Saturday, 19 August 2017

Dazzling Rosies....

12 Roseate Terns went south at Whitburn Obs by 10am today, bringing this weeks total to 28 south. I was joined by Saint Mark and Boy Wonder and it all started a bit quiet but as ever Whitburn Obs did not disappoint. Most memorable was an adult Roseate feeding its youngster which was sat on the sea just below us. Another three Little Egrets south brought my sightings this year to at least 8, poor Saint Mark was AWOL and still needs it for the year as well as Rosy Tern. I didn't manage any video again so another old vid attached
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 19th August 05.20-10.00 W3 4/10

Whimbrel 1n 3s
Sandwich Tern 6n 86s
Black h Gull 31n 23s
Curlew 2n 1s
Gannet 182n 4s
Common Gull 2s
Common Tern 123n 52s
Oystercatcher 54s
Redshank 12n 125s
Knot 3s
Common Scoter 6n 1s
Dunlin 7s
Arctic Skua 1n 2s
Sparrowhawk 2s
Grey Heron 1s
Great crested Grebe 1s
Roseate Tern 12s inc at least 2 juvs
Turnstone 1s
LBBGull 2s i juv
Little Egret 3s close inshore
Kestrel 2n
Swift 2n
Mallard 1s
Red th Diver 21n
Manx Shearwater 3n

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Whiter than white.....

13 Roseate Terns went south at Whitburn Obs by 9am this morning. I was joined by the Prof and Stoney was in the house. It was dark when we started with the heavy cloud and rain and nothing was moving except Gannets. In the first hour we did not record any Terns, then they started with a trickle that became a flood. The guys picked up on two mid distance Roseate Terns heading south, i was mainly using my Bins on the close birds when i started to see Rosy's. Some family parties and some lone juvs all going south. One nearly slipped through unnoticed when i heard it's call and we managed to find it and add it to our tally. We ended up well short of the day passage record of 115 on the 30th of August 2010 but it was a start. I checked Whitburn Steel to try and get some Roseate video but didn't see any so i found this old video which is interesting...
The Prof still has to improve his Roseate i.d. skills and Rob gave him this gem of advice "they are like Daz" whiter than white
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 17th August 05.15-09.00 SW2 6/8 rain

Gannet 237n 191s
Curlew 2n 4s
Black h Gull 9n 13s
Manxie 3s
Common Scoter 34n 27s
Bar t Godwit 1n
Whimbrel 3s
Grey Heron 1n
Common Tern 29n 189s
Common Gull 1n 2s
Sandwich Tern 20n 266s
Peregrine 1n hunting waders
Oystercatcher 25s
Arctic Tern 2n 5s
Redshank 24s
Arctic Skua 3n
Teal 3n 4s
Turnstone 7s
Roseate Tern 13s (6 juvs)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Skua banquet.....

Long tailed and 4 Pom Skuas passed Whitburn Obs by 10am today. The Prof joined me and Stoney was in the house. We had few expectations so when the Prof called the first Pom we were happy enough but it just kept getting better. The Skua count was three of each of three species when he alerted us to an interesting Skua going north keeping low, Stoney completed the id a 2nd cyr Long tailed Skua. A year tick for me and its always a pleasure to get all four species of Skua on a sea watch. A couple of the Poms going south were memorable showing well and with full spoons and Pink Floyd managed to join the party, add to that a full supporting cast of waders and lots of ducks and you've got a canny watch. The crab sandwich boys arrived and we gave it another hour but we had tired eyes, i hope the Skuas kept coming for them
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 15th August 05.05-10.00 SW2-3 2/8 then 4/8

Manx Shearwater 3n 3s
Common Tern 57n 38s
Gannet 318n 51s
Arctic Tern 6n 2s
Common Scoter 250n 146s
Redshank 34n 94s
Black h Gull 2n 4s
Sandwich Tern 65n 61s
Shag 3s
Turnstone 2n 1s
Pom Skua 2n (1ad) 2s ads
Shoveler 2n
Teal 262n 31s
Oystercatcher 10s
Arctic Skua 3n 1s
Whimbrel 1n 22s
Curlew 1n 2s
Bonxie 2n 2s
Golden Plover 2s
Knot 1s
Dunlin 12s
Common Gull 1s
Bar tailed Godwit 2s
Swallow 20s
Grey Plover 1n
Sparrowhawk 1s
Long tailed Skua 1n 08.20 2nd cyr
Velvet Scoter 1n
Red th Diver 1s
Common Darter 1s

Friday, 11 August 2017

Wave of Waders......

 389 Dunlin went south at Whitburn Obs by 09.30 this morning. Setting a new day passage record beating the previous best of 376 on the 9th August 2015. I was joined by the Prof and Stoney was in the house. After abandoning yesterday's watch after two hours due to poor light and lack of birds we didn't expect a lot today. Just shows that old saying is right no two days are alike. Dunlin were noted from the start and just kept coming add to that the sight and sound of Whimbrel migrating and you know its a good watch
Hopefully more Dunlin will be seen today but i had to call it a day due to the eye strain I've been suffering from this week.... I wonder what could be causing it.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 11th August 05.10-09.30 SW2-3 6/8

Gannet 337n 44s
Dunlin 389n
Knot 1s
Sandwich Tern 116n 29s
Common Scoter 306n 13s
Curlew 5n 1s
Common Gull 1n 3s
Black h Gull 6n 3s
Redshank 16n 26s
Common Tern 25n 37s
Ringed Plover 5s
Whimbrel 44s
Bar tailed Godwit 21s
Peregrine 1n after taking a Redshank in flight, awesome!
Arctic Tern 15n 1s
Sand Martin 3s
Teal 24n 3s
Sparrowhawk 1n 1s
Golden Plover 1s
Bonxie 1s
Red th Diver 1s
Shoveler 2n
Little Gull 1n 1s ads
Manxie 8n
Grey Heron 3s flying together a long way out
Dolphin sp 1s 08.25
Turnstone 3s

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Second half....

Little Gull and 5 Bonxies passed Whitburn Obs this afternoon. Yes we returned for a second bite and along the way a few local birders contributed including Sir Ian, Marsden John, Chip Shop Steve and of course Stoney was in the house. It was quieter but the light was superb, best bird for me was a close Grey Plover in sum plum. I didn't do any  video this aft so i have included the full Pom Skua video from this mornings watch. Saint Mark arrived for the late shift and we don't know his totals yet
This is what was seen

Wednesday 9th August cont..11.00-18.00

Fulmar 105n
Manx Shearwater 33n
Gannet 697n
Teal 21n
Wigeon 7n
Tufted Duck 3n
Eider 3n
Common Scoter 152n
Goosander 10n
Oystercatcher 8s
Grey Plover 2n
Dunlin 3n
Bar tailed Godwit 2n
Redshank 15n
Turnstone 2s
Arctic Skua 3s
Bonxie 4n 1s
Little Gull 1n
Black h Gull 11n
Common Gull 1n 4s
GBBGull 52n
Sandwich Tern 80n
Arctic Tern 8n
Common Tern 26n

First half.......

1 Pom, 10 Arctic and 10 Great Skuas passed Whitburn Obs by 11am this morning. It's a game of two halves today some of us are back for the second half later. It started well and busy, I was joined by both Marks, Foss, and Stoney was in the house. We had a good selection of birds with Little Gull, Grey Plover and Pom taking the podium, but it went very quiet after 9 o'clock and the light deteriorated.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 9th August 2017 04.50-11.00 N4 8/8 then 4/8

Gannet 1678n 106s
Oystercatcher 105n
Fulmar 223n 1s
Common Scoter 243n 27s
Dunlin 6n
Sandwich Tern 256n 104s
Common Tern 106n 26s
Bonxie 9n 1s
GBBGull 90n 11s
Manx Shearwater 86n 4s
Redshank 10n
Arctic Skua 4n 6s
Teal 19n
Arctic Tern 8n
Kestrel 1n
Common Gull 8n 5s
Ringed Plover 1n 1s
Golden Plover 3n 1s
Turnstone 3n
Little Gull 2n ads
Sanderling 2n
Grey Plover 1n
Ruff 1n
Eider 6n
Pom Skua 1n ad dp
Porpoise 1n
Puffin 2n
Shag 1n
Black h Gull 1s
Velvet Scoter 6n

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Michahellis or not that is the question........

 Black Guillemot and a Little Stint went south at Whitburn Obs by 09.10 on today's early watch. Typically i had popped out for a comfort break when Saint Mark shouted Black Guillemot, but i managed to get back and see my third of the year from the Obs. Stoney was in the house as well and they were both happy to get a year tick. It was my turn later when i called a small wader or Petrel going south, Saint Mark called Little Stint, an Obs lifer for me happy days.
It was that sort of day with a steady flow of birds without being crazy busy and you always felt the next bird could be the one
A Gull on the rocks looked good for Yellow legged but was a bit included below for opinions
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 2nd August 05.00-09.10 SSE2 6/8

Swift 5s
Gannet 318n 205s
Common Tern 66n 158s
Arctic Tern  28s
Oystercatcher 3s
Redshank 2n 9s
Fulmar 3n 13s
Red th Diver 2n 1s
Common Scoter 411n 40s
Common Gull 1s
Manxie 22n 54s
Sandwich Tern 25n 133s
Dunlin 1n 21s
Teal 15n 7s
Ringed Plover 1n
Sanderling 2n 19s
Mallard 2s
Curlew 1n 1s
Sand Martin 28s
Knot 1s
Black Guillemot 1s 06.35
Little Stint 1s
Turnstone 1s
Shelduck 1s
Gull sp

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Thats entertainment......

 Sabs Gull and 2 Roseate Terns flew south at Whitburn Obs by 10.35 this morning. It was a slow start this morning so when an Arctic Skua took up residence in front of the Obs for a while i thought that's entertaining....
It soon picked up and being on my own it's difficult to see all the birds at this time of year with so many migrating. I always feel I'm missing more than I'm seeing, so when i looked through my bins for a change i just managed to get a piece of a Sabs Gull going south very close inshore. Had i been looking through my scope i would have missed the bird.
Pink Floyd was the much needed cavalry as Ducks were going through at all different heights and distances and we managed to steady the ship. The crab sandwich boys arrived and were shocked to find me still in the Obs, it just felt that anything could happen at any time....
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 1st August 05.10-10.35 SSW2-3 6/8

Common Tern 8n 62s
Fulmar 2n 16s
Manxie 3n 2s
Sandwich Tern 52n 165s
Gannet 126n 27s
Arctic Skua 1n 2s
Common Scoter 709n 205s
Arctic Tern 10n 2s
Red th Diver 4n 1s
Redshank 40s
Whimbrel 33s
Oyster Catcher 54s
Eider 3n 9s
Turnstone 2n 2s
Dunlin 6s
Sabs Gull 1s 06.38
Knot 7s
Roseate Tern 2s 1ad 07.30
Goosander 6n
Curlew 5s
Teal 37n 5s
Puffin 2n
Purple Sandpiper 1s
Sanderling 7s
Ringed Plover 6n 2s
Swift 1s
Porpoise 1s
Dunlin 10s

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Whale meet again, and again, and again...

 3 Minke Whale, 9+ White beaked Dolphins and 8 Harbour Porpoise were seen from Whitburn Obs by 10.20 this morning. It is National Whale and Dolphin Watch week and we got off to a great start at Whitburn Obs. Magic Mark picked up the first Minke heading north at 06.52 and by this time we had already had good views of White-beaked Dolphins on a calm flat sea. A further two went north at 07.54 and we continued to see Minke till one south at 10am, we saw at least three different animals maybe more. Add to that 8 Harbour Porpoise including two juveniles and continuous mainly distant views of White beaked Dolphins, it was a Cetacean feast. The birds were not bad either with a nice selection of waders moving, and what about that white rump...
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 30th July 04.50-10.20 SW1-2 6/8

Redshank 85s
Common Gull 6s
Common Scoter 46n 6s
Gannet 141n
Turnstone 2s
Black h Gull 3s
Sandwich Tern 28n 199s
Common Tern 25n 334s
Arctic Tern 22n 21s
White-beaked Dolphin 3n 05.40-05.50 then further pods of 5 and 2/3, with at least 9 Dolphins seen till 10am
Manx Shearwater 21n 32s
Porpoise 8 inc 2 juvs
Sand Martin 4s
Puffin 6n 2s
Dunlin 31s
Knot 3s
White rumped wader flying south with 4 slightly larger Dunlin
Whimbrel 1s
Minke Whale 1n 06.52, 2 north at 07.54, 1s 10.00
Shoveler 3s
Sanderling 8s
Eider 2n
Red br Merganser 2n
Arctic Skua 1n
Great crested Grebe 1n
Black tailed Godwit 6s

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Welcome to the house of fun....

Long tailed Duck and 29 Whimbrel passed Whitburn Obs on today's watch. Stoney was in the house and it was a big welcome to a new member of the Obs team who has been christened Prof. This scientist might bring a bit of slide rule precision to the team but he needs to learn how to count Ducks accurately.....
As usual Dolphins stole the show with 5 White-beaked going south close inshore including two juvs breaching. The video is a poor representation of the event but was all i could get.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 19th July 04.55-09.30 ESE2 8/8

Gannet 426n 81s
Black h Gull 19n 4s
Common Scoter 1077n 60s
Sandwich Tern 50n 320s
Manx Shearwater 50n 99s
Common Tern 23n 30s (1 1st sum n)
Fulmar 11n
Curlew 4n 1s
Arctic Skua 1n 4s
Shag 1n 1s
Puffin 2n 1s
Tufted Duck 2n 4s
Whimbrel 1n 28s
Arctic Tern 19n 1s
Common Gull 1n 3s
Teal 18n 21s
Turnstone 3s
Redshank 2s
Red th Diver 3n 2s
Long tailed Duck 1n
Wigeon 1n
Oystercatcher 10s
Eider 1n
Sanderling 2n
Bonxie 2s
Bar t Godwit 1n
White-beaked Dolphin 5 south close inshore 08.55-09.02 3ad and 2 juvs breaching

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Lucky for some.....

 Cory's Shearwater went south at Whitburn Obs this morning. Stoney was in the house and it was just as well. On Tuesday a probable Cory's was going north but before i had got any detail it turned and headed east...was that this years only chance. Well 13 is not always an unlucky number as it proved today, Rob called the bird and although distant and at times hard to stay on it showed all its features to us in decent light. A MEGA pullback as we don't always get one at Whitburn.
The Albatross has gone missing in Germany so we were on high alert and i was glad to see Rob get in extra early, i don't want to be saying you've just missed.....
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 13th July 04.50-09.10 SW2 3/8

Common Tern 4n 11s
Black h Gull21n 21s
Sandwich Tern 35n 158s
Puffin 5n 1s
Redshank 2n 13s
Manx Shearwater 10n 1s
Fulmar 20n
Gannet 325n 57s
Common Scoter 318n
Dunlin 3n 24s
Common Gull 7n 7s
GBBGull 1n 9s
Red th Diver 1n 2s
Oyster Catcher 7n
Grey Plover 2s
LBBGull 1s
Whimbrel 1n 3s
Cory's Shearwater 1s 06.12 the video is not of today's bird but who knows might get one soon if it hangs

Arctic Tern 12n 30s 1 juv
Grey Heron 1s
Swift 1n 18s
Shelduck 1s
Arctic Skua 1n 1s
Bonxie 1n
Golden Plover 5s
Porpoise 1n
Eider 1s

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Wind of change.....

 218 Manx Shearwaters and a possible Cory's went north at Whitburn Obs early morning. When i arrived at the Obs the wind was Northeasterly and i had full cloud cover, the first thing i noticed was the lack of Sandwich Terns and the second a flock of 63 Manxies going on
In that first hour i logged 520 Gannets north, but by the end of the watch 21/2 hours later it was only 579. That sums up the change that occurred at 6am ish when the wind went westerly and the birds dried up
At 5.36 i picked up on a distant large Shearwater going north it was moving on bowed wings not flapping at all,  but almost at once it turned east and floated off not allowing me to see any detail to nail it.
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 11th July 04.50-08.30 NE2 then W1-2 8/8 then 4/8

Sandwich Tern 50n 158s
Gannet 579n 11s
Common Tern 6n 16s
Manx Shearwater 218n included flocks of 63 and 90
Black h Gull 34n 3s
Porpoise 2n
Puffin 9n 7s
Common Scoter 152n
Fulmar 36n
Great crested Grebe 1n
Arctic Skua 3n
Possible Cory's Shearwater 1 north then east 05.36 sadly not the one in this video...i wish
Whimbrel 5n
Arctic Tern 5n 17s
Red th Diver 5n
Curlew 1n
Shag 1n
Golden Plover 8s
Med Gull 1n ad
Grey Heron 1n

Monday, 10 July 2017

More Sarnies than Greggs......

 2 Pom Skuas and 29 Black tailed Godwits went south at Whitburn Obs this morning. Autumn migration is in full swing now with waders moving and all of a sudden juv Terns are flying and adults are moving in bigger numbers.Yesterday we saw over 700 Sandwich Terns and today i had 541 south but was on my own so will have missed lots while looking through my scope as they sneak south very close inshore.

This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 10th July 05.00-08.30 dead calm 8/8 rain

Sandwich Tern 34n 541s inc 1 juv
Common Tern 4n 47s
Arctic Skua 3s
Redshank 2n 82s
Dunlin 3n 12s
Swift 2s
Black h Gull 3n 4s
Arctic Tern 15n 28s inc 1 1st sum
Teal 9n 1s
Puffin 3s
Common Scoter 283n 1s
Porpoise 1s
Bar tailed Godwit 1n
Whimbrel 1n 2s
Wigeon 8n
Red th Diver 2n 1s
Knot 2s
Pom Skua 2s 1ad and 1 nearly ad
Common Gull 1n
Black-tailed Godwit 29s (first reported as 32 but ive checked the video)
This video is not great but it was very difficult conditions with grey sky and sea my camera was struggling to cope just as well i'm not showing my attempt at the Poms, i couldn't find them

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Dolphins steal the show.....

24 White-beaked Dolphins went north at Whitburn Obs this morning. It was a quiet day for the birds a westerly and bright sun and i was contemplating a very early finish to go and process my fridge full of moths. Magic Mark called the Dolphins coming north and didn't take long with his usual skill to get us on the pod. He got close views of one of the juveniles and saw the white around its beak and on its flanks confirming them as White-beaked. This was our first look at them this summer and i am looking forward to many more encounters. I've included a short video of the youngster breaching very distantly and despite taking lots of video little of it is usable mainly due to the very bright sun. They certainly stole the show and lingered for over an hour, Saint Mark and Pink Floyd also enjoyed the encounter
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 8th July 04.25-08.30 WNW1-2 1/8

Black h Gull 37n 12s
Gannet 148n 45s
Common Scoter 43n 7s
Eider 7n
Sandwich Tern 23n 115s
Red th Diver 1n 4s
Puffin 13s
Common Gull 3s
Manx Shearwater 2n 3s
Common Tern 1n 12s
Curlew 1n 1s
Whimbrel 1s
Swift 1s
Redshank 1n 3s
Arctic Tern 1n 4s
Grey Heron 1s
Grey Wagtail 2s
Shag 1n
White-beaked Dolphins circa 24 north 07.05-08.20

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Common as muck.....

4198 Common Scoter passed Whitburn Obs by 09.30 today, and they were still going when i left the late shift in charge. Today Scoter were flying north through torrential rain with not much wind to help and the biggest flock came just after the rain stopped. At the time i estimated 2000 plus, i couldn't count them then it was all a bit fast but I managed video so we can all have a look now. My first impression is i am not sure, I've included the video on the blog in real time and slomo so opinions welcome.
On 25 occasions including today 1000 plus Common Scoter have passed in a day. 7 of those were in the last month including the record day passage of 3106 set on the 20th June this year (thanks Rob or is that Ross). Before the big flock today 2101 had gone through so i suspect a new day record when we decide.
This is what i saw today in order of appearance

Thursday 6th July 05.00-09.30 SSE2 8/8 heavy rain at times

Common Scoter 4101n 97s
Common Tern 14n 16s
Fulmar 29n 3s
Arctic Skua 1n 2s
Sandwich Tern 9n 67s
Gannet 99n 23s
Common Gull 3n 3s
Manx Shearwater 27n 3s
Dolphin sp probably Bottlenose 1 north 05.23 didn't give a lot away
Teal 25n
Dunlin 6s
Puffin 2n
Black tailed Godwit 12s (a year tick)
Whimbrel 1n 4s
Curlew 2n 2s
Eider 3n 1s
Arctic Tern 4n 1s
07.00 Shotgun fired just in case a body is found
Swift 3s
Grey Wagtail 1s
Gadwall 1n
Widgeon 14n
Black h Gull 3n
Redshank 8s
Red th Diver 1n 2s
Kestrel 1s
Swift 3n

The videos first in slow motion then real time

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Egret city.....

4 Arctic Skuas a Bonxie and a Little Egret passed Whitburn Obs on a busy nor easterly watch today. Stoney was in the house and it was none stop action with over 1,000 Scoter and Gannets passing. A Little Egret went north our 5th in 4 days.....they used to be scarce birds from the Obs
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 5th July 04.55-10.00 ENE 2 8/8 rain

Gannet 1058n 84s
Fulmar 43n
Manx Shearwater 65n 5s
Puffin 54n
Arctic Tern 22n 4s
Sandwich Tern 30n 43s
Bonxie 1n
Common Tern 95n 23s
Curlew 2n 3s
Common Scoter 1059n 174s
GBBGull 21n
Dunlin 1s
Common Gull 1s
Arctic Skua 4s
Black h Gull 1n
Redshank 3n
Knot 9s
Whimbrel 4n
Little Egret 1n
Wigeon 2s

Monday, 3 July 2017

It never rains it.........

3 Little Egrets and a Med Gull passed Whitburn Obs this morning. It was quiet on a westerly and well before 8 o'clock i was thinking of packing in and going home for breakfast, glad i didn't now or the Egrets would not have been recorded. The Med Gull landed on the rocks below the Obs so i popped out to get some video, while i was crouched with the tripod not extended the three Egrets flew north. As you can see from the awful video i was not ready and why does it always all happen at once, it never rains it pours
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 3rd July 05.00-09.00 W1-2 4/8

Puffin 8n 3s
Arctic Tern 4n 5s
Common Scoter 38n 18s
Sandwich Tern 14n 28s
Manx Shearwater 7n 7s
Common Tern 10n 54s
Black h Gull 11n 29s
Swift 2n 9s
Ringed Plover 1n
Goosander 4n
Red br Merganser 2n
Red th Diver 3n 4s
Little Tern 5n 1s
Common Gull 1n 1s
Arctic Skua 1n
Redshank 2s
Grey Wagtail 1n
Med Gull 1s ad
Curlew 1n
Grey Heron 1s
Turnstone 6s
Little Egret 3n

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Any dream will do......

Black-browed Albatross flew north at Whitburn Obs this morning, it was close inshore and i managed excellent though brief views. Yesterday afternoon i sent a text to Magic Mark saying i was hoping the Albert Ross would be tempted north on the northerly tomorrow. He replied it seems happy sat with its mates at mo....It was raining heavy and the wind was blasting so i sat at the north end of the Obs and left the northerly shutter closed as we do for protection from the rain. Looking straight out through my scope i was watching Fulmar and Gannets go north close inshore when the Albatross came into view full frame and inside the flag line, i thought bloody hell its the Al.....I could only watch it for a short period before it was lost to view behind the closed shutter. Jumping up i threw open the shutter while grabbing my video camera i pointed it and pressed record but couldn't see the bird so opened the north facing shutter to be hit by wind and rain. Hoggie rang me and asked what it had been like and i said the thing that struck me was it was pristine. And in the east the dawn was breaking, any dream will do
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Thursday 29th June 05.00-09.15 N3 rain 8/8

Gannet 538n 5s
Fulmar 246n 1s
Manxie 1n
Common Scoter 88n 9s
Common Tern 1n 1s
Black-browed Albatross 1n 05.30 close inshore
Swift 1n
Bonxie 3n
Curlew 1n

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Black Out.........

 2200 Common Scoter and 492 Manx Shearwaters passed Whitburn Obs by 09.30 this morning. Stoney was in the house but missed the first 500 Scoter, The first flock he saw had 260 in it but that was insignificant compared to the estimated 750 in the largest flock. I've included video and i will check the numbers later with a bit of slomo. Pink Floyd had joined us by now and said it was the largest individual flock he had ever seen. Birds of the day were two adult Med Gulls that were sat on the sea in front of the Obs, i said at the time that there are not many better sights than a sum plum Med Gull in flight, and we had two
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 27th June SE3 8/8 05.05-09.30

Gannet 575n 80s
Manx Shearwater 479n 13s
Arctic Skua 2n
Puffin 61n 13s
Common Scoter 2131n 69s
Sandwich Tern 17n 25s
Black h Gull 7n 2s
Common Tern 4n 12s
Arctic Tern 3n 1s
Curlew 1n 1s
Eider 4n
Red th Diver 1n
Kestrel 1s
LBBGull 1s
Whimbrel 1s
Common Gull 2n 6s
Bonxie 1n
Med Gull 2n ads

Monday, 26 June 2017

Puffinus Puffinus where have you been....

 527 Manx Shearwaters and 4 Arctic Skuas passed Whitburn Obs by 09.30 this morning. The Manxies have been missing so far this year with few good counts but today they were back in force. I was on my own today which was a shame as the North Westerly brought Manxies and the light was better than of late
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 26th June 05.05-09.30 NW2 4/8

Sandwich Tern 4n 87s
Kestrel 1s
Puffin 42n 7s
Arctic Skua 4n
Common Gull 2s
Mallard 1n
Red th Diver 2s
Gannet 361n 23s
Black h Gull 4s
Common Tern 3n 11s
Arctic Tern 1n 3s
Canada Goose 4n
Common Scoter 3n 2s
Curlew 1s
White beaked Dolphin (probable)_ circa 6 SE 06.40-06.50 distant some breaching size and sickle dorsal looked good for this species
Bottlenose Dolphin (probable) 2 feeding along flag line 08.55-09.05 didn't show much as lobster boat was nearby they kept low
Manx Shearwater 527n 1s

Saturday, 24 June 2017

When the going gets tough.....

Roseate Tern and two Greenshank went south at Whitburn Obs this morning. Yes June is a tough month for Obs ticks so i needed to get going, i heard the Greenshank call and got on them as they headed south..a big Obs year tick. Only four new species seen in June so far, Spooner. Black Guille, Cuckoo and the Shank quality but not a lot. Boy Wonder joined me today (eventually) as both Marks are AWOL. He managed to come in after the Rosie and wasn't fast enough to....
Strangest bird of the day was a drake Goldeneye flying south
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 24th June 05.00-09.00 W2-3 3/8

Sandwich Tern 12n 52s
Gannet 121n 29s
Black h Gull 1n 6s
Red th Diver 5n 3s
Common Gull 1n 5s
Porpoise 1n
Manxie 46n 12s
Kestrel 1s
Swift 2s
Common Tern 1n 1s
Roseate Tern 1s 06.35
Puffin 11s
Arctic Tern 2s
Grey Heron 1s
Goldeneye 1s
Greenshank 2s
Common Scoter 11n
LBBGull 1n

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

ello ello ello.....

 2654 Common Scoter, 242 Manxies and a Bonxie passed Whitburn Obs by 09.45 today. I had a visit at the Obs from a local Bobby and his dog but i told them Hoggie wouldn't be in till after 9 :). They were searching for a burglar that had headed my way but unfortunately i hadn't seen him so couldn't help. It wasn't the only excitement today though loads of birds were passing in good light on a North Easterly wind. Scoter were moving from the start and Junes passage now exceeds 10,000 birds and still only the 20th. Today the day passage record for the Obs was broken as over 3,000 have passed by 11.30 beating the 2863 set on 3/11/1998 and the guys are still watching.....So unlike last week the cavalry did arrive
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 20th June 05.00-09.45 NE2 7/8

Gannet 402n 57s
Red th Diver 3n 1s
Common Scoter 2534n 120s
Sandwich Tern 22n 173s
Common Tern 22n 9s
Puffin 66n 15s
Common Gull 6n 7s
Manx Shearwater 232n 10s
Black h Gull 1n 1s
Arctic Tern 8n 7s
Ringed Plover 2n
Sanderling 1n
Bonxie 1n
Shag 1n 2s
Arctic Skua 1s
Eider 5n
Curlew 4s
Teal 4n
Med Gull 1s ad
Some of todays record breaking Common Scoter passage

Thursday, 15 June 2017

One, two, three.......

 2743 Common Scoter passed Whitburn Obs in five hours this morning, making it the third highest day passage on record. More may well pass today but i was done in 81/2 hours of counting and 4388 Common Scoter seen over two days. I will be counting them in my
You try and count the birds in today's video which is recorded in real time, you don't get long
This is what i saw today in order of appearance

Thursday 15th June 05.00-10.00 SW2 7/8

Common Scoter 2393n 350s
Gannet 358n 79s
Puffin 11n 5s
Common Tern 8n 32s
Arctic Skua 1n
Teal 5n 2s
Sandwich Tern 24n 99s
Grey Heron 1n 2s
Manxie 13n 12s
Sanderling 2s
Swift 15s
Eider 8n 1s
Arctic Tern 1n 4s
Common Gull 2s
Shag 1n 1s
Black h Gull 2s

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Ducked off......

1645 Common Scoter went north at Whitburn Obs by 08.30 this morning. Sadly i couldn't stay due to a dentists appointment, wish I'd looked after my teeth ....The top 5 day passage for Scoter are
3/7/2013 1945
2/7/2008 2116
22/10/1991 2523
21/10/1972 2813
3/11/1998 2863
It was looking good for a top five spot, i tried to coax some locals in but i forgot Wednesday's is Morrison's day.
It was a lovely calm morning and passage was good lets hope for more tomorrow, now what time am i at the Doctors tomorrow.
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 14th June 04.55-08.30 SW1 7/8

Gannet 259n 53s
Sandwich Tern 50n 231s
Puffin 53n 10s
Manxie 93n
Common Scoter 1645n included flocks of 230/180/150/120 etc

Common Tern 9n 13s
Common Gull 9s
Red th Diver 4s
Tufted Duck 2n
Shag 2s
Little Tern 2s
Arctic Tern 1s
Goosander 5n
Black h Gull 1s
Canada Goose 4n

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Going Cuckoo.......

74 Manx Shearwaters went north at Whitburn Obs by 9am this morning. On a light westerly it was a quiet watch but with enough movement to keep my interest. I had to pop out for a comfort break and saw a Cuckoo flying around the Nature reserve, an Obs year tick and not the first under those circumstances. I managed to locate the Cuckoo sitting quietly in a bush but it was well hidden so no video today from this years bird. My list has limped along (like me) onto 147, it was 145 in 2016v at the end of June so still on target
This is what i saw today in order of appearance

Tuesday 13th June 05.00-09.00 WSW 1-2 4/8

Sandwich Tern 16n 220s
Puffin 16n 2s
Gannet 178n 21s
Arctic Tern 6n 11s
Common Tern 19n 21s
Common Gull 3s
Shelduck 8s
Manxie 74n
Black h Gull 4s
Shag 1n
Eider 2n
Little Tern 1s
Common Scoter 8n
Grey Squirrel 1
Kestrel 1
Grey Heron 2n then went back s
Cuckoo 1

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tystie very Tystie.....

A Black Guillemot went north passed Whitburn Obs early morning. It's June, it's cold and raining, I'm tired, should i stay in bed......Don't be daft it's Obs time.
It was raining and full cloud meant it was a bit dreak. Birds were teaming north at speed i was looking through my scope (wouldn't have seen it with bins) and blinking heck a Black Guillemot was flying north in front of five Guillemots. When I'd had a look i moved to camera and managed a little poor quality record shot video, I've slowed it down and you can just about make out the Tystie
I only stayed three hours not a ;lot of variety but lots of Gannets and Guillemots
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 6th June 05.05-08.05 SSE3 8/8 rain
Gannet 621n 126s
Fulmar 25n
Puffin 8n 3s
Black Guillemot 1n 05.12
Manxie 7n 5s
Sandwich Tern 8n 93
Common Tern 5n 13s
Arctic Tern 2s
Red th Diver 2n
Common Gull 1n
Shag 1s
Common Scoter 52n

Saturday, 3 June 2017

That spoon that spoon that Spoonbill...

2 Spoonbills flew south at Whitburn Obs this morning on a bog standard watch till that point. Magic Mark was my only companion and it's just as well as it was a Mark special, he is the best. It was a grip back for me as i have never seen Spoonbill from the Obs and Saint Mark had one a while ago.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 3rd June 04.50-09.00 WNW2 4/8

Gannet 255n 14s
Puffin 13n 11s
Sandwich Tern 42n 86s
Fulmar 50n 3s
Common Gull 12n 11s
Common Scoter 62n 26s
Manxie17n 2s
Arctic Tern 18n 3s
Common Tern 22n 47s
LBBGull 2n
Canada Goose 3n
Black h Gull 1n 2s
Shag 1n 3s
Shelduck 1n
Mallard 2s
Sanderling 20n
Swift 2s
Goosander 1n
Red th Diver 1n
Eider 2n
Spoonbill 2s
Not today's birds but......

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Tough love.........

Bottlenose Dolphins put on a show at Whitburn Obs early morning on a poor day for birds. Bright sun/wrong wind/no birds....yes these are the days you have to tough it out. The good news is that something usually happens and it did today. I had hardly sat down when the Bottlenose Dolphins motored north but showed well. Next the local Fox went passed pursued by Crows and Magpies with a Grey Squirrel in its mouth (first reported as Rabbit but re id'd from video). Stoney was in the house but arrived after all that fun.
He tells me that once again we are accused of suppression. A local birder who's name i don't know is bending anyones ear in the north and south of the County to complain about our suppression. If he bends yours please send him my way with his grievance i am in the Obs daily from about 5am.
If he can tell me any site or organisation in our area that puts out more information than us guys at Whitburn Obs i would like to hear about it
As you all know i tweet news as it happens (just after 5 am today). RBA forward my sightings as and when after 7am when they open for business. Rob sends out the news on the DBC Whatsapp site. In addition all Obs sightings are updated to Trektellen daily. I do a regular blog about our sightings and the Obs has a log book.
I suggest he spends some time in the Obs if he wants to enjoy our sightings... all are welcome (well nearly)
This is what we saw today in order of appearance

Wednesday 31st May 05.00-08.15 NW1-2 1/8

Bottlenose Dolphin circa 12 north close inshore between 05.05-05.15
Common Tern 2n 4s
Sandwich Tern 25n 31s
Gannet 84n 10s
Puffin 3n 1s
Common Scoter 11n 25s
Arctic Tern 10n 8s
Shelduck 1n
Manx Shearwater 7n 1s
Swallow 3s
Black h Gull 7n 2s
Red th Diver 1s
Common Gull 3s
Sand Martin 1n
Fox 1w with squirrel

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Let's go fly a Kite.....

Red Kite went south passed Whitburn Obs this morning as well as a gaggle of Geese. A new Obs bird for me and for the Obs. I called a probable raptor well south after i saw a gull having a go at a larger bird. Magic Mark called it red first as we waited for better views and light... spit spot
The day started with a flock of Barnacle Geese south close and calling at 05.15. They were tracked south past Flamborough and Grimston and to top it all off the annual Canada Goose passage picked up pace after yesterdays birds. Nice to have both Marks back and to see the Sheriff, we all enjoyed a great watch
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 28th May 05.00-10.00 NW3 4/4

Gannet 131n 88s
Sandwich Tern 3n 66s
Manx Shearwater 3n 13s
Barnacle Goose 15s 05.15
Common Gull 5n 13s
Puffin 11n 34s
Common Tern 5n 5s
Eider 6s
Shelduck 2n
Common Scoter 36n 7s
Red br Merganser 2s
Sand Martin 3n 8s
Porpoise 1s
Swift 20s
Arctic Tern 2n 9s
Mallard 3n
Greylag Goose 1n 4s
Canada Goose 65n 44s
Swallow 11s
Red th Diver 2n 2s
Little Tern 5s
Black h Gull 3s
Whimbrel 1n 1s
LBBGull 1s
Oystercatcher 24n
Shag 4s

Red Kite 1s 08.15
Ringed Plover 2n

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Back in Black.....

4 Black Terns went north passed Whitburn Obs this morning. Saint Mark is back from yet another month long holiday and it was good to catch up with him. The fact that Manxie, Arctic and Common Terns were year ticks for him shows just how long he's been on his travels. Stoney was in the house which was just as well. My Obs list is in the doldrums a bit like today's windless weather. He called the four marsh terns even though they were well out and we enjoyed watching them feed and land on the sea, a year tick at last
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 17th May 04.55-08.45 W1 dead calm 7/8

Sandwich Tern 19n 403s
Common Tern 8n 23s
Puffin 17n 5s
Whimbrel 2n
Eider 6n 2s
Gannet 19n 19s
Common Scoter 9n 4s
Black h Gull 6n 17s
Common Gull 2n 19s
Swallow 1n 12s
Arctic Tern 8n 11s
Manxie 12n
Red th Diver 3n 4s
Porpoise 2s
Sand Martin 13n 10s
Turnstone 5n 1s
Tufted Duck 4s
Shag 1n 8s
Black Tern 4n

Thursday, 11 May 2017


2 Whinchat and a Wheatear arrived on the firing range today viewed from Whitburn Obs. Uncertain is the name of a moth and sums up the situation today. The weather started northerly and tried every direction and threw in mist and fog, the birds couldn't decide whether to go north or south....uncertain
Swift was new for my Obs list yesterday and today it was Whinchat bringing my list to 141. I packed in early when all passage had dried up and went to try for some video of the Whinchats but all the birds had moved off except circa 50 Swallows feeding around the mounds.
This is what i saw today in order of appearance

Thursday 11th May 04.55-08.15light variable wind mist and fog 4/8

Common Gull 138n 64s
Sandwich Tern 6n 201s
Shelduck 13n 6s
Curlew 1n
Gannet 104n 22s
Common Tern 4s
Fulmar 42n
Puffin 4n
Ringed Plover 13n
LBBGull 1n
Black h Gull 1n 1s
Fox 1s
Yellowhammer singing behind obs
Common Scoter 16n
Dunlin 13n
Turnstone 4n
Oyster Catcher 13n
Red th Diver 2n
Swallow 20n 50 over range
Whimbrel 2n
Sand Maetin 2n 3s
House Martin 2n
Wheatear 1 on range
Whinchat 2 on range video is of a bird at Burdon Moor

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Bye bye northerlies.....

13 Manxies and a Bonxie passed Whitburn Obs in 4 hours this morning. It took over 14 hours of watching on a north wind but at last a Skua. It is goodbye to the northerly flow after a week of NE and N i can look forward to a new broom, i even swept out the Obs hope the crab sandwich boys don't make a mess. It was a pleasant watch with a lighter wind and great visibility with a good mix of birds but not so many stars, the Whimbrel probably won top spot
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 9th May 05.05-09.05 N2 8/8

Fulmar 99n
Common Gull 59n 5s
Eider 5n 2s
Red th Diver 10n
Shelduck 1n
Guillemot 4250n
Common Scoter 15n 11s
Razorbill 350n
Black h Gull 4n
Gannet 415n 2s
Bar t Godwit 1n
Whimbrel 11n
Manxie 13n
Sandwich Tern 3n 13s
Puffin 21n
Common Tern 20n 7s
Arctic Tern 3n
Common Scoter 15n 11s
Swallow 2n
LBBGull 1n
Fox one in the nature reserve
Scaup 2n pr
Pintail 2n pr
Ringed Plover 3n
Dunlin 1n
Bonxie 1n

Monday, 8 May 2017

Feeling Rosy......

The first Roseate Tern of the year passed Whitburn Obs this morning. Magic Mark called it and I had a right job getting me on it with the big troughs on another northerly wind. I did find it eventually and got prolonged views of this fantastic bird as it got held up in the wind. Otherwise it was quiet compared to yesterday with no wave of Aythya Ducks, and it looks like more of the same tomorrow
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 8th May 05.00-09.45 N4 8/8

Gannet 805n 7s
Fulmar 99n
Common Gull 125n
Sandwich Tern 29n 8s
Eider 2n 2s
Common Scoter 47n
Manx Shearwater 10n 1s
Puffin 17n
Red br Merganser 3n
Common Tern 18n
Red th Diver 1n 1s
Roseate Tern 1n
Turnstone 1n
Shelduck 2n
Bottlenose Dolphin 1n 08.20
Shag 1n
Grey Heron 1n

Sunday, 7 May 2017

More Divers than Dabblers.......

21 Scaup, 14 Pochard and 13 Tufty's went north passed Whitburn Obs in 51/2 hours this morning. It was an Aythya wave as more diving than dabbling ducks went north. Magic Mark and myself enjoyed this sea watchers delight, throw in a few Barnacles and waders and hey presto! you've got a canny sea watch. I can think of a few sea watchers who will be wishing they had got out of bed this morning
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 7th May 05.10-10.40 N4 7/8

Fulmar 84n
Gannet 372n 20s
Eider 13n 15s
Guillemot 4600n
Razorbill 425n
Shelduck 7n
Tufted Duck 13n
Common Gull 55n 8s
Arctic Tern 6n
Common Scoter 1n 23s
Ruff 1n
Red th Diver 1n 1s
Sandwich Tern 4n 13s
Puffin 76n
Scaup 21n
Common Tern 128n 2s
Red br Merganser 5n
Bar tailed Godwit 3n
Black h Gull 1n
Whimbrel 3n
Curlew 5n
Pochard 14n
Dunlin 3n
Shag 1n 1s
Manxie 1n
Ringed Plover 6n
Wigeon 2n
Teal 5n
Pintail 2n
Mallard 4n
LBBGull 1n
Barnacle Goose 13n

Monday, 1 May 2017

May day...May day....

Drake Garganey and a Manxie went north at Whitburn Obs this morning. No sign again of the hoped for Black Tern but i was not that disappointed Drake Garganey made up for the lack of Terns. May day it is and i said it twice as this is the second time in two years I've seen Drake Garganey from the Obs on May day. Well done Magic Mark for alerting us to get on the bird. Garganey is an Obs Mega and Stevie Thunder was glad he had joined us this morning. Shame the light was poor but we still managed a good variety of birds. We chatted about my DBC field trip to Bishop Middleham yesterday and i was saying it was a success tho a few more folk would have been nice. It was Steve's next destination and he fancied finding a Wood Sandpiper and i explained where i thought the best place to find one was....and i was right!. Well done Steve
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 1st May 05.15-10.00 E2 2/8

Gannet 130n 54s
Common Gull 5n 77s
Eider 3n 5s
Sandwich Tern 4n 130s
Fulmar 30n
Common Scoter 4n 6s
Red th Diver 8n 2s
Puffin 1n 2s
Common Tern 5n 4s
Arctic Tern 6n 8s
Manxie 1n
Tufted Duck 2n 2s
Shag 2n
Shelduck 6n
Swallow 4n
Goosander 1s
Oyster Catcher 35n
Whimbrel 7s
Sand Martin 1n
Grey Plover 1s
Teal 2s
Kestrel 1n
Garganey 1n Drake 08.15

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Wind of change....

 Shore Lark, Great Northern Diver and a Blue Fulmar passed Whitburn Obs by 11am this morning. The wind of change was blowing as i arrived, a warmer southerly wind i enjoyed Gropper reeling and Whitethroat singing as i made my way down. It was busy and i sent a few tweets trying to muster some support as both Marks were not in today and Stoney was not going to be in the house, maybe Boy Wonder would come to my rescue. I hadn't expected to be working this hard lots of birds and lots of species to keep a note of. Eventually Pink Floyd arrived and made a big difference you cant be looking through your scope at distant Terns and still see Divers going past close in. The Shore Lark was a bonus bird only the second year I've seen one from a sea watch
The sea was flat and calm so it was no surprise we had a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins heading north as well as a good selection of birds
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 29th April 05.40-11.00 SSE2 7/8

Common Gull 107n 14s
Gannet 259n 27s
Red br Merganser 1n
Common Tern 17n 18s
Wigeon 2n
Common Scoter 227n 52s
Eider 7n 11s
Grey Wagtail 1s
Sandwich Tern 32n 113s
Arctic Tern 23n 1s
Puffin 3n 4s
Redshank 3n
Black h Gull 2n
Red th Diver 13n 3s
Curlew 1n
Teal 2n
Grasshopper Warbler 1 reeling by the Obs
Shoveler 1s
Yellowhammer 1 singing
Porpoise 3s
Whimbrel 12n
Oyster Catcher 11n
Turnstone 5n 5s
Swallow 6n
Sand Martin 1n 2s
Great n Diver 1n
Shore Lark 1s 08.55
LBBGull 1n 3s
Goosander 3n
Mallard 2s
Shag 1n
Blue Fulmar 1n L
Sanderling 2n
Bottlenose Dolphin circa 12n fairly close inshore 07.48-07.55

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Barnacle spring migration gets underway...

84 Barnacle Geese went north at Whitburn Obs this morning as the spring migration started. They warmed my cockles on another cold and damp spring morning. Conditions were calmer and the light was good but early rain kept passage down with hardly any Terns seen today
Our Yellowhammer was singing again for the first time in weeks from exactly the same spot, and i managed to get my first Whitethroat of the year. My Obs year list is on 132 which is two ahead of my end of April total in 2016....still on track
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Thursday 27th April 05.30-09.30 W2 8/8

Auk sp 1850n the majority of these were by 7am
Fulmar 137n
Goldeneye 1n with auks 
Dunlin 8n
Gannet 212n 5s
Common Gull 105n 8s
Barnacle Goose 84n my first at 05.58 and last at 07.35the video is a bit rough sorry
Ringed Plover 4n
Eider 3n 3s
Common Tern 2s
Red th Diver 8n
Sandwich Tern 6n 3s
Whimbrel 3n
Turnstone 6n 2s
Goosander 9n
Shelduck 5n
Yellowhammer singing
Black h Gull 2n
Common Scoter 1n 2s
Redshank 32n
Greylag Goose 2n
Sand Martin 1n
Whitethroat 1 singing
Red br Merganser 1n

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Blue all over...

Manx Shearwater Hooded Crow and a Blue Fulmar passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings watch. Magic Mark joined me and Stoney was in the house and yes we were all feeling blue, with the cold that is. And of course the star bird was a close Blue Fulmar
Rob rang me as he walked to the Obs to say a Blue Fulmar had just flown north behind the Obs, we dashed out but missed it but you can't be greedy Ive had a couple already. It was a County tick for Rob, still a difficult bird to catch up with not many are twitchable
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 26th April 05.35-09.35 N3 6/8

Gannet 784n 13s
Fulmar 721n
Common Gull 45n 16s
Black h Gull 1n
Common Scoter 9n
Red th Diver 4n 1s
Sandwich Tern 23n 1s
Manxie n
Eider 2n 1s
Turnstone 1n
Common Tern 2s
Hooded Crow 1n
Redshank 15n
Arctic Tern 5n
Goosander 1n
Red br Merganser 1n
LBBGull 1n
Kittiwake 3,200 by 9am
Auk sp 2,900 by 9am
Blue Fulmar 1n

Monday, 24 April 2017

Migrants in the rain...

6 Whimbrel and 7 Wheatears dropped in during this mornings storm. The sea watch was quiet with rain keeping birds down and when it cleared through and the wind dropped and the birds stopped. The Wheatear were on the wall, fence, horse jump, and hut. Some birders (Hoggie) would like to see the hut demolished i like it for tired migrants to land on and to call out its coming over the now...
Sadly i missed an Obs mega today Pink Floyd called to say a Raven was flying over Shearwater Estate but i had already left
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 24th April 05.25-09.25 NW3 then 2 rain 7/8

Common Gull 65n 41s
Gannet 102n 13s well down on yesterday
Whimbrel 6n
Sandwich Tern 5n 78s
Puffin 1n
Black h Gull 2n
Eider 6n 4s
Shelduck 3n 2s
Fulmar 144n
House Martin 2n
Common Scoter 84n 2s
Red th Diver 5n 2s
Curlew 1n
Turnstone 22s
Red br Merganser 2n
Common Tern 2n
Grey Heron 1n
Wheatear 7

Sunday, 23 April 2017


Sooty Shearwater and an Arctic Skua passed Whitburn Obs by 10.30 this morning. Magic Mark was late but he didn't miss much what a difference a day makes...
The shear volume of birds yesterday was a sight to see, but today didn't disappoint it was a slow burner. A very early Sooty Shearwater was our reward, no one is better int Obs than Mark on the distant stuff, thanks marra
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 23rd April 05.25-10.30 NW1-2 7/8 calm sea with moderate swell

Fulmar 358n
Common Gull 106n 11s
Sandwich Tern 69n 52s
Puffin 13n
Gannet 675n 3s
Red th Diver 5n
Common Scoter 74n 29s
Redshank 3n
Black h Gull 8n 4s
Eider 8n 6s
Turnstone 12n
Knot 17n
Swallow 2n
Arctic Tern 6n
Whimbrel 3n 5s
LBBGull 1n
Sand Martin 7n
Greylag Goose 2n
Shag 9n
Common Tern 5n 1s
Arctic Skua 1n
Manxie 4n
Sooty Shearwater 1n

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The tide has Tern'd.......

2 Long tailed Ducks and 7 Manxies passed Whitburn Obs in 5 hours this morning. Sandwich Tern numbers have been increasing with a credible 80 odd yesterday but today we had an incredible 300 plus when i left the Obs and Magic Mark was staying......
Stevie Thunder was in for a rare visit and tried to wind me up with double calling but i was having none of it. It was canny conditions with difficult light at times. Pink Floyd picked up the Dolphins heading south and again later when they came north well done mate. Hoggie was happy to catch up with a few new year birds so all in all a cracking watch.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 22nd April 05.35-10.35 NNW2 6/8

Sandwich Tern 30n 281s
Fulmar 264n
Gannet 338n 22s
Razorbill 541n
Common Gull 372n 13s
Common Scoter 14n 4s
Dunlin 1n
Common Tern 3n
Arctic Skua1n
Black h Gull 4n 1s
Puffin 14n
Blackcap singing
Mallard 3n
Shelduck 2n 2s
Manxie 7n
Eider 5n 3s
Arctic Tern 7n 3s
Red th Diver 10n 2s
Long tailed Duck 2s
Red br Merganser 1s
Shag 5n
Whimbrel 2n
Bottlenose Dolphin 20 plus south 07.05-07.50 then same north 09.45-10.00

Friday, 21 April 2017

Wonderful Westerlies......

Black necked Grebe and a Marsh Harrier went north past Whitburn Obs by 10.30 this morning. I was out it the toon with a few birders (i use that term loosely) last night and Stoney was in the curry house....We discussed how westerlies were good for seeing Marsh Harriers off our coast and blow me.....
The day started well with another Hooded Crow, this time flying in off. This is my 4th in about 12 month, 2 last year and so far 2 this. It didn't hang around as usual. The Black-necked Grebe was my first whilst doing an obs list but not my first from the obs. It wasn't a great sea watch as such with bright sun and a blasting westerly but birds were moving i went full flaps and held on tight for the ride.

Friday 21st April 06.50-10.30 W3 2/8

Sandwich Tern 5n 5s
Common Gull 79n 16s
Curlew 1n
Hooded Crow 1 in off 06.03 then high north over the sea 07.55 not seen between those times by me

Greylag Goose 15n
Swallow 5n
Redshank 1s
Shelduck 2n
Alba Wagtail 2s
Sand Martin 16n 2s
Iceland Gull juv on rocks north of obs 06.45 then flew south 06.55
Black h Gull 2s
Goosander 5n
Shag 1n
Meadow Pipit 21 in off
Eider 10n
Grey Wagtail 1n
Wheatear 7 on range mounds
Stonechat 2 on range mound
Whimbrel 6n
Great Northern Diver 1n 08.23 (i was talking to John Chapman when this flew by but only saw it going away looked interesting)
Black necked Grebe 1n 08.28 fairly close inshore
Marsh Harrier 1n 08.46 fighting its way north being mobbed by gulls
Kestrel 1 in off
Red th Diver 1n

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Variety is the spice...

Long tailed Duck and a Blue Fulmar passed Whitburn Obs by 09.30 this morning. If as they say variety is the spice of life i had a hot watch this morning. It lacked some regulars like Divers but made up for that with the mix up of birds i saw, shame about the lack of a year tick

Thursday 20th April 05.50-09.30 W2 7/8

Gannet 6n 3s
Common Gull 34n 206s
Blue Fulmar 1n (D) 06.08
Fulmar 52n
Sandwich Tern 8n 75s
Common Sand 1 on rocks
Curlew 1n
Eider 8s
Pied Wagtail 1n
Shag 1n
Black h Gull 10n 10s
Turnstone 30n 5s
Goosander 1n
Common Tern 1n
Redshank 47n
Shelduck 3s
Sand Martin 10n 4s
Swallow 1s
Common Scoter 4n 3s
Willow Warbler 2
Whimbrel 2n
Ringed Plover 1n
Chiffchaff 1
Dunlin 1n
Long tailed Duck 1n
Grasshopper Warbler 1 reeling close by

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Moorland Magic....

Merlin and 3 Ring Ouzel were among the superb birds i watched today on the Durham Moors. No Obs today it was the first of my two visits on the BTO BBS. Ive been surveying a square on the Durham Moors for a lot of years now it's always one of my favourite days of the year. It was cold 4.5 degs and a bit windy when i arrived for a first light start. I could have waited a few days but i like to keep as close to the original survey date as possible. It was obvious some birds were late in with the cold snap, Meadow Pipits were down and some of the waders such as Snipe and Curlew. Golden Plover and Lapwing were about normal.
Although my square is in a productive area i don't often get the sought after species Wheatear and Ring Ouzel but today both were present and a male Merlin shot through as well. With sightings of Common Buzzard and Red Kite it is a bumper year on my patch.
When i was done i decided to go looking for my Ringo, it had flown west out of my square and it wasn't long before i located it sitting in a bare tree by a brook. However it was not alone, not one but three were present in the same small tree. I managed some video but the light was poor and the wind up but you can see what met my eyes
In this same area i found another five Wheatear and a singing male Stonechat
A pair of Redpoll flew over calling and a bird i have not recorded up here before Robin. I staked out a small tree and both Stonechat and Ring Ouzel came into it but didn't hang about then this Willow Warbler
It's back to the Obs tomorrow morning but i can't wait for my second BBS

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Playing away........

Long tailed Duck and Arctic Skua went north at Whitburn Obs this morning on another busy day as the light northerly continued. A duck Gadwall flew south early on then soon after flew back north with a drake Mallard in hot pursuit toward the nature reserve field. Its what we call playing away, expect some hybrid ducklings in the near future.
The meals on wheels guys arrived and i was still in the Obs which hasn't happened often of late. Unlucky Dave walked in as the Long tailed Duck went north but couldn't get on it in time and he needs it for the year, just a touch unlucky that..
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 18th April 05.45-11.10 NNW2 4/8

Fox at obs
Common Gull 301n 7s
Fulmar 197n
Sandwich Tern 35n 49s
Turnstone 1n 7s
Gannet 260n 26s
Common Scoter 4n 7s
Eider 1n 5s
LBBGull 1n
Shelduck 7n
Black h Gull 4n 1s
Velvet Scoter 1s
Shag 1n
Red th Diver 6n 3s
Iceland Gull 1n 2cy
Gadwall 3n 1s
Porpoise 5n 1s
Common Sandpiper 1n
Bonxie 3n
Whimbrel 1s
Redpoll 2s
Alba Wagtail 2n
Common Tern 1n
Arctic Skua 1n
Long tailed Duck 1n
Red br Merganser 8n
Curlew 2n
Bottlenose Dolphin 2n (probable not seen well)
Bar t Godwit 1s
Tufted Duck 1n
Tall Ship 1n

Monday, 17 April 2017

Many happy re'Terns'

2 Great Northern Divers and 2 Manxies passed Whitburn Obs  by 10.30 this morning. Magic Mark and Boy Wonder joined me for a reet canny sea watch in a light northerly wind. For the first time this year we saw three species of Tern as our first Arctic and Common Terns went north, welcome back!
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 17th April 05.45-10.30 N2 4/8

Fulmar 140n
Razorbill 235n
Gannet 181n 22s
Common Gull 123n 1s
Eider 10n 4s
Bar tailed Godwit 3n
Sandwich Tern 26n 18s
Red th Diver 11n
Manxie 2n
Curlew 1s
Goosander 1n
Arctic Tern 2n
Common Scoter 16n 3s
Shelduck 1n 2s
Common Tern 4n
Grey Heron 1n
Puffin 3n
Tufted Duck 2n
Shag 3n
Redshank 1s
Whimbrel 2n
LBBGull 1n
Black h Gull 4n 1s
Great Northern Diver 2n
Teal 2s
Wigeon 1n
Chiffchaff 1

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Wandering Waders....

Whimbrel and Bar tailed Godwits went north at Whitburn Obs this morning. Migrants have been held up with the cold Easter weather so it was nice to see waders starting to move right on cue. Magic Mark joined me and Stoney was in the house and the Whimbrel was our bird of the morning calling as it headed north. We had a bit of a mixed bag today but not the Humpback we were hoping for
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 16th April 05.50-09.50 NW2 6/8

Fulmar 152n
Common Gull 112n 99s
Common Scoter 10n 2s
Sandwich Tern 16n 45s
Goose sp 3n
LBBGull 1n
Eider 13n 1s
Bar tailed Godwit 3n
Turnstone 8n 15s
Alba Wagtail 1n 1s
Swallow 1n 1s
Greylag Goose 7s
Shelduck 5n
Sand Martin 6n
Red th Diver 3n
Shag 1s
Mute Swan 3n 3s
Tufted Duck 2n
Curlew 1n
Black h Gull 5n 6s
Merlin 1n
Meadow Pipit 4 in off
Ringed Plover 1s
Whimbrel 1n

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Bakers dozen.......

Long tailed Duck and Velvet Scoter passed Whitburn Obs on our early morning sea watch today but the stars of the show were circa 20 Bottlenose Dolphins. It is always a real pleasure to watch Dolphins off our coast and so few people are aware of what they could see locally. I picked them up when i noticed Gull activity to the south and moved into camera mode but the full cloud cover made it hard to get the camera to focus. Still i got a bit of film as you can see
Common Scoter numbers are at last beginning to increase and it was amusing that Rob called three different flocks of ducks coming north that all had 13 in the flock, bakers dozen...
This is hat we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 12th April o5.55-09.45 W3 8/8

Common Gull 183n 32s
Eider 1n 15s
Common Scoter 69n 14s
Gannet 24n 8s
Black h Gull 3n 10s
Sandwich Tern 10n 29s
Turnstone 14n 6s
Shag 2n
Redshank 6s
Teal 2n
Long tailed Duck 1s
Red th Diver 3n 1s
Velvet Scoter 1n
Porpoise 1n
Bottlenose Dolphin-12n 06.40-06.55 then 8n 07.10-07.15

Monday, 10 April 2017

Lightning strikes twice.......

Hooded Crow went north passed Whitburn Obs this morning on an otherwise poor sea watch. Westerly winds and bright sun are not very inviting for sea watching so i didn't hang about this morning tho plenty of birds are on the move
On the 10th of April 2016 i called a Hooded Crow flying south it was a new Obs bird for me. When news came yesterday of another at St Mary's i jokingly asked @WhitleyBirder to send it south and thought that would be the last i heard of it. This morning things were slow so i popped out the back of the Obs to have a scan looking toward the firing range i looked through my scope and without moving it one fraction would you adam and eve it a Hooded Crow was in my scope. Now they say lightning doesn't strike twice but they are wrong, it did as it is the 10th of April 2017.
Well done Jack Bucknall you were true to your word. I don't do the lotto but as i left Whitburn i bought a Euro millions lucky dip ticket and one of my numbers is 10......
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 10th April  05.55-09.30 W then NW 2-3 0/8

Common Gull 25n 56s
Curlew 3s
Sandwich Tern 1n
Meadow Pipit 6s
Alba Wagtail 3n 1s
Shelduck 4s
Eider 5n 1s
Hooded Crow on rifle range 07.05 then north passed Obs 07.15

Sand Martin 3s
Black h Gull 3n 4s
Turnstone 7s
Wheatear 2 on Jackies beach
Grey Heron 1s

Sunday, 9 April 2017

That spoon that spoon that spoonbill....

Iceland Gull and 26 Whooper Swans were seen from Whitburn Obs this morning. We have a new south facing bench and it didn't take long for us to abandon the Obs on a day with rubbish light and go for the outdoors. It helped us nail House Martin and Swallow plus a few Wheatear but not the hoped for Ringo today....
Some years ago Saint Mark saw a Spoonbill from the Obs and i need it for my all time Obs list. So when news came of two Spoonbills flying North from Saltholme it was game on. I waited patiently on the new bench and picked up on a large bird heading our way but it was a Grey Heron, next time..
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 9th April 06.00-10.30 S2 0/8

Eider 7n 3s
Gannet 6n 4s
Red th Diver 3n
Sandwich Tern 3n 18s
Iceland Gull 2nd won range again
Gadwall 2n
Alba Wagtail 5s
Red br Merganser 1n
Common Scoter 32n 3s
Black h Gull 21s
Grey Heron 1n
Sand Martin 2n 10s
Shelduck 2n
Shag 2n 1s
LBBGull 1 on range
Wheatear 3or4
 Whooper Swan 26n
Swallow 1n
Yellowhammer 1 still in hedge
House Martin 1s

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Common as muck....

8 Velvet Scoter and 30 Sandwich Terns passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings early watch. Saint Mark joined me and later Pink Floyd. Common Gull numbers have been building up all week and today it went crazy. I logged over 800 the second largest count ever. Its still well behind the record count set last year on the 17th April of 1611....hope I'm not counting the day they peak.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 8th April 06.00-09.35 W2 0/8

Common Gull 868n 8s
Red th Diver 3n 2s
Cormorant 31n 52s
Common Scoter 30n 5s
Black h Gull 7n 1s
Turnstone 9s
Redshank 3n 1s
Sandwich Tern 14n 16s
Alba Wagtail 4n 3s
Eider 13n 10s
Shelduck 1s
Gannet 4n 5s
Grey Heron 2n 1s
Sand Martin 3n 7s
Willow Warbler 1
Shag 8n
Meadow Pipit 42 in off
Velvet Scoter 8n

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Gloria Gaynor time.....

2 Great Northern Divers and a Long tailed Duck passed Whitburn Obs early morning. It was a slow day and at times. If the crab sandwich boys had turned up i would have said 'go walk out the door' but it just shows you my last four species were Goosander, Swallow, Long tailed Duck and two GNDivers. Mind thats about all i saw in that last hour. The Common Gull count keeps growing
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Thursday 6th April 06.00-09.00 W1-2 0/8

Common Gull 336n 39s
Cormorant 16n 50s
Eider 8n 10s
Teal 2n
Common Scoter 28n
Black h Gull 12n 32s
Shag 7n 1s
Red th Diver 5n
Sandwich Tern 1n 4s
Meadow Pipit 11 in off
Alba Wagtail 1n 4s
Gannet 3n
Sand Martin 3n
Linnet 3 in off
Shelduck 2n 1s
Goosander 1n
Swallow 3s
Long tailed Duck 1n
Great Northern Divers 2s

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Abandon ship.......

Merlin and 13 Sandwich Terns were seen from Whitburn Obs by 9am this morning. Stoney was in the house and from the off we reckoned the conditions looked good for raptors with a brisk NW and sunshine. The light was difficult but it was a nice change when someone other than me saw Merlin from the Obs, 10 minutes later than yesterdays
Rob told me the news that Foss had a Black Kite so we abandoned the sea watch and headed to Cleadon. Sadly we didn't connect but this is what we did see in order of appearance

Wednesday 6th April 06.00-09.00 NW2 3/8

Alba Wagtail 3n 4s
Kittiwake 4000 plus n is a conservative estimate over the watch they just kept coming
Cormorant 13n 35s
Eider 5n 6s
Common Gull 159n 39s
Chiffchaff 1
Red th Diver 3n 1s
Black h Gull 10n 19s
Sandwich Tern 7n 6s
Curlew 1n
Common Scoter 4n 9s
Carrion Crow 20
Sand Martin 4n
Linnet 22 in off
Merlin 1n heading in off 07.21
Meadow Pipit 8 in off
Grey Wagtail 1s
Porpoise 1n
Gannet 4n
Shag 1n
We had no luck locating the Kite but the good news is Rob found an Osprey trying

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

You can't beat a pair of Red-breasts.....

Osprey and Merlin went north at Whitburn Obs this morning. On a much better day with good light and a calm sea early on plenty of birds were moving. By the time i left the cloud had broken and the birds dried up was glad i got the best of them. The Merlin came in off from a long way out very close to me in the end i ran outside to follow it and it headed high north. The Osprey was picked up when i noticed a lot of Gull activity to the north, it was cutting in so maybe someone will get a better view than me. Sawbills were moving with Mergansers and Goosanders moving north
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 4th April 05.55-10.30 S1 then NW2 7/8 THEN 4/8

Cormorant 30n 43s
Puffin 11n
Common Gull 132n 111s
Common Scoter 4n 5s
Shoveler 1n 1s
Canada Goose 2s
Gannet 2n 5s
Red th Diver 1n 4s
Eider 3n 12s
Red br Merganser 8n

Goosander 4n
Teal 2n 2s
LBBGull 1n
Sandwich Tern 1n 1s
Merlin in off and north 07.15
Alba Wagtail 1n 1s
Porpoise 2s
Greylag Goose 3n 3s

Turnstone 5n
Shag 4n 1s
Osprey 1n 08.00 low over and putting gulls up
Black h Gull 7n 3s
Shelduck 1s
Grey Wagtail 1s
Sand Martin 1n

Monday, 3 April 2017


Glaucous Gull and a Sandwich Tern were seen from Whitburn Obs today. I went outside to look for our regular Iceland Gull and found a Glaucous Gull....and for my next trick
Stoney was in the house and it was good to have the extra eyes but it was a different day to Sunday. Poor light and less birds did for us. Only one Sandwich Tern was a disappointment after 20 plus were logged yesterday. Common Gull numbers are on the up and of the nearly 300 seen i only noticed one adult
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 3rd April 06.10-09.30 S2 1/8

Redwing 8+ in the hedge on the obs path
Eider 6n 10s
Teal 1s
Black h Gull 26s
Cormorant 21n 51s
Shelduck 2n 1s
Common Scoter 5n 14s
Curlew 6s
Common Gull 39n 255s
Alba Wagtail 1n 9s
Red th Diver 1n 4s
Canada Goose 2n
Puffin 1n
Chiffchaff 1
Sandwich Tern 1n
Dunlin 10n
Gannet 3n 2s
Shag 1n 1s
Glaucous Gull juv one on the range
Rock Pipit 1s

Sunday, 2 April 2017

They're back......

19 Sandwich Terns passed Whitburn Obs by 10.05 this morning. We can officially say that Sarnies are back! and i will be counting them every day which is great news just another 6 species of Tern required then....
Saint Mark joined me and later Hoggie and Walter and it was another action packed day with loads of birds passing. The year ticks kept coming with a Brambling over. When i heard a warbler like contact call i asked Mark to investigate as i am sandwiched in the middle of the Obs furthest from a door, he shouted Coal Tit and i was up and out in a shot all evidence of a bad leg gone. So already the year list is on 116.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 2nd April 06.05-10.05 N1 4/8

Cormorant 22n 39s
Common Gull 214n 13s
Eider 7n 8s
Wigeon 2n
Curlew 56s
Grey Wagtail 1s
Yellowhammer 1
Common Scoter 16n 9s
Goldcrest 1 in off
Porpoise 2n 1s
Alba Wagtail 1n 4s
Kestrel 2
Sandwich Tern 18n 1s
Red th Diver 1n 5s
Ringed Plover 4n
Gannet 8n 2s
Oyster Catcher 1n
Greylag Goose 1n 2s
Sanderling 9n
Sand Martin 4n 2s
Meadow Pipit 4s
Chiffchaff 1
Shag 3n
Iceland Gull 1 on range 2nd w
Sparrowhawk 3 up together
Black h Gull 1n
Kittiwake 235 in 15 mins
Redshank 15s
Turnstone 15s
Teal 1n
Coal Tit 1 get in!
Brambling 1

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Won't get fooled again....

Long-tailed Duck and Iceland Gull were seen from Whitburn Obs this morning. It was a lovely spring morning with plenty of birds moving. My year tick for the day was a Winter visitor Redwing. Of course it's the 1st of April and we all know what that means...Yes we were taken in for a short while by a tweet from our buddy @SteelySeabirder Narwhal indeed
This is what we saw today in order of appearance

Saturday 1st April 06.25-10.15 S1-2 4/8

Black h Gull 12n 30s
Eider 6n 1s
Gannet 10n
Common Gull 9n 133s
Redwing 4n
Iceland Gull on rifle range 2nd w
Alba Wagtail 15s
Curlew 3s
Cormorant 11n 24s
Red th Diver 7n 4s
Common Scoter
Long tailed Duck 1s
Shag 8n 6s
Porpoise 3s
Redshank 12n 1s
Sandwich Tern 4n 1s
Meadow Pipit 10s
Pied Wagtail 6s
Knot 5n
Goosander 3n 3s
Shelduck 2n 1s
Wood Pigeon 2s
Greylag Goose 1n
Rock Pipit 1s
Sparrowhawk 1n 1s
Sand Martin 1n 5s
Ringed Plover 3s
Turnstone 23s
Sanderling 4s
Goose sp 4s

Friday, 31 March 2017

Ebony or Ivory.......

Iceland Gull and 70 Pink feet were from Whitburn Obs this morning. It was a very pleasant watch with loads of variety and a nice early Swallow south. My March year listed total ended on 113 better than the 108 last year so on track.
Just over a week ago I blogged about a large Diver that could have been White Billed so i thought i might give a bit more detail of what i saw as that blog has had a lot of hits.
Pink Floyd called a Diver north and i got my scope on it and said its a large Diver. That is Obs speak for its not a Red throat so everyone will look at it. It was passing at a nice distance and a second smaller Diver was flying directly under it. My first impressions were of an average size Great Northern one of the other observers said it was a Black-throated but i said not it was a big diver. For some reason i started at the feet and worked back to front checking it out. Its feet were not particularly large and certainly not club like as some White-billed I've seen. Its belly wasn't massive either in fact nothing was remarkable about it. I noticed some white starting to come through on its mantle and back and was surprised not to see any obvious neck collar. When i got to its bill it was getting well north and i was a bit taken aback as it was ivory, not dark or grey. It had its bill held open in flight a feature i have seen on the majority of White-billed but i have seen once on a Great Northern.
I put the news out in the hope that someone further north would clinch it but both sites who reported it just said possible as i had. Why did i not notice the ivory bill earlier....don't know
This is what we had today in order of appearance

Friday 31st March 06.30-10.15 S2 8/8

Grey Partridge calling
Common Gull 117n 24s
Black h Gull 1n 28s
Eider 6n 12s
Fulmar 21n 7s
Common Scoter 21n 2s
Alba Wagtail 13s
Cormorant 8n 26s
Yellowhammer calling
Gannet 6n
Grey Wagtail 3s
Red th Diver 2n 3s
Meadow Pipit 11s
Shelduck 1n 3s
Swallow 1s
Wigeon 2n
Chiffchaff 1 calling
Turnstone 26s
Pink footed Goose 70n
Teal 2n
Sandwich Tern 1s
Greylag Goose 3n
Wood pigeon 5s
Shoveler 1s
Kestrel 1s
Sky Lark 2s
Shag 3n
Ringed Plover 1s
Pied Wagtail 1n 4s

Thursday, 30 March 2017

You can't beat a White Arse.........

Osprey and a Great Northern Diver went north at Whitburn Obs in 3.5 hours this morning. It was a very slow start this morning with lots of heat haze, it wasn't till 08.20 when i saw two Tern sp going north high up that things started happening. I got the scope on them and confirmed Sandwich but picked up on a large raptor going north further out. I could make out the white underparts and face of an Osprey, not as exciting as last years close bird but a welcome tick. The bird that won star bird at this stage was my first Wheatear scoped on Jackie's beach, as i said its nice to see your first white.... video attached. As it turned out that half hour spell brought most of the decent birds i saw,  till later....
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Thursday 30th March 06.30-10.00 S2-3 6/8 heat haze

Cormorant 3n 5s
Common Gull 1n 25s
Fulmar 26n 21s
Eider 2n 13s
Gannet 3n 3s
Alba Wagtail 3s
Shag 6n
Yellowhammer 1
Common Scoter 2n 6s
Black h Gull 1n 11s
Grey Wagtail 1s
Greylag Goose 2s
Sandwich Tern 2n
Osprey 1n 08.20
Peregrine 1s sub adult
Raptor sp 1s large and dark 08.40
Great Northern Diver 1n 08.53 winter plumage
Shelduck 2n
Wheatear 1 scoped on Jackie's beach
And that should have been that, two Obs year ticks one miles out the other showed well. I had just walked back in the house and still had my thermals on from early morning when Mark Newsome rang me at 12.23 with news that Geoff Iceton had an Alpine Swift moving north from Hartlepool, he'd had a call from Tom Francis so back in the car in seconds and off to whence i had been. All the lights were in my favour no train at Boldon i flew through within permitted speed limits of course and hobbled to the Obs mound. I had carried my scope and it was just as well as i picked the bird up scoping well south it was east of Roker Lighthouse and higher than the lighthouse. I called out the cloud colour as you do trying to get the guys onto it. Hoggie dashed for his scope and i relocated the bird further west but still very distant not coming our way and lost it again i think it may have gone up the River Wear. It was a shame because some birders north of us were looking with bins but it never came close enough to be seen with them. So thanks to Geoff, Tom, and Mark i have a fantastic addition to my Obs all time list. Its overdue really just a shame it didn't keep coming up the east coast. It was my 5th in County Durham, and tomorrow......

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Mr Sandman build me a home.....

Sandwich Tern and Sand Martin both went north past the Obs this morning but I'm still waiting for the Obs first Wheatear. It was a canny sea watch but nothing special was going on so i was out scanning for migrants, sadly i left before the rain so maybe tomorrow. I saw my first Sand Martin flying above the guys working on the construction of the new Sand Martin nesting bank, hurry up it was saying...
The National Trust team do a great job at Whitburn and in August (date to be confirmed) Jason will be doing a ringing demonstration for members of Durham Bird Club.

This is what i saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 29th March SW2 06.30-10.00 6/8 drizzle at times

Cormorant 11n 15s
Common Gull 5n 20s
Fulmar 144n 8s
Gannet 17n
Black h Gull 2n 12s
Goosander 1n
Grey Heron 1s
Eider 5n 7s
Red th Diver 6n 1s
Puffin 1s
Sandwich Tern 1n
Shag 6n
Alba Wagtail 3s
Red br Merganser 1n
Shelduck 2n
Velvet Scoter 3n
Turnstone 4s
Common Scoter 1n
Lapwing 3s
Sand Martin 1n

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Silence is golden.....

Great Northern Diver and a Peregrine went south at Whitburn Obs early morning. I've not had much to blog about for a few days so today is a bit of a summary as well as today's birds
Saint Mark managed his 100th species on his patch at Whitburn on Sunday, this Mute Swan went south then north again as well as landing on the sea in front of the Obs. Its a scarce bird from here with Whooper being the common Swan
Mark also found our now resident Yellowhammer another very scarce bird only my third in five years. Yesterday i sat hoping for the fog to clear but had to give in eventually and the only bird that showed well was the Hammer, video later in the blog

Tuesday 28th March 06.40-10.15 SE2-3 8/8 some mist

Common Scoter 2n
Cormorant 12n 23s
Common Gull 6n 89s
Fulmar 22n 8s
Guillemot 205s
Razorbill 1n 16s
Curlew 69s
Redshank 2s
Black h Gull 1n 3s
Peregrine 1s mucky sub ad
Great Northern Diver 1s winter plumage bird
Red br Merganser 1n
Eider 5n 7s
Turnstone 31s
Red th Diver 4n 4s
Gannet 2n 1s
Shelduck 1s
Alba Wagtail 1n 2s
Goldcrest 2 in off
Yellowhammer 1 still outside the Obs singing this is yesterdays video in the fog