Friday, 20 October 2017

Bramble on......

 Black-throated Diver, Long-tailed Duck 7 Little Gulls were some of the highlights on today's busy sea watch. Stoney was in the house and i needed the extra eyes as Ducks were moving and coming from all heights and directions. In addition migration was in full swing with the conditions dropping in Thrushes and Finches all the time. 'Leaves are falling all around it's time i was on my way' Bramble on... Two Brambling landed near the Obs and hung around a while giving good views from the Obs wall.
Sadly i could not wait for the Spoonbill heading north from Blackhall Rocks but it was seen by some from the ringing hut well after i had departed.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 20th October 07.10-11.10 W1-2 4/8 mist at times

Wigeon 749n 10s
Teal 274n 4s
Common Gull 73n 8s
Black h Gull 136n 35s
Cormorant 1n 10s
Brambling 2 in off

Red th Diver 5n 3s
Curlew 8n
Ruff 1n
Pintail 5n
Common Scoter 230n 138s
Gannet 148n 30s
Long tailed Duck 1n
Fulmar 1n 1s
Velvet Scoter 1n
Eider 16n 1s
Red br Merganser 1n
Snipe 3n
Arctic Skua 12n
Little Gull 2n 5s
Siskin 9 in off
Bonxie 4n
Redwing 3 in off
Shoveler 1s
Sandwich Tern 8s
Starling 2 in off
Goldeneye 2n
Shelduck 1n 2s
Dunlin 5n
Brent Goose db 6n 6s
Mallard 1n
Black th Diver 1n
Manx Shearwater 1n
Shag 1n
Common Tern 1s

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Lobster surprise.....

Only three Divers passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings watch, the good news is they were of three different species. Yet another blasting westerly didn't give me much hope for today's watch, but yet again a westerly wind came up trumps. Not with the number of birds but the variety of species, Pink Floyd joined me but left his sharpness in bed. The crab sandwich boys arrived and we were treated to the sight of a cracking lobster fresh out of the pot and still nipping but i suspect not for long. My first south at the Obs......
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 17th October 07.05-10.30 WSW4-5 decreasing 6/8

Black h Gull 10n 107s
Common Gull 154s
Ringed Plover 1s
Eider 7n 3s
Cormorant 2n 6s
Meadow Pipit 9s
Common Scoter 52n 13s
Kestrel 1s
Sand Martin 1s
Redshank 1s
Golden Plover 1s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Gannet 20n 37s
Arctic Tern 1s
Med Gull 1s ad
Barnacle Goose 1s
Curlew 2n 1s
Shelduck 4n
Scaup 2s pr
Tufted Duck 1s
GBBGull a single flock of circa 100 went south together
Red th Diver 1s
Redpoll 1s
Gadwall 2s
Jack Snipe 1s
Turnstone 1n
Wigeon 3n
Black th Diver 1n
Peregrine 1n juv

Saturday, 14 October 2017


Balearic Shearwater and 36 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings watch and we saw our latest ever Minke Whale. On a dead still sea with full cloud cover and a westerly wind you would not expect a lot....We did ok. Saint Mark called the Minke and it hung around for 25 minutes distant but viewable with a scope on the flat sea. In the past we have been accused of being protective of what we see at the Obs but this is not true, we always put the news out when we can and any locals had time to come and look. The video is from a previous Whitburn not enough light today.
Many smaller Gulls were moving and it wasn't a shock when Magic Mark started picking them up. At some time during the watch Moth Man arrived and soon started his well known singing??? and humming, all it needed was for Pink Floyd to start singing comfortably numb.....
This is what we saw in order of appearance

 Saturday 14th October 07.00-10.45 W1 8/8

Black h Gull 350n 46s
Common Gull 200n 11s
Gannet 129n 34s
Common Scoter 18n 18s
Curlew 1n 1s
Porpoise 3n 1s
Red th Diver 10n 20s
Cormorant 1n 10s
Meadow Pipit 4s
Shoveler 1s
Eider 5n
Arctic Skua 4n 1s
Redshank 1s
Turnstone 12s
Manx Shearwater 8n 2s
Grey Heron 1s
Balearic Shearwater 1n 08.00
Tufted Duck 1n
Little Gull 34n 2s
Common Tern 1n
Redpoll 2 in off
Wigeon 6n 1s
Shag 18s
Greylag Goose 20n
Arctic Tern 1n
Pied Wagtail 1n
Pink-footed Goose 85n
Scan Herring Gull 1n
Minke Whale 1s 08.40-09.05

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Call of the wild.....

 3 Little Stints and 2 Whooper Swans passed Whitburn Obs by 10.45 today. It was a slow start with little wind but good light, nothing much was happening. Then i heard that familiar sound Red-throated Divers calling, and looked up and sure enough a 'flock' of 5 were flying high south. It happened another couple of times when i heard them before looking and finding them and on one occasion they were miles out, that call must travel a long way. The watch got better as the morning went on with the local Peregrine chasing Golden Plovers and amazingly 3 Little Stints flying with Dunlin for comparison. A wader was flying with the feeding Black headed Gulls but landed on the sea before i could sort it out and never showed again. Pink Floyd arrived with the pie and pea boys and continued his recent good form calling the Whooper Swans and the Merlin
This is what was seen in order of appearance

Thursday 12th October 07.00-10.30 SW1-2 8/8

Black h Gull 181n 309s
Common Gull 22n 52s
Eider 4n 1s
Red-throated Diver 10n 35s
Meadow Pipit 32s
Curlew 18n
Redpoll 2 in off
Cormorant 18s
Dunlin 5n 8s
Little Stint 3n
Guillemot 453n
Redshank 2s
Grey Heron 1s
Common Scoter 5n 9s
Gannet 20n 4s
Goosander 4s
Red br Merganser 1s
Wigeon 9s
Peregrine 1s juv
Common Tern 1n
Turnstone 2s
Arctic Tern 1n 1s
Manx Shearwater 1s
Ringed Plover 1s
Whooper Swan 2s
Merlin 1s (looked like a male)

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Cackling Hell........

 2168 Barnacle Geese and one probable Richardson's Cackling Goose passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings watch. The shutters were open but the lights were out, it was still dark when we saw our first skein of Barnacle Geese fly north. And for the rest of the watch they continued to move with yet again a very good supporting cast. Stevie Thunder called a small Canada Goose flying with a large skein of Barnacles, the last bird...I managed some video which is being looked at but it is probably the Richardson's Cackling Goose that arrived at Budle Bay with Barnacles as found by our very own Boy Wonder who was AWOL
Ross was not the only local sea watcher missing from the Obs but five of us saw the bird
It was another manic watch and i am close to resigning as note taker for the Obs, i need a blinkin rest phew. Woodcock in off was year tick and early on Redwing were on the move.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 8th October 06.50-11.35 WNW2 7/8

Black h Gull 98n 78s
Common Gull 54n 13s
Barnacle Goose 1574n 594s
Eider 6n 10s
Teal 251n
Woodcock 1 in off
Red th Diver 51n 34s
Velvet Scoter 9n
Wigeon 360n 11s
Meadow Pipit 12 in off
Redwing 2 in off
Gannet 419n 32s
Common Scoter 106n 50s
Goldeneye 4n 3s
Manx Shearwater 6n
Bonxie 2n 1s
Dunlin 10s
Mallard 8n
Turnstone 3n
Ringed Plover 1s
Curlew 3n
Tufted Duck 4n
Porpoise 2
Grey Plover 2s
Knot 2s
Scaup 1n
Red br Merganser 5n 9s
Pink footed Goose 20n 35s
Arctic Skua 3n
Puffin 6n
LBBGull 1s
Golden Plover 4n
Shag 5n
Pom Skua 1s
Redpoll 2 in off
Pintail 1n
Great Northern Diver 1n

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Banana for breakfast........

White-billed, Great Northern and Black-throated Diver were on the breakfast menu today tho not many were enjoying the meal. Saint and Magic Mark joined me this morning with Pink Floyd not far behind and what a feast of birds we had. A few expected enthusiasts were missing and those few who had made the effort had little expectation on a westerly wind.
It was one of those days when the light was good and the birds just kept coming. The White-billed Diver was the icing on the cake my first since 2011 and new for my Obs list which only started five years ago. It was a good team effort of finding and identifying this special sea watching mega.
On top of all this Pink Floyd called the expected first Whoopers of the year, he's having a good week. As you will see from the video the last in line of the Swans has a badly kinked neck, very unusual and looks painful. Oh and did i mention the 15 species of wildfowl......
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 7th October 06.45-11.45 W3 7/8

Black h Gull 182n 46s
Common Gull 37n 9s
Gannet 479n 277s
Guillemot 120n 290s
Eider 11n 6s
Common Scoter 99n 18s
Great Northern Diver 1n
Red th Diver 31n 53s
Wigeon 430n
Tufted Duck 2n
Teal 43n 9s
Curlew 4n
Manxie 3n
Red br Merganser 1n
White-billed Diver 1n 07.50-08.00
Pink footed Goose 2n 216s
Scaup 6n
Meadow Pipit 12s
Shag 10n 15s
Redshank 5n
Wheatear 1 on obs wall
Goldeneye 3n
Whooper Swan 4s

Pintail 6n
Grey Heron 2n 1s
Golden Plover 70s
Arctic Tern 3n
Scan Herring Gull 1n
Goosander 1 on sea
Turnstone 1n
Goose sp 3s
Gadwall 2n
Velvet Scoter 11n 1s
Pochard 3n
Pom Skua 2s
Black th Diver 1n

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Winter is here.....

circa 2000 Pink-footed Geese passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings sea watch. Not long ago i titled my blog 'Winter is Coming'... well its arrived, the Terns have gone and Geese have arrived. From first light they started moving in both directions and it was a fantastic spectacle, nothings quite like the sound of Pinks passing overhead.
Pink Floyd called the Harrier and it was difficult to nail the id in the strong sun but eventually we could see it was Marsh, a good bird on a sea watch
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 3rd October 06.40-10.40 W4-5 0/8
Black h Gull 65n 338s
Common Gull 1n 74s
Pink-footed Goose 708n 1304s

Cormorant 2n 81s
Merlin 1s
Curlew 2s
Meadow Pipit 275s
Red th Diver 1n 29s
Gannet 17n 4s
Ruff 3n
Golden Plover 3n 9s
Shag 1s
Swallow 1s
Eider 6s
Goosander 12s
Wigeon 2n 7s
Teal 8n 20s
Red br Merganser 3n
Skylark 2s
Marsh Harrier 1s prob a juv 09.40