Sunday, 18 February 2018

Winter Birding Weekend.....

 2 Long-tailed Ducks and a  Red-necked Grebe went north on this mornings Whitburn Obs sea watch. They were my first Long-tailed Duck of the year and brought my Obs year list to 91 species, a bit of a slow start but plenty of time to improve. Both Saint and Magic Mark made it in today and Stoney was in the house to round off a great weekends seawatching. Today's Snow Bunting and yesterdays Pink feet added to that winter feel. We may have to rename Pink Floyd due to his ability in finding impossible to see skeins, Goose got a few votes
This is what we saw today in order of appearance followed by yesterdays sightings.

Sunday 18th February 06.55-10.00 S1-2 7/8

Black h Gull 14n 64s
Fulmar 170n
Guillemot 116n
Razorbill 38n
Goldeneye 1n
Shelduck 2n 1s
Shag 5n 4s
Common Gull 10n 13s
Cormorant 2n 17s
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Red th Diver 7n 20s
Porpoise 2s
Eider 2n 2s
Red br Merganser 1n
Snow Bunting 1n
Greylag Goose 3n
Mallard 3s
Redshank 8s
Red-necked Grebe 1n 08.48 (thanks for the heads up Graham Stoker)
Grey Heron 1s
Long-tailed Duck 2n drakes
Curlew 1s
Kittiwake 2n
Gannet 7s
Skylark 1n

highlights of Saturday 17th February 07.05-10.30

GBBGull 166s
Great Northern Diver 1s
Pink-footed Goose 261n
Med Gull 1s ad (3rd different adult in 2 days)

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Obs January round-up

My Obs year list reached 83 on the last day of January, a little down on 2016 and 17 which were 86 and 87 respectively. It's been slim pickings at times but has had it's highlights in particular a nice early White-billed Diver. Today we had the record highest ever count of White fronts go north, a tough bird to catch up with and its our second skein of the month. The White wingers are in the bag along with Red-necked Grebe
Normally i have to wait till the autumn for Redwings and Fieldfare but this year all the Thrushes are ticked except Ringo.
So what did i see last January that i didn't this year...well it's a long list with some top birds
Great White Egret, Snow Bunting, Merlin, Long-tailed Duck, Scaup and Whooper Swan to name a few.
Stoney was in the house today and called my first Pintail of the year
One thing i can guarantee i will be back as often as possible, i ended last year on 182 so that's my main target
The video of today's White-fronted Geese is distant but we were able to get decent scope views, of interest are the wind turbine bases which thankfully ended up heading north...phew
Sorry could not get it to load so here's one from earlier in the month

Friday, 26 January 2018

Menage a trois......

 3 Peregrine Falcons were hunting together over the sea off Whitburn Obs in what must have been a first. Recently we witnessed a Peregrine try and take down a Red throated Diver which was amazing to see. Today we first saw two Peregrines chasing Curlew, then a single in hot pursuit of a Golden Plover then a huge female with both of her males after a feral pigeon. Sadly i failed on the video front when all three were coming in toward me with the big momma in the middle, menage a trois
The crab sandwich boys made a surprise Friday visit and this is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 26th January 07.45-11.00 WNW 7/8

Eider 6n 3s
Fulmar 63n 1s
Guillemot 48n 1s
Common Gull 21n 16s
Shag 2s
Black h Gull 36n 26s
Cormorant 3n 6s
Shelduck 1n
Red th Diver 15n 22s
Razorbill 2n
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Curlew 18s
Porpoise 1n
Turnstone 5s
Red necked Grebe 1n
Wigeon 2n
Gannet 1n
Black th Diver 1n
Grey Heron 1n
Mallard 3s
Golden Plover 1n
Peregrine 3 (2m 1f)

Sunday, 14 January 2018

White wing vigil......

29 Russian White-fronted Geese flew south at 09.35 on this mornings watch. It was just reward for Magic and Saint Mark and myself following over 6 hours of watching from the cold Obs this weekend. Amazingly it was our only sea watching year tick tho discussion on the actual number was arduous it varied between 30, 29, 27....Our target birds for the weekend were white winged gulls, Glaucous and Iceland to be precise and today seemed the better day with a continuous stream of gulls heading south. It was not to be but the Whitefronts made up for all of that, although they are a very rare Obs bird this is the forth consecutive year we have connected. Ive included some video from @harperBirder and myself as i was late getting on the birds
This is what we saw today in order of appearance

Sunday 14th January 07.50-11.10 S3 8/8

Scan Herring Gull 1n 7s
Common Gull 83s
Black h Gull 59s
Guillemot 180s
Eider 6s
Cormorant 4s
Heron 1n
Shag 2s
Red th Diver 5n 12s
Common Scoter 1s
Shelduck 1s
Gannet 1n 1s
Fulmar 6n 9s
Curlew 1n 13s
Red br Merganser 1s
Wigeon 3s
Russian White-fronted Goose 29s 09.35
Golden Plover 70s
Brent Goose 1n db
Razorbill 1s

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Groundhog day.....

White-billed Diver won star bird on our sea watch at Whitburn Obs today. Maybe we should rename the Obs WBD is for sure the best east coast site to see this sought after sea watching mega. @middy-birding called a high distant Diver coming north, although we didn't realise it yet The Prof had struck gold again. It took forever to come north and needed its i.d.sorting but eventually we nailed it as it came up to straight out. I was late with my video camera and missed the bird but thankfully a couple of the guys got decent photos, it helps with the description...So its my old video again sorry

We did promise our Northumberland sea watching friends another good bird soon at Tim's party and we came up with the goods. So in return can we have a Ross's Gull please, tomorrow will do

I expected more folk in the Obs on our first northerly of the year but not many ventured out in the cold. It was good to see Hoggie back sea watching after being under the weather recently and he got his just deserts

We saw some great birds but of note was the first Blue Fulmar Magic Mark called or should i say Black Fulmar. Its upper parts were black but underwing and belly still showed a lot of white..I've never seen anything like it
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 6th January 07.40-12.30 NNE5-6 4/8

Black h Gull 15s
Fulmar 715n   yes 715
Common Gull 52n 688n
Curlew 142n
Kittiwake 60n
Red th Diver 7n 14s
Gannet 47n
Great Northern Diver 1n
Razorbill 9n
GBBGull 90n
Eider 4n 4s
Goldeneye 3n
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Blue Fulmar 4n
Lapwing 45n
Common Scoter 5s
Kestrel 1n
Porpoise 1n
Shelduck 9n
Med Gull 2n 2s ads
Cormorant 2n 2s
Velvet Scoter 4n
Manx Shearwater 1n
Bonxie 1n 1s
Golden Plover 15n
Shag 2n
White-billed Diver 1n ad 10.30ish till 10.45

Monday, 1 January 2018

Your the one that i want.....

 Red-necked Grebe south at Whitburn Obs this morning was the stand out bird, a good call by Saint Mark. We gave it a good go but not much was about. My 2017 list ended on 182 and in the end a start of 42 species from the Obs was a good start. The only disappointment being a probable heard only Kingfisher by Magic Mark wasn't nailed down. Amazing that the first Fulmar recorded was blue..
Most wanted bird of the morning was the Water Rail which showed well from the viewing screen in the nature reserve. Only a few hundred yards from the Obs but not viewable....maybe i will hear it over the coming weeks
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 1st January 07.50-11.15 SW1-2 4/8

Common Scoter 1s
Cormorant 11s
Common Gull 2n 33s
Black h Gull 3n 22s
Guillemot 21n 42s
Porpoise 5s
Red th Diver 20n 45s
Blue Fulmar 1n
Fulmar 9n 9s
Gannet 18n 25s
Eider 2n 1s
Shag 2n 4s
Grey Heron 1s
Golden Plover 1n 2s
Goldeneye 1n 1s
Turnstone 2s
Rock Pipit 1s
Red-necked Grebe 1s
Redshank 1s

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Surfs Up..........

 21 Little Auks and a Sooty Shearwater went north at Whitburn Obs this morning. Saint Mark joined me and we enjoyed a canny sea watch, it started with a Great Northern Diver dropping onto the sea in front of us and finished with a Med Gull. Yesterdays watch was memorable for the big sea and surf and that continued today with a heavy swell but good light. The Little Auks were not expected nor were two species of Shearwater...
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 10th December 07.40-10.00 NW2 7/8

Common Gull 55n 10s
Black h Gull 72n 25s
Eider 3n
Red th Diver 11n 2s
Fulmar 104n 1s
Common Scoter 5n 2s
Great Northern Diver 1n 2s
Gannet 10n
Guillemot 155n 5s
Kittiwake 1s
Little Auk 20n 1s
Razorbill 2n
Porpoise 3
Cormorant 3n 3s
Manx Shearwater 1n
Shag 1n 9s
Puffin 1n
Goldeneye 1n 1s
Sooty Shearwater 1n
Long tailed Duck 1n
Med Gull 1s ad