Sunday, 30 June 2013

Surfs not up!

Sadly the Surf Scoter at Filey that went missing yesterday afternoon didn't come north, its still in Filey. I was waiting for it this morning but no show, however i did see loads of Scoter
It was a flat Stormie sea but i didn't see any, the ringers did catch one last night the first of the season

Sunday 30th June 05.00-08.30 W1 dead calm flat sea broken cloud

Cormorant 12n 45s
Puffin 180n 15s
Common Scoter 561n 24s
Common Tern 4n 10s
Little Tern 1s
Sandwich Tern 14n 119s
Curlew 2s
Red th Diver 7n 3s
Manx Shearwater 23n 5s
Arctic Tern 2s
Whimbrel 10n
Porpoise 2

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Is there a Doctor in the Obs?

Yes, the Doc was in the Obs this morning he joined Mark and myself, he was almost an Obs year tick.The Doc is doing a walking list this year and had walked in the hope of getting a few ticks
It was a very ordinary sea watch but Puffin was new for him and he was hoping for more

Saturday 29th of June 04.25-08.30 W2 mainly bright sun with some light cloud

Grasshopper Warbler reeling
Cormorant 17n 43s
Curlew 18n
Puffin 43n 9s
Manxie 29n 24s
Gannet 210n 17s
Eider 3n 3s
Blue Fulmar 1n
Red th Diver 7n 2s
Common Scoter 9n 14s
Black h Gull 3n 1s
Sandwich Tern 10n 43s
Common Tern 16n 5s
Mallard 3n

Friday, 28 June 2013

Black Velvet

For the 3rd day running a stunning drake Velvet Scoter has gone North past the Obs
Here's hoping the Surf Scoter at Filey comes our way over the weekend
It was a lovely calm dark grey sea today with a heavy swell and very noisy with the waves hitting the shore. It was made all the more atmospheric by the huge tall ship on the horizon

Friday 28th June 05.00-07.00 W2 cloud, calm sea,heavy swell and rain by 7am

Puffin 89n 5s
Gannet 540n 33s
Manxie 17n 6s
Common Scoter 60n 10s
Curlew 55n
Common Tern 3n 6s
Bar tailed Godwit 2n
Red br Merganser 1n
Velvet Scoter 1n
Sandwich Tern 14s
Black h Gull 1s
Whimbrel 2n
Porpoise 1

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Wot no cetaceans!

Following yesterdays double Minke Whale sighting expectations were high. The sea was calm with a heavy swell and it looked good for finding cetaceans
I made an early start and was joined by Dolphin Boy (Chris from Leeds) and Mark Newsome and Pink Floyd (Dave Gilmor) so lots of eyes
This is what we saw, i left them watching when i left for work at 7.00

Thursday 27th June 04.25-07.00 N1-2 partial cloud sometimes bright sun

Common Scoter 63n 7s
Puffin 105n 5s
Manxie 92n 3s
Gannet 430n by 6am
Sandwich Tern 14n 10s
Black h Gull 1s
Dunlin 5n
Eider 6n
Arctic Skua 1n
Common Tern 4n 12s
Whimbrel 1
Red th Diver 2n
Curlew 1s
Velvet Scoter 1n
Shag 1n
Shelduck 7s
Little Tern 2s

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Minke and chips please

Not content with starting the day at 4.40 with a Minke Whale i went back for more and had another going north at 17.35. A nice way to spend the evening
The wind was coming round to northerly this afternoon and i fancied it might be worth a look from the Obs, Mark joined me and we had a cracking sea watch with lots of birds and of course Minke Whale

The bird highlights included

Manx Shearwater 89n
Velvet Scoter 1n
Scaup 1n
Med Gull adult s
Bonxie 1n
Arctic Skua 1s
Puffins 124n 59s

plus the Minke at 17.35, and a Porpoise n

I will be back for more in the morning

Shear Delight

I heard that Jason Thompson had reported a group of White beaked Dolphins off Whitburn yesterday evening so I was hoping for some cetacean action this morning. Sadly i didn't see any Dolphins on my early morning watch but did see my second Minke Whale of the year. It went south at 04.40,I only managed one sighting this time
The sea watch was frantic in the first hour then quietened down to a snails pace by 6am. Once again Manxies were the highlight with good numbers passing

Wednesday 26th June 04.30-07.00 NW2-3 good conditions with cloud cover early on but bright sun by the time i left

Manx Shearwater 283n 1s
Swift 1s
Black h Gull 8s
Puffin 117n 19s
Gannet 153n 45s
04.40 Minke Whale s
Curlew 18n 2s
Bar t Godwit 1n
Common Tern 7n 3s
Sandwich Tern 7n 29s
Common Scoter 254n 40s
Shag 1n 1s
Red th Diver 2n
Arctic Tern 2n
Arctic Skua 1n
Grasshopper Warbler 1 reeling early am

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Forest Gump was right

You really don't know what your going to get when you sit down in the Obs
Conditions today were similar to yesterday NW 2-3,wind a bit stronger, calm sea with moderate swell, the light wasn't so good with no cloud cover, so what happened to all the terns
I didn't see any in the first hour and you can see the result of the second hour
The Manxies were great tho

Tuesday 25th June 05.00-07.00 NW 2-3 bright sun

Cormorant 9n 14s
Gannet 295n 6s
Eider 3 on sea
Manxie 105n 9s
Puffin 34n 2s
Common Scoter 36n 11s
Porpoise 1
Common Tern 4n 2s
Sandwich Tern 3s
Red br Merganser 1n

hope the terns are back tomorrow

Monday, 24 June 2013

Stormie Monday

Its that time of year when Storm Petrels are passing but you need a bit of luck to connect, i was lucky enough to see 2 this morning.The sea was a nice grey colour and the the Manxies and Puffins looked black and were easy to see. my first at 05.25 went north trailing two Puffins, the size difference is amazing, the second went north an hour later
A Roseate tern north made for an excellent watch

Monday 24th June 04.55-07.00 WNW 2-3 calm sea with moderate swell

Cormorant 3n 17s
Gannet 135n 37s
Sandwich Tern 3n 50s
Puffin 126n 9s
Common tern 2n 3s
Manx Shearwater 41n 5s
Storm Petrel 1n 05.25, 1 n 06.25
Roseate Tern 1 feeding offshore then went north
Eider 3s
Common Scoter 3n
Curlew 1n
Black h Gull 1s
Shag 1s

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Oh no slept in!

I had a busy day and late night on Saturday. I took my granddaughter's Aimee to the North East Live concert, we both hada good time
So for a change Mark beat me in, this isn't a bad thing as the first person in the Obs takes all the notes which is usually me. It was an uneventful few hours but enjoyable in good light conditions

Sunday 23rd June 05.45-09.00 W2 mainly cloud cover and sea state settled during the watch

Red th Diver 3n
Arctic Tern 3s
Canada Goose 5s
Manx Shearwater 45n 45s
Eider 1 on sea
Curlew 1s
Common Scoter 1n 112s
Sandwich Tern 11n 112s
Common Tern 8n 20s
Puffin 80n 43s
Swift 23s

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Almost a Falcon Fest

Saturday 22nd June 04.30-09.00 S2-3 cloud cover mostly but some bright sun, choppy sea

I had Mark Newsome and Steve Addinall (eventually)for company
After more Dolphins on Friday i was hopeful of more and i wasn't disappointed when at 04.40 i saw 2 very distant Dolphins breaching fully out of the water with lots of splashing. Sadly it was only a brief sighting and i didn't see them again. The other main highlight was a magnificent Hobby that went south close in giving stunning views

As usual sightings are generally in order of appearance

Gannet 50n 180s
Cormorant 18n 72s
Puffin 96n 35s
Sandwich Tern 17n 268s
04.40 2 Dolphins breaching distant, probably White breaked
Common Scoter 114n 55s
Manxie 51n 8s
Swift 21s
Mallard 4s
Common Tern 5n 11s
Gadwall 3n
Arctic Skua 1n 1s
Black h Gull 1s
06.10 Hobby ad s
Curlew 1s
Great crested Grebe 2s
Kestrel 1s
Red th Diver 2s

I left Mark and Steve in the Obs at 9 as i have grandad duties today

Friday, 21 June 2013

White beaked Dolphins put on a show

The sea and sky were dark grey early morning making it difficult to pick out what should be the horizon
At 05.00 i noticed some distant splashes through my bins and when i looked through the scope i got my first view of White beaked Dolphins for the year
They were very active with 10 plus breaching fully out of the water a fantastic site. Never mind Rihanna and North East Live this is where the entertainment is
It was difficult to confirm the exact number of Dolphins but i estimate between 10 and 20, i could only see them when they breached. I got further views at 05.25 and 05.45. my video camera couldn't focus on them with all the grey but hopefully they are back for a while and better closer opportunities will come as in previous years. To complete the cetacean experience i saw 2 porpoise as well

I missed a few birds passing with all the Dolphin action but still had a decent early watch

Friday 21st June S1-2 04.40-07.00 full cloud cover flat calm sea some rain and drizzle

Cormorant 4n 17s
Gannet 29n 123s
Sandwich Tern 4n 119s
Manxie 3n 29s
05.00 White beaked Dolphins breaching distantly 10 to 20 animals
Puffin 11n 26s
Porpoise 2
Curlew 1s
Common Tern 1s
05.25 10 plus Dolphins breaching
Gannet 29n 231s
Arctic Skua 3s
05.45 3-4 dolphins breaching
Arctic Tern 1n 2s
Whimbrel 2s
Common Scoter 2n
Mallard 2n

Cant wait for my next adventure tomorrow morning

Thursday, 20 June 2013

All quiet on the east coast

A very quiet early morning sea watch today with a lovely calm sea, i had hoped to connect with the White beaked Dolphins, 10 were reported off Souter Point yesterday but no luck on my early shift

20th June WSW 1-2 04.35-07.00 bright sun flat calm sea

Sandwich Tern 11n 162s
Cormorant 16n 29s
Gannet 90n 41s
Common Tern 9n 6s
Manxie 12n 7s
Puffin 72n 26s
Swift 2n
Arctic tern 5n
Common Scoter 54s
Shelduck 1s
Eider 8s

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

'Thar she blows'

At last the 1st recorded Minke Whale past Whitburn Obs this year
After reading a recent tweet from @NTsteely that the Farnes had there 4th of the year i was hopeful it wouldn't be long before i saw one
At 05.30 one went south (beyond buoy distance), it surfaced four times and wasn't difficult to see on a sea of glass, nice way to start the day. I was surprised i didn't see any other cetaceans in these perfect 'Stormie' conditions

After a day off yesterday doing my breading bird survey near Edmundbyers it was back to business

Wednesday 19th June 04.50-07.00 WNW1-2 mainly cloud cover but bright sun by 7.00am

Cormorant 16n 22s
Gannet 55n 97s
Puffin 23n 22s
Common Tern 5n 6s
Eider 2s
Sandwich Tern 7n 66s
Manxie 22n 2s
Shag 2n
Common Scoter 196n 28s
Teal 3n
Bonxie 1n
Red th Diver 1s
05.30 Minke Whale sth surfaced 4 times before i lost it
Greylag Goose 2s
Arctic Tern 1n 1s

Monday, 17 June 2013


A sea like glass and very calm conditions made for interesting viewing and probably accounts for the increase in Manxies and the Great n Diver which would not have been viewable on a rougher sea
It looked perfect for Stormies but I didn't get one.Here are the sightings past Whitburn today and a few lines on Sundays passage

Monday 17th June 04.40-06.50 NE1-2 bright sun with some light hazy cloud

As usual in order of appearance

Cormorant 11n 15s
Sandwich Tern 4n 112s
Gannet 87n 27s
Manx Shearwater 64n
Puffin 94n 61s
Common Scoter 122n 27s
Common Tern 10n 5s
Blk h Gull 2s
Red th Diver 1n
Great n Diver 1 on sea distant and drifting south
Shag 2n 1s
Moorhen 1 heard in nature reserve, a new Obs tick
Curlew 1n
Eider 8 on the sea

It was a nice still morning with no wind or sea noise but i still could not here the reported Reed Warbler singing, maybe its moved on

The Obs list stands at 129 and my county year list is becalmed on 219

Sunday 16th June 04.20-08.30 W2-3

I had Mark for company and we had a canny watch and a bit of a catch up
Star bird was an Arctic Skua and we had yet more Canada Geese 20 south

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Send in the cavalry

It was one of those mornings when birds were going south close in and passing both ways further out. i was struggling and was just thinking i wish the cavalry would arrive when it did in the form of Steve Addinall
As it happens he was a bit late and things did quieten down but it was nice to have an extra pair of eyes

Saturday 15th of June 04.45-09.00 SSW2 cloud at first then bright sun

Cormorant 20n 30s
Gannet 5on 65s
Common Tern 7n 4s
Puffin 50n 17s
Arctic Tern 2n 3s
Sandwich Tern 18n 180s
Manxie 37n 40s
Common Scoter 43n 10s
Curlew 1s
Canada Goose 17n
Red th Diver 1n 1s
Whimbrel 3n
Teal 5n
Greylag Goose 2s
Dunlin 25n

Friday, 14 June 2013

Bog standard sea watch!

Nice calm flat sea again today but no sign of any Dolphins on my shift, hopefully i will see some over the weekend
The White beaked are due any time now so if we are lucky we will have two species to enjoy
Not much going on with birds passing today but as you know anything can happen

Friday 14th June 04.25-07.00 W1-2 bright sun calm sea

Swift 4sSandwich Tern 12n 128s
Cormorant 8n 20s
Puffin 18n
Sanderling 16n
Common Tern 6n 19s
Red th Diver 1s
Gannet 45b 3s
Sand Martin 8s
Common Scoter 2n 2s
Arctic Tern 1n
Shag 1n
Manx Shearwater 2n 3s
Red br Merganser 2s
Little Tern 1n
Canada Goose 19n 4s
Eider 3s

Thursday, 13 June 2013


It's normally this time of year we see Dolphins off Whitburn, the good news is they are back and its a welcome return. Today it was a nice calm flat see and good light early on when i picked up on a family of Bottlenose Dolphins, 2 adults and a youngster feeding just to the north. Mark Newsome joined me this morning but sadly after the cetacean event, however he then proceeded to find his own with 5 distant Dolphins moving south with lots of splashing

Thursday 13th June 04.25-07.30 SW1-2 dead calm flat sea good light but later the sun did spoil things for a while

Sandwich Tern 10n 136s
Cormorant 10n 22s
Common Tern 4n 20s
Gannett 39n 11s
Red th Diver 7n 1s
Puffin 69n 11s
Dolphin 04.55 family party of 3 Bottlenose. The pod of 5 went north at 06.15
Common Scoter 149n 34s
Teal 2s
Greylag Goose 11s
Shelduck 1s
Bonxie 1n
Swift 7s
Arctic Tern 1n 2s
Eider 1s
Little Tern 1s
Canada Goose 20s

a really enjoyable sea watch with plenty of variety in good conditions
I left Mark in the Obs which is always dangerous

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Big thanks to big John

Many thanks to John Brown for sorting out the Obs door, job well done, sorry i woke you up on Sunday Morning!
I had a day off on Tuesday after a Neil Young concert on Monday night so its back to business today

Wednesday 12th June 04.40-07.00 SSE2 cloud, mist, rain, sun, heat haze i had it all

Gannet 45n 51s
Sandwich Tern 9n 127s
Manx Shearwater 1n 2s
Common Scoter 204n
Puffin 20n 7s
Cormorant 2n 12s
Common Tern 4n 6s
Swift 9s
Red th Diver 1n
Sanderling 20n
Swallow 3s
Arctic Tern 2s

the wind was increasing as i left and it could end up a good Scoter passage day if only we had someone in the Obs to record it

Monday, 10 June 2013

Sightings for Monday 10th June, and weekend highlights for 8/9th June

Monday 10th June 04.30-06.45 E1-2

Full cloud cover and a flat calm sea made for excellent viewing conditions, sadly the lack of wind meant few birds, but it was pleasant

Gannet 78n 13s
Common Tern 17n 4s
Sandwich Tern 12n 58s
Cormorant 1n 13s
Puffin 78n 28s
Common Scoter 59n 4s
Eider 3n
Manx Shearwater 5n 1sw
Red th Diver 2n

the vixen was was out hunting on my walk down to the Obs, the well grown cubs were curled up asleep in the nature reserve

Saturday 8th June SSE2
11 Red th Divers north was noteworthy
A Great northern Diver south continued our good run with this species
Star bird was an adult Long tailed Skua north at 6.40 am, a great call by Mark

Sunday 9th June  SE2
Black Tern 1 was watched feeding and slowly moving south, it was distant and another good find by Mark
2 Blue Fulmars went north

Friday, 7 June 2013

Quiet day at the office

Friday 6th June 04.25-07.00 SSE1-2 bright sun

not much going on today, its amazing how much difference a slight change in conditions can make to bird movement, the highlight was the Common Scoter movement

Gannet 142n 20s
Puffin 32n 5s
Cormorant 6n 15s
Sandwich Tern 10n 33s
Arctic Tern 3n
Common Scoter 265n
Manxie 3n
Tufted Duck 2n
Common Tern 16n 6s
Red th Diver 6n
Shag 2n
Shelduck 4s
Canada Goose 4s
Porpoise 1

Thursday, 6 June 2013

We're Back- return of Canada Goose passage

Thursday 6th June     E1-2, cloud cover, flat calm sea with moderate swell

Wonderful sunrise and perfect sea for sea watching what more could a man want
the first 90 minutes was manic with birds passing at all different distances making recording difficult and the birds hard to keep up with, great fun but what do you miss?, by 6am it had settled down to a trickle


Guillemot 220n
Razorbill 190n
Puffin 125n 24s
Common Scoter 82n 1s
Gannet 135n 8s
Sandwich Tern 7n 12s
Common Tern 7n 3s
Manx Shearwater 15n 1s
Arctic Skua 1n
Shag 1n
Bonxie 1n
Eider 2 on sea
Red th Diver 6n
Canada Goose 41n - yes they came past close in with a deafening honk, the passage continues
Arctic Tern 1s
Great n Diver 1n (6.30 ad sum plum)

Late news from yesterday, I went back to the Obs to try for Long tailed Skua following the passage past Flamborough but sadly didn't connect, one passed St Mary's Island but i had gone back to work

Gannet 1n 12s
Sandwich Tern 13n 2s
Common Tern 12n 2s
Bonxie 2n
Manxie 8n
Puffin 3n 1s
Common Scoter 9n 3s

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Wot no Geese!

Wednesday 5th June 04.30-07.00 N2 mist and drizzle but visibility was generally very good on grey sea with cloud cover

I was expecting thick fog so it was a nice surprise to be able to see the sea. With Hooded Crow to the north and Long-tail to the south anything could happen

Cormorant 14n 18s
Guillemot 410n
Razorbill 325n
Puffin 172n 19s
Gannet 50n 10s
Common Scoter 34n 15s
Sandwich Tern 4n 68s
Common Tern 9n
Arctic Skua 1n
Arctic Tern 1n
Manx Shearwater 1s

Probably the best Puffin count of the year and nice to get a Skua for a change

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Misty Morning Hop

It was very misty early on i half expected Gollum to pop out

Tuesday 4th June 04.40-07.00 SE1-2 mist then bright sun

Puffin 75n 1s
Cormorant 16n 19s
Razorbill 115n
Guillemot 125n 20s
Gannet 76n 8s
Common Scoter 7n 17s
Common Tern 7n 4s
Black h Gull 2n
Manxie 8n
Sandwich Tern 3n 85s
Arctic Tern 2s
Shag 2n
Swallow 2s
Canada Goose 19n
Sand Martin 2s
Red th Diver 1n
Dunlin 3n

Early morning movement had stopped by 6 am but a quick look out of the back door when i was bored added Sedge Warbler to the Obs list, now on 128
and a fox cub showed

bumped into a dog walker on the way back the one who always sees geese and he was sad the ducklings on the nature reserve pond had all gone
i explained the local heron had eaten them all a few days ago, he said you would think they would do something about it like put a net over the pond!

Monday, 3 June 2013

And the Anser is Branta Canadensis

Here is a roundup of the weekends sightings and today's passage

Saturday 1st June N2-3 cloud then rain
04.35-11.40 with the odd gap and with input from Dave Gilmore(aka Pink Floyd), and Keith Mc

Red th Diver 7n 1s
Gannet 113n 16s
Manx Shearwater 27n
Puffin 67n 1s
Goldeneye 3n
and a Blue Fulmar

I added Spotted Flycatcher to the Obs list making it 127

Sunday 2nd June WNW2-3 some cloud from time to time but mainly sunny
04.40-09.00 with Mark Newsome who stayed till 9.40

Red th Diver 1n 9s
Canada Goose 122n
Greylag Goose 16n
Manx Shearwater 11n
Common Scoter  120n
Little Tern 4n

Mark explained to me this was the early June moult migration of Canada Goose, and about the only time you would like to look at them!

Here are this mornings birds in order of appearance as usual

Monday 3rd June
04.30-06.45 WNW2-3

Cormorant 10n 23s
Sandwich Tern 4n 32s
Common Tern 12n 10s
Puffin 2n 4s
Swift 2n
Gannet 37n 3s
Common Scoter 105n 18s
Red th Diver 5n
Black headed Gull 2n 1s
Swallow 4n
Arctic Tern 1n 1s
Little Tern 2n
Tufted Duck 1n
Canada Goose 15n
Eider 3s