Thursday, 29 August 2013


I managed to catch up with the Pintail at Arcot this afternoon as it slept on the edge of the island in the NW corner along with a female Shoveler, 5 Gadwal and  5 Wigeon. The Garganey was feeding just off the island towards the reeds.

Also I saw a grey and green stripey juvenile Green Woodpecker probing between the cracks of the pavement along Bassington Lane. It was on the pavement in front of one of the factories that seems to have no name, not an area I have seen one before, not the usual area near Bassington NR.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Weekend Waders and others

Despite missing three Whinchat, Pintail and Marsh Harrier on the patch over the weekend I saw some good stuff up the coast. At East Chevington on Monday night around 8 with Cain, the north pool was lifting with birds. 200+ Greylags came to roost on the north pool, four Bar-Headed Geese were amongst them. There was no sign of the Spotted Crake but an amazing 49 Ruff were together on the mud. The size difference between the males and females was really noticeable even in the fading light.  Starlings were chattering away from the reeds and a Greenshank also dropped in.  As we were leaving a Tawny Owl flew low over the car near the entrance to the reserve.

Tuesday morning I was back at East Chev with LMcD. The number of Ruff had halved but a Spotted Redshank was now on the mud along with 3 Golden Plover and eight Black-Tailed Godwit. A pair of Great Crested Grebes were also on the north pool and most surprising of all two Fulmar were flying around the north pool before heading back out too sea.
The Spotted Crake did show itself briefly but I couldn't get onto it in time before it crept back into the reeds.

Cresswell Pond held three Spotted Redshanks close to the hide along with a few Greenshank and a Whimbrel was whistling overhead. Also a second year Med Gull landed on the sand bar.

Last night I did the Cormorant count at Blyth Harbout with SH. 134 Cormorants were in the harbour along with 46 Kittiwakes and some Dunlin were amongst the Ringed Plover on the factory roof.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Booted Forward

Busy all day yesterday so didn't even know about anything that had been seen anywhere until a text from Cain. So this morning myself, Cain and Tom headed up to Druridge for a few hours. A few common migrants were noted at Hadston Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat etc but no Booted Warbler. Missed a Marsh Harrier and Red Necked Grebe flying north also.
We could only spend a few hours early morning as we all had prior arrangement for the afternoon. On the way back though we did stop at WH and saw the Little Stint and Sanderling standing together.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Hard work pays off

Liver Birder's hard work that is as last night I twitched Cramlington's first ever Sanderling at West Hartford. I have never seen one away from the beach before not even somewhere as close to it as Cresswell Pond or East Chevington.
A Yellow Wagtail in the dead trees was also nice to see. Role on the next big find, a Citrine Wagtail! Mark my words.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Early Viking?

Had another morning out with LMcD today starting at West Hartford and Arcot Pond. WH was dead and Arcot wasn't much better although I finally managed to catch up with the Garganey and clawed back a female Shoveler.

Next we headed for Druridge Bay. On the way we stopped at a dried out Lynemouth Flash but did see something unusual there. A Jackdaw amongst a flock of 50 or so had a full white collar all the way around its neck. Seen quite closely it definitely wasn't molt feathers but it seems too early for a bird showing Nordic characteristics. Any suggestions? Also 30+ Linnet were on the mud

Not much else to report for Cresswell other than four Greenshank and an Avocet. The last month was and continues to be hard work.

Friday, 16 August 2013


After reading Stewart's latest post:
It got me thinking about when I was out last week with LMcD. At a few separate locations we heard either individual or small parties of Crossbill passing over. There aren't many around anywhere at the moment and Lindsay said that when he was in the scottish highlands in May he only heard and saw three!
The day we heard them roughly coincided with the first Two-barred Crossbill sightings in the country. One place we had a few pass over was East Cramlington LNR, there are probably a few in the plantations around there.

I have tried a few times this week for the female Garganey at Arcot Pond but without a scope and in poor light. Yesterday I got there a bit earlier and thought I was onto it when another swam out form behind the island making me think that I was probably looking at Teal rather than two female Garganey.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wader Waters

Was out with LMcD yesterday morning for a few hours. We stayed local starting with West Hartford. Now topped up with rain the pools look in much better shape for the autumn but they were deserted yesterday. It was a similar story at Arcot Pond until a Black-tailed Godwit appeared from behind the NE island and wandered around.

East Cramlington NWT was also quiet as was Holywell Pond. There were none of the recent waders at Holywell but four Bar-headed Geese were amongst the usual Canadas and Greylags in front of the public hide. They soon moved from the water onto the meadow and all four birds were not ringed.
St.Mary's Wetland was too overgrown to see properly but we could hear a Reed Warbler singing form the reeds at the north end.

next we decided to check the coastal fields between Seaton Sluice and Blyth as they often flood and can hold water for a while. The fields near Gloucester Lodge Farm opposite the toilet block held the only pool attracting any birds. 100 Lapwing, 50 Black Headed Gull, masses of Starlings, a juvenile Shelduck, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel were all taking advantage of the flood. The Godwits and Whimbrel were all on the edge of the pool but were spooked by a tractor coming down the lane opposite.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Spotted a Crake

I went to East Chevington late afternoon yesterday with SH. Despite the rainfall from recent nights the water level on the north pool remains very low. Two Ruff, Greenshank and a Curlew Sandpiper-looking Dunlin were all on the pool along with the bathing gulls and terns.
We scanned the edge of the reeds where the Spotted Crake has been seen but could only see young Moorhen. The presence of a Grey Heron unsettle the Moorhen and eventually the Spotted Crake made a brief appearance running along the edge of the reeds before diving into cover again. 
This is the second Spotted Crake I have seen in Northumberland but there  must been more lurking out there, Arcot Pond maybe? 

On the way back we quickly called in at Newbiggin where on the breakwater rocks next to the maritime centre, three juvenile Roseate Terns were being fed by an adult.