Saturday, 21 April 2018

Gripped off again.....

 Hooded Crow, Merlin, Jay and Lesser throat were all seen at Whitburn Obs this morning. The bad news is i was on the moors doing my BTO first survey, I'd picked which day to do my square based on wind strength and weather in general...big mistake i should have chosen Monday when nobody is in the Obs. The Harper family conspired to totally grip me off. With Mr Harper senior calling the Hoodie as they watched the first Lesser throat of the year. To put this in perspective i found the only Obs Hooded Crows in 2016 and 2017 both on 10/4 and was anticipating a hat-trick....
But well done for finding it and of course to Saint Mark on the Jay and Lesser. I did eventually arrive at Whitburn and pulled back the Whitethroat and had a Yellow Wagtail fly over calling both birds i didnt get last year so it was not all bad news
I also arrived in time to see some of the Bottlenose Dolphins that passed the Obs including the mother and junior featured in the attached video
My Obs list hit 120 and more Hoodies have been seen to the south so you never know, but Jay..forget it
This is what was seen overall in no particular orde

Saturday 21st April 06.05-11.00 S1 0/8

Red th Diver 4n 3s
Gannet 10n
Fulmar 40n 4s
Cormorant 22n 35s
Shag 8n 3s
Shelduck 6n 7s
Shoveler 2s
Eider 12n 5s
Common Scoter 6n 30s
Red br Merganser 1n
Dunlin 2n
Whimbrel 1n 1s
Curlew 4s
Turnstone 6s
Black h Gull 3n 8s
Common Gull 38n 3s
Sandwich Tern 87n 66s
Arctic Tern 3n
Sandmartin 1n 4s
Swallow 5n 2s
Hooded Crow 1n 06.10 grrr
Jay 1s 07.50 grrr
Merlin 1 on range
Wheatear 4
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Yellow Wagtail 1n
Bottlenose Dolphin 1n 14s (3,5,2,2,2) 09.15-10.15 ish

Saturday, 7 April 2018

That's what friends are for...

Osprey Arctic Tern and Merlin were all seen from Whitburn Obs on today's watch. It was a mega Obs list day for me with 5, yes count them 5 year ticks and all of them hard to get birds. Saint Mark beat me in and we were joined by Pink Floyd and Boy Wonder, we had little expectation but i should have known when a Ringo flew in off as i reached the Obs.
Our first Arctic Tern of the year was unexpected and earlier than normal and Sandwich Terns reached double figures for the first time this year. Saint Mark stepped out for a scan around and found a probable Merlin perched but distant,  we were aware Osprey had been at a couple of sights south of us so all eyes were looking up. He decided to go and nail the Falcon and was just approaching the Obs on his way back to confirm it's id when he found the Osprey....mayhem erupted and thankfully we all got the bird
Ross stepped out for a comfort break, bins only and found a Stock Dove an Obs mega...that's what friends are for, thanks guys. Next weekend i will be in Gambia for a short birding break so i was relieved to get all these hard to see birds safely on my year list.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 7th April 05.55-10.05 6/8 SSE2

Black h Gull 4n 24s
Common Gull 15n 287s
Cormorant 14n 14s
Ring Ouzal 1 in off
Carrion Crow 12n 24s
Shelduck 7s
Manx Shearwater 1s
Sandwich Tern 6n 4s
Razorbill 11n 1s
Guillemot 4n
Red br Merganser 3n
Kittiwake 224n 14s
Arctic Tern 1n
Porpoise 1n 2s
Red th Diver 3n 5s
Oystercatcher 4n 1s
Whimbrel 2s
Merlin 1 female perched on the rifle range
Iceland Gull 2w on the range
Teal 5s
Gadwall 1n
Osprey 1n 07.55
Curlew 1s
Meadow Pipit 4 in off
Shag 3n 2s
Goosander 1s
LBBGull 1n 1s
Tufted Duck 1n
Mallard 2s
Stock Dove 1n

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Floppy's back in town...

a Blue Fulmar and 3 Sandwich Terns went north on this mornings sea watch but the Dolphins stole the show as usual. Only five minutes into my watch i picked up on some Bottlenose Dolphins heading north, three became ten as they slowly revealed themselves. No breaching just a slow steady movement keeping fairly low. Stoney was in the house by now and soon showed off his media skills taking video through his scope with a mobile without an adapter, someone should give him a roll in media...Anyone over 60 should not attempt this skill. Later more pods headed north and we were happy to see an old friend Floppy was with them, this Dolphin is easily recognised as it has a bent over dorsal fin that's a bit well floppy. I have attached some video of the event but its my first of the year so.....
The watch was fun packed with the local Fox showing well and a pair of Gadwall continued our run of good quality Ducks
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 4th March 06.15-09.15 SW2 8/8 rain/mist

Black h Gull 8n
Common Gull 136n 6s
Fulmar 70n
Teal 2s
Razorbill 42n
Guillemot 61n
Cormorant 11n 5s
Eider 9n
Alba Wagtail 1n 3s
Common Scoter 17n 1s
Turnstone 1n
Porpoise 4s
Blue Fulmar 1n DD a really dark one
Shag 1s
Sandwich Tern 3n
Rock Pipit 1n
Gadwall 2n
Red th Diver 4n
Goosander 3n
Gannet 3n
Fox1 in nature reserve
Chiffchaff 1 singing
Bottlenose Dolphins
10n 06.20-06.40
5n 07.25-07.359n 07.40-07.45

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Suppression Blues......

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

Saturday 24th March 05.50-10.50 W1 8/8

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

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


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Magical Mystery Tour....

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

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

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

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Corvid Conspiracy.....

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

Wednesday 14th March 06.05-10.05 SSE3 6/8

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

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Ton up......

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

Sunday 11th March 06.15-09.45 SW2 4/8

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