Saturday, 16 September 2017

Show us your bellies.....

Long-tailed and 7 Pom Skuas passed Whitburn Obs by 11.20 today on an action packed sea watch with more birds than i could keep up with. Both Marks joined me along with Pink Floyd and Stoney was in the house on a busier than usual morning, AWOL were Prof and Boy Wonder. A call from Stevie Makem watching at Seaham with the Chairman warned us of a larger diver heading our way and we enjoyed nice views of a Black-throated Diver thanks boys. Brents were moving north and it's always a task to check the bellies, the vast majority today were pale. Both videos below. We left a well manned Obs so the coverage today should be excellent
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 16th September 2017 06.05-11.20 NW4 7/8

Velvet Scoter 12n
Common Scoter 64n 3s
Gannet 1905n 74s
GBBGull 265n
Fulmar 33n
Common Gull 28n 4s
Brent Goose pb 108n
Sooty Shearwater 66n 2s
Bonxie 28n 2s
Teal 190n 12s
Eider 3n
Black h Gull 93n 11s
Wigeon 316n
Goldeneye 1n
Grey Heron 3n 1s
Red br Merganser 2s
Arctic Skua 15n 12s
Manx Shearwater 80n
Common Tern 17n 1s
Pintail 5n
Curlew 2n 3s
Red th Diver 30n 45s
Canada Goose 2n
Dunlin 67n
Brent Goose db 4n
Peregrine 1n ad
Sandwich Tern 54n 6s
Pink-footed Goose 127n 28s
Porpoise 1n
Black th Diver 1n ad sum plum 07.45 (it passed Seaham at 07.30)
Shag 8n 8s
Long-tailed Skua 1s juv
Turnstone 1n
Swallow 1n
Pom Skua 7n 3ad, 4juvs
Sanderling 28n
Ringed Plover 21n
Redshank 1n 2s
Gadwall 1n
Puffin 5n
Ruff 1n
Tufted Duck 1n
Grey Plover 1n
Goosander 1n
Blue Fulmar 1n

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Lucky for some.....

 A ring tailed Hen Harrier went south late into our sea watch today, an Obs tick for me my second in five days following the Red-necked Phal at the weekend. It was the first recorded from the Obs in four years since one was seen on the 13th September not such an unlucky number after all. Stoney was in the house and we both expected a rough ride on blasting westerlies, when do they ever get the weather forecast right these days. As it turned out conditions were good once the early rain stopped and birds started moving. We made up for yesterday's lack of Skuas with a good day haul, add in a few Pinks and Ducks and good light, perfect. Did i mention our first Great northern of the winter and shed loads of Red throats...
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 13th September 06.10-10.30 WSW3 6/8 rain clearing

Common Gull 2n 20s
Black h Gull 57n 108s
GBBGull 75n 83s
Gannet 354n 275s
Fulmar 13n 14s
Meadow Pipit 5s
Red th Diver 5n 39s
Pintail 6n
Eider 2n 2s
Sandwich Tern 61n 5s
Common Scoter 7n 4s
Pom Skua 2n
Bonxie 1n 3s
Arctic Skua 8n 4s
Manx Shearwater 1s
Great northern Diver 1s
Common Tern 9n
Curlew 1n
Grey Wagtail 1s
Teal 2n 11s
Sand Martin 1s
Swallow 3s
Pink-footed Goose 25s
Wigeon 3n
Redshank 5s
Swift 1s
Hen Harrier 1s ringtail 10.10
Sadly i didn't manage to video today's bird but did try so here is some old footage from my local patch of a bird coming into roost not great quality tho

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Vindaloo or Phal......

 Red-necked Phalarope and Pom Skua were the pick of the pops off Whitburn Obs today. Magic Mark was at his best making the impossible possible yet again, what a call for the Phalarope. It prompted the discussion which was the hottest a Vindaloo or a Phal, we all agreed the Phal..... It was staying close to some Kittiwakes and if they flew it did, if they landed it landed. The bird was about till 07.40 tho it went missing a couple of times, it was my 4th or 5th for the County but first from the Obs. Amazingly nobody turned up to see it despite the news updates except Stevie Thunder who was on his way anyway.
Pink Floyd was on top form calling ducks from every which way and Saint Mark a steadying influence in a mad house. For one lucky birder to be known as JB (Jammy being the first word) it was his first visit to the Obs and we got him onto the Phalarope without much trouble.
This is what we saw today in order of appearance

Saturday 9th September 06.00-10.00 W2 6/8

Black h Gull 592n 134s (and no Med's picked out)
Gannet 506n 99s
Redshank 5n 13s
Shag 2n 2s
Golden Plover 1n
Sandwich Tern 12n 52s
Common Gull 5s
Dunlin 4n 10s
Porpoise at least 6 seen
Common Tern 138n 27s
Common Scoter 7n 4s
Arctic Tern 4n 1s
Curlew 5n
Red th Diver 2n 13s
Ringed Plover 15n
Manx Shearwater 12n
Red-necked Phalarope 1 06.45-07.40 (my video but not today's bird tho i did try)

Arctic Skua 5n 5s
Pom Skua 1n
Teal 14n 3s
Whimbrel 12s
Eider 1s
Meadow Pipit 2n 12s
Turnstone 1s
Knot 1n 2s
Pintail 12n
Wigeon 5n
Grey Heron 1s
Sanderling 1n
Pied Wagtail 4n 1s
Goosander 1n
Swallow 14n
Bonxie 1n
Kestrel 2s
Ruff 1n
Red br Merganser 3s

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Winter is coming......

White-beaked Dolphins put on a show for us from the Obs today hope you enjoy the video, and it is just as well because the birds let us down. Winter is coming, the farmer has scattered the mountain of horse manure over the Obs field and the Terns are all but gone. Westerlies rule and we have hardly seen a Shearwater all week tho today Saint Mark saw one go north from his house while we were Dolphin watching. He thinks it was a Balearic...bugger
This is what we did see today in order of appearance

Thursday 7th September 06.00-09.00 SW2 7/8

Black h Gull 211n 90s
Eider 1n 3s
Shag 2n 9s
Gannet 307n 39s
Cormorant 7n 208s
Common Gull 2n 7s
Red th Diver 2n 6s
Sandwich Tern 7n 9s
Turnstone 2n 4s
Redshank 6n 10s
Fulmar 19n 4s
White-beaked Dolphin 3ad 1juv 06.33-06.55 moving slowly north feeding distantly
Common Tern 11n 15s
Common Scoter 3s
Pied Wagtail 3s
White-beaked Dolphin same four back south 07.10-08.10
White-beaked Dolphin larger pod of 10 plus viewed through the north shutter. They were feeding with lots of gulls over head 08.10-08.50
Sand Martin 3s
Meadow Pipit 3s
Dunlin 11s
Sanderling 1n
Curlew 1n
Ringed Plover 1s

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Shag Fest......

Balearic Shearwater and Red-necked Grebe passed Whitburn Obs today as migration got into full swing. We had our biggest day count of Teal so far this year fully testing Prof's counting skills. Waders and Terns were on the move and Magic and Saint Mark kept me busy with the log..Pink Floyd adding to the mayhem when he eventually arrived. The annual Shag movement got underway on the 1st and continued today, wonder if we will see the white bird this year
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 2nd September SW2 4/8

Cormorant 32n 307s
Gannet 532n 49s
Common Scoter 169n
Black h Gull 130n 2s
Common Gull 10n 1s
Sandwich Tern 7n 13s
Common Tern 88n 20s
Shag 15n 41s
Curlew 6n 4s
Teal 829n 2s
Wigeon 1n
Pintail 2n
Red th Diver 5n 9s
Redshank 3n 11s
Eider 3s
Puffin 1n
Golden Plover 160s
Sparrowhawk 2n
Meadow Pipit 10
Manx Shearwater 38n
Pied Wagtail 1n
Sanderling 2n
Whimbrel 1s
Shoveler 1n
Knot 1n
Arctic Skua 7n
Grey Heron 1n
Brent Goose 2n pb
Porpoise 1
Bar t Godwit 2s
Bonxie 4n
Red necked Grebe 1n
Little Gull 2n
LBBGull 1n
Arctic Tern 2n
Balearic Shearwater 1n

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Back in Black......

Balearic Shearwater and 3 plus Black Terns passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings early watch. Yesterdays Black Terns were back and they brought some friends. It's hard to say how many we had in total as some birds may have moved both ways but we logged three north and four south, the maximum we saw at any one time was three and we had one on show for the majority of the watch. Stoney was in the house and we enjoyed the full cloud cover as waders and terns were on the move. Our Balearic Shearwater flew in, dropped on the sea and didn't move again for the third day running.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 30th August 05.45-09.15 W1 8/8

Common Gull 2n 14s
Gannet 354n 75s
Common Tern 196n 28s
Arctic Skua 3s
Porpoise 5 plus
Redshank 5n 156s
Common Scoter 6n 2s
Teal 8n 4s
Balearic Shearwater 1s then on the sea
Manx Shearwater 3n 3s
Black h Gull 14n 7s
Dunlin 22s
Shag 9s
Red th Diver 1n 2s
Black Tern 3n 4s juvs

Knot 8s
Meadow Pipit 3s
Sanderling 1n
Whimbrel 1s
Curlew 2s
Sandwich Tern 5n 8s
Eider 1s
Ringed Plover 2n

Saturday, 26 August 2017


 4 Roseate and 6 Black Terns passed Whitburn Obs by 10.15 this morning. Magic Mark picked up the first Black Terns feeding distantly and i suspect we missed a few as many Terns were moving north this morning. I called a distant Shearwater as a Sooty but it was on closer inspection a nice dark Balearic as Saint Mark pointed out. The black theme continued as Cormorants started to pour south eventually giving a new day passage record total.  Pink Floyd and Boy Wonder arrived late but soon joined the party. We commented how two days are never alike, yesterday in similar conditions we saw very few it was none stop a cracking watch
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 26th August 05.30-10.15  W1 4/8

Common Gull 2n 8s
Black h Gull 150n 31s
Cormorant 457s 60n
Gannet 614n 71s
Fulmar 24n
Common Tern 512n 10s
Black Tern 6n
Oystercatcher 7s
Curlew 4s
Manx Shearwater 24n 13s
Sandwich Tern 61n 16s
Balearic Shearwater 2n
Common Scoter 71n 4s
Porpoise 4
Arctic Skua 2n 10s
Redshank 7n 9s
Red th Diver 2n 2s
Teal 9n 2s
Puffin 2n
Bar t Godwit 2s
Pied Wagtail 1s
Grey Heron 1n 1s
Kestrel 1s
Goosander 12n
Black th Diver 1s
Whimbrel 1n 3s
Shoveler 1n
Wigeon 1n
Eider 1s
Shag 1s
Roseate Tern 4sSanderling 3n 6s
Knot 1s