Thursday, 31 July 2014

Summer's Over..........

6 Porpoises were on show on a flat calm sea off Whitburn today. Its still National Whale and Dolphin watch week so it was nice to get a few scores on the doors. Its the last day of summer and Magic Mark and myself enjoyed a peaceful watch dreaming of busier autumn days ahead, this is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 31st July 05.05-07.30 S1 cloud cover dead calm sea

Redshank 1n 20s
Sandwich Tern 15n 336s
Common Gull 2n 4s
Oystercatcher 12s
Common Tern 11n 110s
Common Scoter 9n
Kittiwake 30 juvs drifted south
Manx Shearwater 61n 14s
Teal 3s
Mallard 1s
Arctic Tern 7n 4s
Eider 2n
Curlew 1n
Dunlin 4s
Black h Gull 2s
06.10 Porpoise 3
LBBGull 1s
Puffin 9n 1s
06.30 Porpoise 2n and 1s
Goosander 5n

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Cetaceanless zone...

2 Med Gull an adult and juv passed Whitburn Obs by 10 this morning along with a good selection of birds but we couldn't even muster a Porpoise between the three of us today. Magic and Saint Mark were both in the Obs and this is what we did see in order of appearance
Sunday 27th July 05.15-10.05 W2-3bright sun then broken cloud

Sandwich Tern 32n 408s
Manxie 17n 10s
Puffin 5n
Common Tern 18n 30s
Black h Gull 6n 15s
Curlew2n 1s
Common Scoter 438n 17s
Shelduck 9s
Great crested Grebe 1n
Arctic Tern 13n 1s
Teal 1n 1qs
Common Gull 5s
Oystercatcher 15n 9s
Ringed Plover 3n
Bar t Godwit 2s
Red th Diver  1n
Golden Plover 2s
Redshank 3n 20s
Dunlin 15s
Kestrel 1s
Med Gull 2s 1ad 1 juv
Eider 4n
Turnstone 6n

Saturday, 26 July 2014

What Cetaceans part 2

2 Little Gulls and an Arctic Skua passed Whitburn Obs this afternoon. A close inshore Porpoise was the only other Cetacean we saw today but disturbance from the Airshow armada wasn't helping. Saint Mark beat me back to the Obs and had an Obs mega....Green Woodpecker south, gulp!.This is what we saw in no particular order

Green Woodpecker 1s
Manxie 2n
Common Scoter 4n 11s
Curlew 2n 1s
Redshank 56n
Dunlin 2n 2s
Turnstone 12n 4s
Oystercatcher 14s
14.55 Porpoise
Common Sandpiper 1s
Sandwich Tern 36n 126s
Common Tern 49n 36s
Little Gull 2n (1ad)
Common Gull 2s
Arctic Skua 1s
Arctic Tern 4n 7s
Mute Swan 6n
Black h Gull 2s

Cetaceans what Cetaceans

Its National Whale and Dolphin Watch week but nobody told them. On a perfect flat calm sea i only managed to find one very distant Porpoise. Suffering a bit from Airshow over indulgence I've come home for a rest and left Saint Mark in charge, i will be back looking later and hopefully other observers will call at the Obs through the day. This is what Mark and i saw in order of appearance

Saturday26th July 05.05-09.30 W1 bright sun and distant mist dead calm sea

Sandwich Tern 11n 433s
Common Tern 32n 79s
Common Gull 1s
Arctic Tern 57n 10s
Puffin 5n 4s
Turnstone 4s
Manx Shearwater 26n 7s
Gropper 1 reeling
Teal 12n 13s
Black h Gull 2n
Curlew 6s
Redshank 10n 13s
Dunlin 2n 14s
Ringed Plover 2s
Kestrel 1n
Arctic Skua 1n
Common Scoter 198n 18s
Oyster Catcher 21s
07.52 Porpoise distantly
Eider 3n
Shag 1n

Friday, 25 July 2014

Waders in the mist...

2 Arctic Skuas and a Greenshank passed Whitburn Obs in the easrly morning mist. It was bins only, no scope required as the mist and fog refused to budge. Star wader from the 9 species i saw was Greenshank one went south, we only record half a dozen a year. The weather is not what the doctor ordered as its Airshow weekend and the National Whale and Dolphin Watch!
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Friday 25th July 05.05-07.05 N1-2 fog/mist

Curlew 1n 3s
Knot 4s
Black h Gull 14n 5s
Gannet 107n
Sandwich Tern 14n 137s
Oystercatcher 21n
Common Tern 4n 13s
Turnstone 3n 15s
Common Gull 3n 1s
Arctic Skua 2n
Dunlin 3s
Arctic Tern 2s
Redshank 5s
Greenshank 1s
Golden Plover 2n
Whimbrel 1s

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Whats that going over the it a Turnstone

A Roseate Tern and Velvet Scoter passed Whitburn Obs early morning. The wader passage continued but this time i had Magic Mark to help me and we were joined by Pink Floyd. I had to leave for work so this is what we saw till then in order of appearance

Thursday 23rd July 05.20-07.30 N2 cloud cover

Sandwich Tern 14n 325s
Velvet Scoter 1n 1s
Common Tern 6n 38s
Black h Gull 2n 3s
Common Gull 2n 3s
Whimbrel 2s
Common Scoter 47n
Puffin 13n
Manxie 16n 6s
Redshank 13s
05.50 White beaked Dolphin 2 seen briefly
Dunlin 8s
Gropper 1 reeling
Turnstone 7s
Bar t Godwit 2n
Bonxie 1n
06.20 White beaked Dolphin 5n
Curlew 3n
Mallard 1n
Arctic Tern 3n
Roseate Tern 1s

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wader Wonderland.....

5 Whitebeaked Dolphins and a family of Porpoise put on a show off Whitburn Obs early morning.Its the National Whale and Dolphin Watch from the 26th July to 3rd August so it was nice to see some Cetaceans as we approach it. Yesterday on a sea like glass i didn't glimpse a fin but today was much better. A family of Porpoise were feeding off the obs 2 adults and a youngster, unusually it fully breached, not something I've witnessed very often
Then i noticed the White beaked Dolphins feeding distantly they hung around for a while and one was spy hopping!
I didn't know where to look as waders started to move south in They come through close in and fast its murder trying to id them and get a count in the blink of an eye. Thankfully Magic Mark is in the obs tomorrow. This is what i saw today in order of appearance

Wednesday 23rd July 05.20-07.20 SE1 cloud cover dead calm sea

Bar tailed Godwit 1n
Common Tern 4n 17s
Sandwich Tern 15n 185s
Common Scoter 12n
05.30 Porpoise 3 feeding (2 ad 1 juv)
Manx Shearwater 2n
Redshank 46n
Gropper 1 reeling
Goosander 1s
Common Gull 1s
Dunlin 69s
Arctic Tern 14n
Red th Diver 1n
06.20-06.50 White beaked Dolphin 5s
Whimbrel 2s
Puffin 2s
Turnstone 19s
Oyster Catcher 18s
Arctic Skua 1s
Curlew 2s
Sanderling 18s
Black h Gull1n

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Lazy Sunday Sea watch...

A Blue Fulmar and 3 Arctic Skuas passed Whitburn Obs on my early morning sea watch. I only had the birds for company today and i was late in after the Storm Petrel ringing session last night. It was a very successful session 14 birds trapped and ringed, the BBQ earlier in the evening organised by the Coastal Conservation Group was a huge success, thanks to all involved its becoming a real highlight of the birding calendar. With little wind to encourage movement it was a quiet watch which is what i needed after 4 hours sleep. This is what i saw today in order of appearance

Sunday 20th July 05.55-09.15 NW1-2 cloud cover calm sea

Manx Shearwater 29n 25s
Gannet 30n 293s
Sandwich Tern 19n 190s
Common Tern 16n 63s
Arctic Tern 15n 5s
Curlew 3s
Common Gull 3s
Whimbrel 3s
Puffin 2n 2s
Common Scoter 73n 3s
Arctic Skua 1n 2s
Ringed Plover 8s
Blk h Gul 1n 2s
Blue Fulmar 1s D almost a double D
Turnstone 2n
Peregrine 1s
Kestrel 2s
Grey Heron 2s

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Never mind the qualiy feel the width

14 Arctic Skuas 2 Bonxies and 146 Arctic Terns passed Whitburn Obs by 09.15 when fog stopped play.
We were like busy bees with loads of birds passing we hardly had time to discuss last weekends Bridled Tern....
I was joined by Saint Mark, New Mark and Stoney was in the house. This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 19th July 04.50-09.15 SE2 cloud cover and mist

Gannet 57n 160s
Common Gull 1n 16s
Sandwich Tern 145n 75s
Common Tern 61n 39s
Manx Shearwater 34n 235s
Common Scoter 513n 31s
Oyster Catcher 105s
Arctic Skua 7n 7s
Puffin 6n 11s
Black h Gull 7n 2s
Whimbrel 4s
Arctic Tern133n 13s
Tufted Duck 4s
Turnstone 1s
Redshank 3n
Teal 10n 15s
Bar t Godwit 2n
Bonxie 2n
06.20-06.25 White beaked Dolphin 8s
Red br Merganser 3n
Mallard 1n
Curlew 2n 3s
Dunlin 1n 8s
06.50 single Dolphin sp nth
Porpoise 2s
Eider 3n
Swift 1s
Knot 5s

Thursday, 17 July 2014


An Arctic Skua and 38 Manxies passed Whitburn Obs early this morning on a quieter day. I don't get many Tits passed the obs but today i had Great and Blue, the Coal Tit still alludes me, don't even mention Long tailed and Willow
This is what i did see in order of appearance

Thursday 17th July 05.05-07.10 SW2 broken cloud

Sandwich Tern 29n 255s
Common Tern 18n 43s
Puffin 5n 2s
Whimbrel 1s
Curlew 2n 1s
05.10 Porpoise 4s
Redshank 2n 19s
Manxie 12n 26s
Swift 1s
Common Scoter 212n 6s
Teal 3n
Black h Gull 1s
Gropper 1 reeling Common Gull 1s
Bar tailed Godwit 4n
Arctic Skua 1n
Arctic Tern 3n
Grey Wagtail 2s
Red th Diver 1n
Tree Sparrow 8s

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Autumn migration boosts Obs year list

A Spotted Redshank went south past Whitburn Obs early morning with a general movement of Redshank. My Obs year list hasn't moved much lately except for the Bridled Tern (Yeeaahhh) so it was good to see some migration today. Spotted Redshank and Grey Wagtail brought my 2014 list to 140. A Coal Tit has been seen around the obs on a number of occasions recently and i hope to nail it soon. This is what i saw today in order of appearance

Wednesday 16th July 05.00-07.30 SW2

Sandwich Tern 11n 419s
Curlew 1n 1s
Teal 3s
Common Tern 6n 83s
Manx Shearwater 3n 10s
Arctic Tern 2s
Porpoise 1s
Swift 6s
Whimbrel 1n
Redshank 46s
Red th Diver 1n
Puffin 4n
Common Scoter 25n 6s
Dunlin 2s
Spotted Redshank 1s

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

No dogs allowed...

2 Roseate Terns and an Arctic Skua passed Whitburn Obs early this morning. It was business as usual today after a day off on Monday due to world cup excesses. I didn't expect much on a strong westerly with bright sun and i didn't get much except for a couple of quality birds. A passing birder? called into the obs with his dog in tow, a Red Setter type which pounded towards me and my expensive optics on a retractable lead. My heart was in my mouth. He asked if he could join me but i politely said his dog could not and he moved on
This is what i managed to see in order of appearance

Tuesday 15th July 04.45-07.00 W2-3 bright sun

Sandwich Tern 28n 89s
Common Tern 2n 10s
Swift 40s
Common Gull 1s
Manx Shearwater 2n
Black h Gull 5s
Common Scoter 35n
Curlew 2n
Arctic Tern 7n 1s
Redshank 2s
Roseate Tern 2n
Eider 1n
Bar t Godwit 1n Arctic Skua 1s
Gropper reeling

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Lucky for some....

5 White beaked Dolphins and circa 10 Porpoise went south past Whitburn Obs this morning and the Bridled Tern!. Yes it is the13th today but who says its an unlucky number. Stevie Howart beat Magic Mark and myself into the obs today, New Mark joined us and will henceforth be known as Saint Mark in this blog after calling the Bridled Tern as it came south. It wasn't far out and we all managed to get on it without much fuss as it slowly moved south feeding. It was good to see that observers to the south of us managed to connect with it after the news had been put out. I dipped it last year when it was at Saltholme briefly due to the A19 being closed so am relieved to get it on my county list at last and from the best possible location, the obs.
We had a cracking watch today in poor conditions with rain and mist, this is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 13th July 05.15-10.00 SW1 rain drizzle mist etc

Manx Shearwater 46n
Puffin 47n 1s
Common Scoter 1599n 104s (includes one flock of 440n)
Sandwich Tern 36n 372s
Little Tern 1s
Common Tern 25n 45s
Redshank 8n 5s
06.00 Whit beaked Dolphins 5 south, last seen at 08.05
Arctic Shua 2n
Porpoice 5s at 06.50 and 5 plus feeding around most of the watch
Black h Gull 4n 6s
Eider 19n
Teal 2n
Shoveler 1n
Swift 4s
Arctic Tern 30n
Red th Diver 2s
Bonxie 1n
Gadwall 4s
Curlew 5n 1s
Dunlin 4s
08.10 Bridled Terns
Knot 5s
Bar t Godwit 1n
Common Gull 1s
Gropper 2 reeling
Common Sandpiper 1s

Friday, 11 July 2014

to sea watch or not?........

2 Red necked Grebes a Little Gull and 95 Manxies went north past Whitburn by 07.15 this morning. Yes to sea watch or not that is the question... local birders are scratching their heads should i go to the obs or not, well we have had northerlies for a few days now and if you look at what has passed the Obs choose
It was a little quieter than yesterday but i got the feeling its still all to happen today. This is what i saw in order of appearance

Friday 10th July 05.05-07.15 N1-2 calm sea cloud cover

Common Scoter 82n 16s
Gannet 450n 10s
Arctic Tern 35n
Common Tern 32n
Puffin 47n 4s
Curlew 2n
Manxie 95n
Red th Diver 1n
Red necked Grebe 2nRed br Merganser 5n
Little Gull 1n adult
Porpoise 1n
Sandwich Tern 2n
Black h Gull 1s

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Now thats what i call a good sea watch vol 2

Storm Petrel, 8 Bonxies and a Velvet Scoter went north past Whitburn Obs by 08.30. I was joined by Magic Mark and Stoney was in the house. It was northerly overnight and it was one of those sea watches you don't want to miss. This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday10th July 04.50-08.30 NW2-3

Common Tern 79n
Gannet 856n
Manxie 81n
Arctic Tern 58n
Puffin 53n 2s
Curlew 7n
Red th Diver 1n
Bonxie 8n
Redshank 12n
Common Gull 2n
Bar tailed Godwit 10n
Sandwich Tern 2s
Stormie 1n 06.10
Porpoise 1n
Common Scoter 4s
Velvet Scoter 1n
Wigeon 1n
Blue Fulmar 1n
Whimbrel 1n
Blk h Gull 1n
Teal 13n

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

It was quiet but better thasn watching Brazil

A blue Fulmar and an Arctic Skua went north past Whitburn Obs by 07.30 this morning. It was quiet despite the northerly wind even the Terns slept in, the Sandwich Terns didnt get going till well into my watch. Sadly no mouse for company today, this is what i saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 9th July 05.05-07.30 N2 broken cloud choppy sea

Gannet 197n 35s
Black h Gull 5n 3s
Curlew 7n 1s
Puffin 21n 9s
Sandwich Tern 16n 318s
Manxie 11n
Common Tern 4n 15s
Common Scoter 5n
Arctic Tern 3n 2s
Red th Diver 1n
Eider 3n
Arctic Skua 1n
Redshank 2n
Blue Fulmar 1n D
Dunlin 2s
Whimbrel 1s

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

There's a moose in the hoose

Great northern Diver and an Arctic Skua went north past Whitburn Obs early morning. A field mouse was my only companion this morning and we had a busy watch. Good to see another Minke Whale was recorded north past the obs yesterday by the late shift
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 8th July 05.00-07.00 N1-2 cloud cover calm sea

Sandwich Tern 19n 408s
Common Scoter 545n 58s
Common Tern 12n 81s
Manxie 90n 12s
Puffin 8n
Redshank 4n
Arctic Tern 1n 7s
Red th Diver 1n
Black h Gull 3n2s
Greylag Goose 2n
Great northern Diver 1n
Curlew 3n 1s
Arctic Skua 1n
Porpoise just one today

Monday, 7 July 2014

Happy Mondays.....

2 adult Little Gulls and a Great northern Diver went south past Whitburn Obs early morning .I nearly didn't bother and was struggling to get out of bed. The prospect of a westerly wind and bright sun wasn't motivating me. Add in the onset of post world cup traumatic stress.....
I was glad i did make it when those quality birds went south. This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 7th July 05.30-07.10 W2 bright sun then broken cloud

Sandwich Tern 21n 294s
Common Tern 1n 21s
Puffin 4n 4s
Common Scoter 2n 12s
Manxie 8n 2s
Redshank 3s
Swift 2s
Little Gull 2s adults
Black h Gull 2n 1s
Red th Diver 1s
Great northern Diver 1s 06.30
Curlew 1s
Arctic Tern 2s
Dunlin 1s

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Autumn arrives....

A Red necked Grebe and 360 Manxies went north past Whitburn Obs by 9 am this morning. The chill in the air and the first Red necked Grebe of the autumn confirmed summer is waning. I was joined by New Mark and Magic Mark on a busy watch with record counts for the year of Manx Shearwaters and Sandwich Terns. Juvenile Sandwich, and Arctic Terns were seen as well as our first juv Black headed Gulls
We managed to connect with some White beaked Dolphins on a calm sea, not bad for early Sunday morning. This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 6th July 04.55-09.00 W1 cloud cover and early heat haze

Sandwich Tern 70n 708s inc 1 juv
Common Tern 15n 86s
Puffin 14n 23s
Common Gull 3s
Black headed Gull 2n 10s inc 2 juvs
Manx Shearwater 360n
Common Scoter36n 9s
Red th Diver 1n 4s
Curlew 1n 4s
Porpoise 1n 1s
Redshank 19s
Dunlin 1s
07.50 White beaked Dolphin 4 slowly south till 08.30 at least
Ringed Plover 1n
Arctic Tern 1n juv
Red necked Grebe 1n

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Whats that coming over the it a Pratincole

819 Common Scoter went north past Whitburn Obs by 9 am. New Mark beat me in this morning, we had a canny watch with a good variety of birds. Mark was just saying how the Pratincole hadn't been seen again since it flew south from Saltholme when we got the news that Chris Bell had found it or another at Hurworth Burn. Well done Chris, so we had the grip back of the year, and i must stop leaving my mobile in the car luckily no harm done. This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 5th July 05.45-09.00 NW 2

Sandwich Tern 57n 318s
Common Tern 17n 13s
Redshank 6n 2s
Manxie 1n 3s
Puffin 31n 11s
Common Scoter 819n 21s
Black h Gull 5s 1juv
Red br Merganser 1n
Bar t Godwit 6n
Curlew 15n
Porpoise 2
Blue Fulmar 1n L
Eider 2n
Shoveler 1n
Red th Diver 1s
Wigeon 2n

Thursday, 3 July 2014

more Dolphin hide and seek antics off Whitburn....

5 White beaked Dolphins went slowly south past Whitburn Obs today. I was joined by Magic Mark and we were enjoying the lovely calm conditions with good light when we picked up on some fins, 3 at first or was it 4? we eventually saw 5 and they did show so we could identify them as White beaked. We watched them for fifteen minutes then they became more distant but we did pick them up again further south just as ii was leaving
I left Mark in the Obs which is always dangerous but sadly work awaited. This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 3rd July 05.00-07.15 NW1 rain at first then good conditions with a flat calm sea

Sandwich Tern 32n 207s
Common Tern 29n 22s
Black h Gull 16n 3s
Black tailed Godwit 2n
Puffin 8n 5s
Gropper 1 reeling
Common Gull 2n 4s
Manxie 5n 2s
Common Scoter 53n 21s
LBBGull 1n
Arctic Tern 2s
06.10 White beaked Dolphin 3 at first but soon 5 off going slowly south till 07.20 at least
Turnstone 2n
Eider 1s
Whimbrel 1s
Porpoise 1 feeding
Curlew 2s

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

White beaked or Bottlenose.....that is the question?

Balearic and 24 Manx Shearwaters passed Whitburn Obs by 07.00 this morning. Our first Balearic of the year, lets hope its the first of many
Yesterday a couple of Dolphins were feeding along the flag line but wouldn't show well enough for me to confirm the species. Well the same happened today when i picked them up at 05.35 and it took multiple sightings before at 06.24 they gave themselves up and it was 3 White beaked Dolphin which eventually headed north by 06.45
This is what i saw today in order of appearance, wish i could have stayed longer

Tuesday 1st July 05.05-07.00 N1-2 cloud cover calm sea

Golden Plover circa 100 over the firing range
Gannet 198n34s
Sandwich Tern 39n 57s
Puffin 70n
Common Scoter 253n 20s
Manxie 24n
05.20 Balearic Shearwater north
Red th Diver 1n
Common Tern 8n 7s
05.35 White beaked Dolphin 3 off were eventually identified and headed off North at 06.45
Curlew 1n
Arctic Tern 5n
Black h Gull 1s
Swift 2n