Thursday, 31 December 2015

Ring out the old......2015 obs list totals..

2 Black throated Divers and 11 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 10.45 this morning. My last sea watch of the year enjoyed with Stevie Makem. Once again we would be happy with this lot tomorrow, but you know birding...

My Obs year list finished on 169 for the year and i am happy with that, beating last year by 2 species. Highlights include Great and Little Shearwater, Bewick Swan, Buff breasted Sandpiper, White winged Tern, Pallid Swift, Great White Egret, OBP etc etc
Biggest regrets Spoonbill and Black Guillemot
Remarkably the number of species i have seen over the 3 years of doing an obs list is 196
So plenty to go at next year

This is what Stevie and i saw today in order of appearance

Thursday 31st December 08.00-10.45 SW2-3 broken cloud

Black h Gull 11n 349s
Common Gull 9n 54s
Eider 11n
Curlew 35n 65s
Shag 2n 26s
Turnstone 3s
Fulmar 2n 4s
Red th Diver 19n
Shelduck 3n 1s
Kittiwake 5n 1s
Canada Goose 1s
Gannet 12n 3s
Little Gull 1n 10s
Great northern Diver 1n 1s
Porpoise 2n 1s
Wigeon 10n
Mallard 3s
Scan Herring Gull 3s
Black th Diver 1n 2s    the bird north was probably the same bird that had recently flown south
Little Auk 1n
Bonxie 1n

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Little and large xmas special......

7 Little Auks and 30 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 10.30 this morning. Magic Mark and Stevie Makem joined me in the spectacular gale force conditions. We enjoyed the Little and Large of sea watching with Little Gulls and Auks passing,  and at the other end of the scale Glaucous Gull and Bonxie. If only it was New Years day was the cry
This is what we saw

Wednesday 30th December 07.55-10.30 S8 cloud cover, very rough sea

Black h Gull 451s
Common Gull 126s
Scan Herring Gull 3s
Kittiwake 24s
Shag 11s
Little Gull 30s
Lapwing 6s
Turnstone 2s
Gannet 4n 19s
Common Scoter 1n 4s
Porpoise 1s
Bonxie 1n
Eider 6s
Golden Plover 73s
Little Auk 7n
Shelduck 4s
Red th Diver 1n
Glaucous Gull 1s juv
Curlew 35s
Fulmar 120s
GBBGull 195s

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Calm before the storm...

3 Bonxies and a Med Gull passed Whitburn Obs by 11 today. It was like a Christmas party with Stevie Makem, Pink Floyd, Unlucky Dave and Walter all in today. Birds were moving, maybe making the most of the calm before storm Frank tomorrow.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 29th December 07.55-11.00 S3-4 cloud cover then broken

Black h Gull 2n 462s
Common Gull 4n 103s
Eider 17n 7s
Med Gull 1s ad
Goldeneye 4n 5s
Scan Herring Gull 3s
Fulmar 13n 7s
Turnstone 2n 2s
Gannet 13n 21s
Kittiwake 3n 3s
Red th Diver 12n 3s
Wigeon 3n 6s
Shag 4n 8s
Common Scoter 4n 43s
Teal 4n 2s
Shelduck 2n 17s
Curlew 2n
Bonxie 3n
Tufted Duck 1s

Monday, 28 December 2015


12 Bonxies and a Red necked Grebe were among the host of quality birds that passed Whitburn Obs by 11am today. Magic Mark was back from his Xmas break and in form. The stronger wind than of late helped and we tucked in to enjoy a fandabidozi sea watch. Records continue to tumble, the 2 Velvet Scoters we saw brought the years total to 213, one more than the previous annual best in 2009. Coming on the back of other recent record's including highest day counts for Great northern Diver, Blue Fulmar and Woodcock today's Bonxie movement was the highest December total on record.
This is what we saw today in order of appearance.

Monday 28th December 08.00-11.00 SSE4-5 rough sea, cloud cover

Common Gull 15n 26s
Shag 8n 10s
Kittiwake 59n 1s
Black h Gull 3n 49s
Red th Diver 2n 3s
Fulmar 70n 3s
Velvet Scoter 2n
Scan Herring Gull 4s
Gannet 33n 5s
Bonxie 12n
Common Scoter 39n 14s
Black th Diver 1n
Great northern Diver 1n 1s
Red necked Grebe 1n
Sparrowhawk 1s
Curlew 1s
Porpoise 1s
Wigeon 3s
Eider 1s
Glaucous Gull 1n juv
Teal 3s

Saturday, 26 December 2015

The usual suspects.....

Black throated Diver flew north past Whitburn Obs by 10.30 today. Stoney was in the house and we did our best in dreek conditions with little wind. It was a case of the usual birds going past till we managed a bit of quality with a Black throated Diver flew high north with a flock of seven Red throats
Watch this space with Velvet Scoter we are very close to a new Obs record....
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 26th December SE1-2 rain,mist

Black h Gull 19n 37s
Eider 3n 9s
Gannet 1n 10s
Fulmar 14n 11s
Scan Herring Gull 6s
Common Gull 7n 23s
Velvet Scoter 1n
Dunlin 12n
Red th Diver 9n 2s
Shag 3s
Kittiwake 1s
Redshank 1n
Black th Diver 1n

Monday, 21 December 2015

I'm dreaming of a white wing xmas.......

2 Iceland and 2 Glaucous Gulls flew south past Whitburn Obs by 11am. It was a white out. Expectations were low as i trudged down to the obs in yet another south westerly. I was late and could see the big gulls steaming past, Stoney was in the house and i had missed nothing. It wasn't 10 minutes after i sat down that i called the first, an Iceland Gull probably a 2nd winter, after that it just got better. Looking back at the records the maximum day count of either Iceland or Glaucous Gull was only two, so we hung on till 11 but failed to break the records
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 21st December 07.55-11.00 SW4-5

Gannet 23n 175s
Black h Gull 7n 21s
Common Scoter 9n 9s
Scan Herring Gull 7s
Kittiwake 1n 7s
Common Gull 11s
08.23 Iceland Gull 2nd w south
Eider 3n 3s
Red th Diver 6n 3s
Shag 3s
Turnstone 1s
Redshank 2s
Grey Heron 1s
Fulmar 3n 8s
08.40 Glaucous Gull juv south different smaller bird to the weekends Glauc
08.47 Iceland Gull adult south
Bonxie 1s
Golden Plover 167s
Velvet Scoter 1s
09.35 Glaucous Gull juv south larger bird that looked like the weekends bird
Wigeon 6n

Rob got pictures of both Glauc's but the Iceland Gulls were just too close in and had passed before we could react. We won't forget this watch for a while, and back on Boxing day for more.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Comes in threes........

2 Little Gulls and a Great northern Diver passed Whitburn Obs by 10.30 this morning. They say good things come in threes, well today we saw three good species of bird which was three more than we saw yesterday. Both Marks were in and we had an unexpected visit by Boy Wonder. This is what we saw in order of appearance.

Sunday 20th December 07.50-10.30 SW3-4 early cloud clearing

Curlew 82s
Gannet 156n
Black h Gull 7n 48s
Common Gull 3n 16s
Red th Diver 6n 8s
Turnstone 1s
Shag 3n 7s
Scan Herring Gull 4s
Fulmar 21n 17s
Eider 8s
Great northern Diver 1s
Blue Fulmar 1s
Common Scoter 8n 3s
Kittiwake 2n 2s
Littlle Gull 2s adults
Red br Merganser 1s
Dunlin 11s

Saturday, 19 December 2015

argie bargie.....

955 Great black backed Gulls and 23 Argentatus Herring Gulls went south past Whitburn Obs on a decent Gull movement day,  but sadly no white wingers today. It was a very quiet watch apart from the Gulls. Magic and Saint Mark joined me and later Pink Floyd but we failed to record any 'quality' birds
Maybe tomorrow.....
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 19th December 07.55-10.30 SSW4 cloud cover

Common Gull 49s
Scan Herring Gull 23s
Black h Gull 177s
Shag 4s
Curlew 70s
Gannet 8n 16s
Fulmar 3s
Common Scoter 3s
Eider 7n
Turnstone 3s
GBBGull 955s
Red th Diver 4n
Redshank 6s
Ringed Plover 2s

Friday, 18 December 2015

It's a nice day for a white....winger

Glaucous Gull and Little Gull passed Whitburn Obs by 11.00 this morning. Stoney was in the house and did a good job calling the gulls. The Glauc hung around showing well, video later. This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 18th December 07.55-10.55 SW4 cloud cover

Black h Gull 7n 22s
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Common Gull 1n 15s
GBBGull 165s
Eider 3n 4s
Red th Diver 9n 5s
Turnstone 52s
Shag 1n 10s
Gannet 41n 6s
Knot 5s
Shelduck 1n
Common Scoter 4n
Curlew 1s
Fulmar 3n
Porpoise 3s
Kittiwake 2s
Little Gull 1s
Pintail 1s
Glaucous Gull 1n juv 09.30

Monday, 14 December 2015

Another one bites the dust.....

3 species of Diver passed Whitburn Obs by 10.15 today. 4 Red throated, 1 Black throated and most importantly 2 Great Northern. That brings the total number of Great Northern Divers recorder past Whitburn Obs this year to 103. This beats the previous best of 102 in 2007, like i say another one bites the dust. And still plenty of time left this year for more.Only myself in this morning but it turned into a decent watch despite the conditions. The wind dropped for a while and mist made distant birds difficult to see. This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 14th December 07.55-10.15 SSW2 some mist, cloud cover calm sea

Black h Gull 3n 35s
Common Gull 8n 26s
Fulmar 7n 2s
Gannet 11n 2s
Shelduck 1n 3s
Curlew 1n 30s
Red th Diver 3n 1s
Great Northern Diver 1n (08.15) 1s (08.55)
Common Scoter 7n
Dunlin 1s
Shag 2s
Teal 12s
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Porpoise 1s
Wigeon 3s
Goldeneye 3s
Grey Heron 1n
Pink footed Goose 180s
Fieldfare 3 landed on the obs wall
Black throated Diver 1n (10.00)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Slipin and a slidin........

Black throated Diver and 2 Velvet Scoter passed Whitburn Obs by 11 this morning. I nearly didnt make it in today when i hit black ice early this morning as i left my house, but it proved well worth the effort as we had a memorable watch.
Magic and Saint Mark joined me with Hoggie and Walter later.
I was in the Obs on Friday and Saturday but it was very ordinary with no news worth blogging about
Today was a differant story, this is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 13th December 07.50-11.00 WNW 2 cloud cover

Black h Gull 13n 70s
Eider 6s
Common Scoter 2n 3s
Gannet 15n 6s
Common Gull 15n 84s
Red th Diver 12n 12s
Fulmar 13n 1s
Shag 4n 13s
Curlew 1s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Black th Diver 1n 08.38
Goldeneye 3n
Pink footed Goose 18s
Med Gull 1s ad
Bonxie 1s
Razorbill 1n
Velvet Scoter 2n
Great n Diver 1s
Grey Heron 1n
Turnstone 1s
Kittiwake 1n
Great crested Grebe 1s
Short eared Owl 1 hunting the country park