
Red-necked Grebe 1n 08.48 (thanks for the heads up Graham Stoker)
Grey Heron 1s
Long-tailed Duck 2n drakes
Curlew 1s
Kittiwake 2n
Gannet 7s
Skylark 1n

highlights of Saturday 17th February 07.05-10.30

GBBGull 166s
Great Northern Diver 1s
Pink-footed Goose 261n
Med Gull 1s ad (3rd different adult in 2 days)