Friday, 30 December 2016

Mackem and Tackem...

 Red necked Grebe went north past Whitburn Obs by 11 today. When Stevie Mackem walked in the door this morning i knew something was going to happen, he just has the knack of being in the right place at the right time. For example Bridled Tern...need i say more. So on an end of year day with nothing conditions we get Red necked Grebe, Glaucous Gull and 2 Bonxies. Come back soon Stevie
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 30th December 07.58-11.00 SW2 cloud 3/8

Black h Gull 5n 9s
Cormorant 7s
Eider 7n 2s
Gannet 23n 11s
Fulmar 2n
Common Gull 2n 14s
Red th Diver 8n 5s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Red necked Grebe 1n     only our 5th of the year
Turnstone 1n 2s
Common Scoter 6n
Glaucous Gull 1s juv
Goose sp 5s
Shelduck 3n
Bonxie 2s
Puffin 1n

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Hazy Fantayzee.....

2 Great Northern Divers passed Whitburn Obs by 10.45 today on an otherwise quiet day. I nearly didnt bother today with the forcasted fog but the lure of the Obs....Conditions were very hazy in the below freezing temprature and bright sun. Best bird was a Pink foot that dropped onto the rocks near the Obs
I would like to thank everyone for all of the support and encouragement I have received it was much appreciated,  hence todays blog. Onwards and upwards as they say
Here is what i saw in order of appearance i have

Thursday 29th December 08.20-10.45 W1-2 cloud 0/8

Cormorant 1n 2s
Lapwing 42s
Common Gull 1n 27s
Black h Gull 2n 9s
Common Scoter 7n 2s
Eider 3s
Pink footed Goose 1s

Great Northern Diver 2n
Red th Diver 4n 3s
Fulmar 6n 2s
Scan Herring Gull 8s
Gannet 16n 3s
Turnstone 6s
Shag 1s

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

bye bye Blogger

I received the following comments today on my blog 

Peter Collins commented 'Perhaps your'e getting a tadge possesive about the building and wildlife seen from it'

Andrew McAlpine (Keith McAlpines brother)commented  'sniveling weasl comes to mind'

I have posted 680 bloggs detailing my sightings from Whitburn Obs, in addition i have tweeted many many hundreds of tweets informing folk of passing birds and cetacean information

To be honest i dont need this and although you will find me in the Obs most days and can insult me to my face you will no longer see this Blog or tweets from me. I will enjoy my sea watches and what i see will stay with me

On the 4th day of Xmas.....

3 Glaucous Gulls, 2 Bewick Swans, 1 Killer Whale and a Partridge in the Obs field. Yes I'm having quite a week but still not tempting anyone else into the Obs. To tweet or not to tweet that is the question. I tend to tweet news of birds going north or south for other interested observers. I also tweet cetacean news like say a pod of Dolphins showing. I didn't tweet anything yesterday about the Killer Whale, it was very distant not really twitchable and we didn't get an id until late on. Even though i was sat two foot away from Magic Mark the finder it was difficult to find the spot of a blow or the whale surfacing, you needed a lora lora luck....
It had been suggested that people would have been interested in coming to see the Orca, shame no one could be bothered to come and look for it today on a nice calm sea tho the light was challenging
Am amazed  i saw yet another 3 Glaucous Gulls today, one was way off shore in Killer territory and landed on the sea a couple of times the other two were close and with the bright sun i failed to get my camera on them. The last bird was the most interesting as it was not the usual juv plumage but a worn white and with the bright sun to the south looked huge, hope it comes back and i get another go at video of it. I did head to Roker pier to see if any of the Glaucs were roosting but looking into the bright sun......
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 28th December 07.55-10.45 SW2 cloud 0/8

Cormorant 2n 3s
Eider 4s
Shag 2n 1s
Common Gull 5n 34s
Black h Gull 15n 12s
Gannet 8n
Fulmar 1n 11s
Scan Herring Gull 13s
Red th Diver 1n 1s
Wigeon 3n
Grey Heron 1s
Kittiwake 2n
Curlew 2n
Common Scoter 2n
Redshank 3n 1s
Snipe 1n
Glaucous Gull 3s 9.03, 9.25, 10.05 (2juvs,12nd w)
Goldeneye 1s
Turnstone 1s

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Killer Queen....

a Killer Whale showed off Whitburn Obs this morning slowly moving south. Magic Mark called the first blow and for the next 90 minutes we observed what we think was a female Killer Whale...
Killer Queen. Half an hour before the sighting i reminded Mark of a Humpback he had seen on New Years day a few years ago and i said it would be nice to get a Christmas Whale, Mark agreed and mentioned how calm the sea was. Would you Adam and Eve it. It was the 6th species of Cetacean i have seen from the Obs

The birds were not bad either,  Great Northern,  Med Gull and Brent Goose
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 27th December 08.00-11.00 W2 cloud 1/8

Shag 2n 1s
Cormorant 7s
Black h Gull 3n 30s
Eider 5n 7s
Common Gull 1n 23s
Red th Diver 6n 11s
Great Northern Diver 3n
Common Scoter 10n 4s
Porpoise 1n
Gannet 7n
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Med Gull 1s ad
Killer Whale 1s 08.50-10.20
Brent Goose 1n pb

Monday, 26 December 2016

On the 2nd day of Xmas.......

On the 2nd day of Xmas Santa sent to me 2 Bewick Swans and a Partridge in the Obs field....
Magic Mark and I had arranged to meet for a Boxing Day sea watch. I nearly didn't go when i saw the conditions, bright sun and a blasting westerly, and Mark didn't make it, probably still intoxicated.
I noticed with my bins two white birds heading south and expected them to be my first Gannets of the morning,  i got my scope on them and saw they were Swans, zoomed on the heads and got the detail on the bills and nearly fell off my seat...Bewicks
I'm quite practised and getting my scope off the tripod and my camera on so tried for some video but the viewfinder on my P900 is not the same as my Swaro 95mm zoom lens and at first i couldn't find the birds and when i eventually did it was way too late....Ive included the video but its crap so ive also added some better video from Boldon Flats a while ago
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 26th December 08.05-10.05 W4 cloud 1/8

Black h Gull 1n 6s
Common Gull 17s
Eider 5s
Goosander 1s
Bewick Swan 2s ad 08.40
Golden Plover 70s
Shag 1s
Lapwing 13s
Red th Diver 1n 2s
Great Northern Diver 1n

Friday, 23 December 2016

Glauc City......

Glaucous Gull and Black throated Diver passed Whitburn Obs in 3 hours this morning. I was joined by Magic Mark and we enjoyed the ruff sea and good light. Not many birds about but our gull checking paid off when i called my 6th Glauc of the month, Glauc City indeed
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 23rd December 08.00-11.00 S4-5 cloud 8/8

Common Gull 5n 32s
GBBGull 5n 487s
Black h Gull 15s
Scan Herring Gull 8s
Eider 6s
Cormorant 1n 14s
Turnstone 4s
Kittiwake 1s
Gannet 35n 2s
Fulmar 8n 22s
Black th Diver 1n
Red th Diver 2n 3s
Glaucous Gull 1n juv

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Beans means Tundra......

2 Great Northern Divers a Bonxie and a Blue Fulmar passed Whitburn Obs by 10.40 today. I was surprised at the strength of the wind when i arrived at the Obs, it was a welcome change from recent becalmed weather. Pink Floyd joined me and we had a canny first hour or so then the cloud broke the sun came out and yuk.
Walter arrived clutching the now legendary crab sandwiches and we three wise men bailed out to go and see the Tundra Beans at Boldon leaving Unlucky Dave to enjoy the light
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 20th December 08.00-10.40 S3-4 cloud 8/8 then 2/8

Great Black Backed Gull 7n 577s
Common Gull 20s
Scan Herring Gull 9s
Turnstone 11s
Red th Diver 5n 5s
Black h Gull 3n 12s
Blue Fulmar 1s L
Fulmar 3n 15s
Cormorant 4n 19s
Gannet 14n
Shag 1n 1s
Common Scoter 8n 13s
Sanderling 35s
Eider 2n
Bonxie 1n
Knot 1s
Wigeon 1n
Great Northern Diver 2n
Tundra Bean Goose at Boldon 15

Sunday, 18 December 2016

More Tugs than Shags...........

Glaucous Gull and Great Northern Diver passed Whitburn Obs by 10 o'clock this morning and a canny few other cracking birds. It was a dreek day that faced us looking out of the Obs this morning, grey, dank, and not much wind so my expectations were not high. On the plus side Magic and Saint Mark were already in and poised for action. A lot of large gulls were milling around and it wasn't long before the Glauc was picked up again my 5th of the month and probably the same bird as yesterday. I reckon I've seen three different birds so far.
A procession of Tugs were showing well going north fairly close inshore and Saint Mark commented we'd had more Tugs than Shags, can't imagine what he meant...
I was on Granddad duties so had to finish early to a flurry of activity, Whoopers Whooping as they flew inland over the Obs and PTB arriving to tick Glauc at last, phew
This is what we saw till then, no doubt the two Marks will make me regret leaving early

Sunday 18th December 07.55-10.00 SW1-2 cloud 8/8

Red th Diver 2n 2s
Black h Gull 9n 10s
Common Gull 3n 9s
Eider 5n 3 on sea
Cormorant 12s
Fulmar 18n 1s
Redshank 3n 30s
Turnstone 2n 25s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Curlew 120s
Long t Duck 2n
Shag 4s
Common Scoter 1n
Manxie 1n
Great Northern Diver 1s
Glaucous Gull 1 juv on the rocks below the Obs
Gannet 1n
Whooper Swan 22s

Friday, 16 December 2016

White Wing Hat Trick......

 Iceland, Glaucous and Med Gull passed Whitburn Obs by 10.35 this morning in an amazing white out. I had hoped for white wing gulls yesterday in the stronger southerly so today when i sat down on a misty morning i wasn't sure what to expect, but it was all about the gulls. As yesterday big gulls were moving from first light tho today i didn't to any large gull counts. I was checking out the Black heads that were moving south in bigger numbers than recently and saw large gulls beginning to roost on the rocks just north of the Obs. The 5th bird i looked at was a juv Glaucous Gull, back of the net. I managed to get some video and put the news out before my phone died, and when the local fishing boat called to check his pots they were off heading south. PTB just happened to be passing and headed off to look for it at the Steel
The Med Gull was expected with that number of Black heads going south but the Iceland was not. I Popped out for a call of nature as you do and saw a white winger going south over the obs, got my scope and managed to nail it as it went south over the range.
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Friday 16th December 07.55-10.35 S2 cloud 6/8

Black h Gull 15n 172s
Common Gull 1n 69s
Gannet 7n 7s
Cormorant 1n 10s
Fulmar 2n 4s
Curlew 67s
Eider 2s
Glaucous Gull 1s juv 09.10, flew south 09.20 ish
Shag 2s
Red th Diver 3n 1s
Scan Herring Gull 1n 2s
Common Scoter 5n
Med Gull 1s ad 10.00
Iceland Gull 1s ad 10.10

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas cheer......

540 Great Black Backed Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 11 o'clock this morning. The southerly was brisker than yesterday and large gulls were moving from the off, i fully expected to add to our tally of white winged gulls for the month but sadly it wasn't to be today. We did get a few quality birds to warm our cockles and bring some Christmas cheer to the Obs
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 15th December 07.50-11.00 S3 cloud 7/8

GBBGull 11n n529s
Scan Herring Gull 5s
Common Gull 3n 64s
Black h Gull 16n 48s
Eider 5s
Cormorant 1n 7s
Fulmar 4n 7s
Shag 1n 3s
Gannet 31n
Wigeon 8s
Teal 5s
Kittiwake 2n
Goldeneye 6s
Red th Diver 1n 4s
Brent Goose db 3n 2s
Pom Skua 1n
Great Northern Diver 2s
Long tailed Duck 5n
Bonxie 2n

Monday, 12 December 2016

It never rains it pours....

2 Great Northern Divers and a drake Scaup passed Whitburn Obs by 10.30 this morning. I saw a Great Northern going north high up and needed to get the scope on it to check the bill when i saw some Pinkfeet going south, i sorted the Diver and looked for the Geese with my bins when i saw another large Diver going south, oh bugger it never rains it......
The morning started with a Whooper heading south then another two, they were a bit distant so id from the bill pattern was not on, not a bad watch, this is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 12th December 07.50-10.30 S2 cloud 6/8

Common Gull 7n 58s
Black h Gull 9n 34s
Shag 1n 2s
Eider 2s
Cormorant 2n 4s
Red th Diver 2n 2s
Common Scoter 8n 7s
Goldeneye 1s
Scan Herring Gull 5s
Whooper Swan 3s
Fulmar 1n 5s
Redshank 3s
Great Northern Diver 1n 1s
Pink footed Goose 35n 24s
Scaup 1n dr
Wigeon 2s

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Dolphins in the dark...

Great Northern Diver and 130 Pink footed Geese passed Whitburn Obs by 10 o'clock this morning. Saint Mark called the Dolphins as soon as we had sat down, it was still very dark tho Magic Mark was already counting Gulls. Circa 15 headed slowly north fairly close inshore, plenty of youngsters were evident and i tried to video them using 'night shot'. As it turned out i was able to get decent video in good light as some of the pod came back south for a short visit in better light before heading off north again. This also gave Stoney a chance to enjoy them as he had missed the first pod
We had a canny selection of birds with Pinks and a close Great Northern, Mute Swan is scarce from the Obs so a close bird on the sea was exceptional, bet we don't see another for a while when i need a year tick
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 11th December 07.35-10.00 W2 cloud 7/8

Herring Gull 350s
Bottlenose Dolphin circa 15 nth close inshore 07.40-07.55
Bottlenose Dolphins 5 plus south then back north 08.35-08.45
Common Gull 4n 16s
Velvet Scoter 3n
Black h Gull 4n 24s
Shag 1n 5s
Red th Diver 5n 11s
Cormorant 2n 4s
Eider 7n 3 on sea
Common Scoter 26n
Great Northern Diver 1n
Mute Swan 1 swimming north
Redshank 5s
Turnstone 1s
Gannet 7n 1s
Goosander 1n
Fulmar 4n 1s
Pink footed Goose 130s

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Slowly slowly catchey monkey......

2 Glaucous Gulls and 2 Black throated Divers passed Whitburn Obs today by 10.40. Stoney was in the house and after an hour of nothing passing we wondered why we were. Both of us had a day off yesterday and had been looking forward to a brisk southerly rather than the doldrums but it just wasn't happening. Often this time of year it takes a while to get going and we were glad we stuck it out as two Glaucs and two Black throats is a canny watch and we both called one of each. We noticed a big increase in larger gulls moving south and Glauc had been predicted but more in hope...
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 7th December 07.25-10.40 S4 cloud 7/8

Black headed Gull 4n 37s
Common Gull 4n 58s
Eider 4n 1s 4 on sea
Turnstone 2n 19s
Sparrowhawk 1n
Redshank 10s
Shag 5s
Red th Diver 2n 12s
Cormorant 4s
Gannet 11n
Ringed Plover 1s
Fulmar 2s
Black th Diver 2s both wp
Glaucous Gull 2s both juvs but different birds one was much darker than the other

Dunlin 1s
Common Scoter 2n
Shelduck 2n
Golden Plover 40s

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday morning.....

Great Northern Diver and 3 Brent Geese passed Whitburn Obs on our sleepy Sunday morning watch. Sundays can be a bit like that but we did our best in good light to enjoy Decembers slim pickings
Highlights are the 5 Mergansers a new day record passage and this week saw a new annual passage record for Great Northern Diver beating the previous best of 110, today we hit 113...and counting
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 4th December SE2 cloud 8/8

Common Gull 9n 25s
Black h Gull 11n 20s
Porpoise 2
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Red th Diver 20n 10s
Eider 9n 1s
Gannet 9n 2s
Shag 1n 11s
Common Scoter 96n
Red br Merganser 3n 2s
Wigeon 3n
Redshank 1s
Fulmar 3n 2s
Turnstone 1n 2s
Shelduck 5n
Mallard 1n
Great Northern Diver 1n
Grey Heron 1n 2s
Purple Sandpiper 1s
Brent Goose 3n db

Friday, 2 December 2016

Shearwater surprise...

5 Sooty and 1 Manx Shearwater passed Whitburn Obs by 10 this morning. Magic Mark joined me and Stoney was in the house. The Shearwaters were a bit of a surprise considering the previous maximum December day count for both was one of each, so five Sooty's was mega..
We didn't get much to support them this morning except the stars of the show a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. They were distant but showed for long periods with lots of breaching. I didn't manage any video at that distance but I've included some from earlier this year
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 2nd December 07.25-10.00 NW2 cloud 7/8

Black h Gull 41n 16s
Common Gull 41n 26s
Eider 2n 4s
Red the Diver 5n 3s
Common Scoter 2n 4s
Fulmar 52n
Sooty Shearwater 5n
Gannet 23n 9s
Cormorant 1n
Manx Shearwater 1n
Shag 1s
Bottlenose Dolphin 12 plus distant 08.30-09.50 at least with breaching

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Is That It...........

Black throated and 2 Great Northern Divers passed Whitburn Obs by 09.30 this morning. Stoney was in the house and our expectations were low, a westerly and no cloud didn't add up to a good watch. However we did our best to eek out some decent birds. Pink Floyd joined us and called a Great Northern which turned out to be two. It was becoming hard work and as Bob Geldolf said 'is that it' so we bailed out before the crab sandwich boys arrived and will try again tomorrow
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 29th November 07.20-09.30 W1-2 cloud 0/8

Black h Gull 7n 71s
Eider 10n 4s
Common Gull 13n 19s
Shag 2n 5s
Common Scoter 22n 8s
Red th Diver 4n 5s
Cormorant 2s
Long tailed Duck 2n
Velvet Scoter 1s
Little Gull 1n
Curlew 3n 3s
Goldeneye 2n
Red br Merganser 1n
Grey Heron 1n
Black th Diver 1n
Gannet 2n
Wigeon 8n 8s

Fulmar 1s
Great Northern Diver 2n
Shelduck 1s

Monday, 28 November 2016

Duck Tales.....

50 Long tailed Ducks passed Whitburn Obs by 13.15 today on another record breaking day. Stoney beat me in and we had high hopes of more of the same of yesterdays first class watch. We were not disappointed and it was quality from the start. The first flock of Long tailed Ducks was nine the largest of the day, as they kept coming word came from Magic Mark that the record day passage was 48, we got to 46 before we left and Kieth McAlpine got us over the line with another 4. So the new day record is 50, unless of course someone else goes into the obs today.
The supporting cast was substantial and this is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 28th November 07.25-11.20 SE2 cloud 7/8

Black h Gull 11n 233s
Common Gull 7n 23s
Fulmar 15n 1s
Common Eider 18n 11s
Pom Skua 1n 1s
Wigeon 51n
Long tailed Duck 45n 5s
Cormorant 2n 3s
Common Scoter 510n 42s
Velvet Scoter 5n
Red th Diver 10n 13s
Shelduck 1n
Golden Plover 100n
Dunlin 9n
Little Auk 1n
Mallard 5n
Goldeneye 38n 7s
Teal 1n
Great Northern Diver 1n
Shag 1n 15s
Long eared Owl 1 in off
Goosander 3s
Red br Merganser1s
Brent Goose 5n pb
Scaup 2n
Redshank 1s

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Proper Ducks........

Little Auk and Sooty Shearwater passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings watch but the stars of the show were the ducks. Proper sea ducks giving great views. Both Marks made it in and we were joined by Stevie Makem and Stevie Thunder, Stoney was in the house. Another northerly guaranteed good birds even at the end of November, it was a slow start but we all agreed a great watch in good light. Long tailed Ducks continued this years record passage hitting 159 so far, the previous best being 110 in 1990. The Scaup were just delicious.....
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 27th November 07.20-11.20 NNE3 cloud 7/8

Shelduck 1n
Common Gull 37n 5s
Shag 2n 2s
Black h Gull 28n 17s
Goldeneye 15n
Cormorant 5n 2s
Common Scoter 154n 190s
Fulmar 29n 4s
Common Eider 36n 7s
Red th Diver 23n 35s
Great n Diver 1s
Med Gull 1n 1s ads
Sooty Shearwater
Long tailed Duck 5n 4s
Porpoise 1
Pom Skua 1s
Curlew 1n
Goosander 1n
Peregrine 1n
Red br Merganser 1n
Velvet Scoter 2n 5s
Little Auk 1n
Wigeon 6n 10s
Scaup 4n
Scan Herring Gull 3n
Teal 1s
Dunlin 2n

Thursday, 24 November 2016


Black throated and Great Northern Diver passed Whitburn Obs by 11.15 on an historic day. I was joined by Jack the Lad and Stoney was in the house, little did we realise early on that we would break yet another day passage record from the Obs. A few Shag started to move then Rob called a distant flock of 80, a steady trickle continued with a notable flock off 66 being the only other large flock. I left before the previous record of 216 was beaten but Pink Floyd sent a text to confirm 220 had gone south by 11.15. To add to the occasion one of the last birds seen was an all white leucistic Shag. I managed some very poor record shot only footage which i will include in the text
It was Jacks first visit and he did well calling his first birds 5 Velvets going north. It was quiet at times but Whitburn Obs showed again what a great location it is turning up some quality birds on an ordinary day weather wise
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 24th November 07.10-11.00 NNW2 cloud 6/8

Black h Gull 60n 34s
Red th Diver 26n 17s
Common Gull 21n 26s
Common Scoter 34n 28s
Fulmar 15n 7s
Cormorant 9n 17s
Grey Heron 1n
Common Eider 18n 3s
Shag 12n 208s including leucistic bird
Velvet Scoter 5n
Wigeon 8n
Rock Pipit 3n
Dunlin 4n
Black th Diver 1s
Pink footed Geese 160s
Red br Merganser 1n
Curlew 1n
Goldeneye 2n
Turnstone 3s
Teal 1n
Great Northern  Diver 1n
Shelduck 1n
Med Gull 1n ad

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Nowt so queer as folk.....

6 Great Northern and a Black throated Diver passed Whitburn Obs by 10.30 today. It was a quieter Obs and a quieter watch but still plenty of quality to be seen. I always find it queer when people ring and say is it worth coming to the obs, it happened again today, being such a sea watch fan the answer from me is always gong to be yes, anything can happen in the Obs.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 23rd November 07.10-10.30 NW2-3 cloud 6/8

Red th Diver 33n 9s
Common Gull23n 39s
Black h Gull 29n 33s
Manxie 1n
Fulmar 27n
Eider 27n 3s
Cormorant 6n 9s
Common Scoter 21n 3s
Great Northern Diver 4n 2s
Black th Diver 1n
Scan Herring Gull 1n 1s
Shag 7n 22s
Bonxie 4n 2s
Dunlin 4n
Porpoise 1n
Red br Merganser 1n 1s
Wigeon 5n
Great crested Grebe 1n 1s
Pom Skua 3n
Little Gull 3n
Velvet Scoter 1n
Goldeneye 1n

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Bye Bye Blackbird.....

Glaucous Gull and 28 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 12.15 today and so much much more. The northerly continued and the Obs was busy with the front row sold out and the warmer back row with limited spaces. Pink Floyd came in coughing and spluttering freely sharing his germs, Unlucky Dave had forgot his bins but was lucky and got a couple of year was that sort of day
It was not such a lucky day for a Blackbird coming in off that fell exhausted onto the sea yards from safety and another taken by a Bonxie.
It was a quiet start for Magic Mark and myself, it was only when the low cloud cleared through that things began to happen. It ended up being a memorable sea watch and Stoney was glad he was in the house. I had to leave at midday for an imminent dentists appointment so i hope the guys didn't get anything special
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 22nd November 07.15-12.15 NNW4 cloud 8/8 heavy swell

Black h Gull 59n 65s
Shag 4n
Common Gull 39n 11s
Eider 23n 3s
Fulmar 337n (you could say they are back)
Gannet 193n
Guillemot 632n
Common Scoter 65n 9s
Red th Diver 9n 4s
Turnstone 6n 1s
Cormorant 5n 1s
Long tailed Duck 8n 3s
Bonxie 8n 7s
Scan Herring Gull 1n 3s
Wigeon 4n
Red br Merganser 3n
Redpoll 1 in off
Great Northern Diver 5n 1s
Scaup 16n

Teal 34n 1s
Little Auk 2n
Mallard 1s
Sooty Shearwater 5n
Little Gull 28n
Bar t Godwit 1n
Rock Pipit 1n
Porpoise 1
Dunlin 42n
Knot 6n
Pom Skua 1n 2s
Great crested Grebe 1n
Velvet Scoter 1s
Sandwich Tern 1s
Black th Diver 1n
Glaucous Gull 1n juv

Monday, 21 November 2016

Double Top.....

Little Auk and Red necked Grebe passed Whitburn Obs by midday on what can only be described as a cracking sea watch. The northerly continued and although we didn't see huge numbers of birds you cant dispute the quality. Any day you see two species of grebe pass the obs is a good day, they are top birds and the Red necked Grebe Rob called was only our fourth of the year. It was odd seeing it fly close to a Guillemot to note how slight it was in comparison. The Peregrine was attempting to catch Auks a couple of miles offshore, it would have been better off reducing our Feral Pigeon population along the shore
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 21st November 07.10-12.00 NE4 cloud 8/8

Common Eider 12n 1s
Common Gull 63n 3s
Black h Gull 54n 6s
Red th Diver 53n 16s
Common Scoter 34n 39s
Golden Plover 300n
Shag 4n 12s
Sparrowhawk 2n
Fulmar 20n 31s
Wigeon 64n
Porpoise 1n
Long tailed Duck 5n
Lapwing 70n
Great Northern Diver 4n
Black th Diver 2n
Med Gull 1n ad
Pom Skua 3n
Velvet Scoter 2
Goldeneye 4n
Cormorant 1n 1s
Bonxie 2n
Great crested Grebe 1n
Peregrine 1n
Little Auk 1n
Red necked Grebe 1n
this one from Seaton Pond 

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Short and sweet...

4 Great Northern Divers passed Whitburn Obs by 09.30 this morning edging us closer to a new annual passage record, we just need another 16 and with 6 in the last 3 days we are looking good. Both Marks joined me this morning and Stoney was in the house. It had to be a short watch for me today due to Grandad taxi duties but it was certainly sweet. As on the previous two days we had all the ingredients of a good winter sea watch with Pinks Whoopers and big divers, perfecto mondo as the Fonzie would say

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 19th November 07.05-09.30 WSW 2 cloud 4/8

Black h Gull 28n 131s
Common Gull 17n 30s
Red th Diver 14n 14s
Whooper Swan 1n 31s
Eider 4n 5s
Common Scoter 18n 7s
Turnstone 2s
Great Northern Diver 2n 2s
Pink footed Goose 16n 170s

Redshank 6n 7s
Cormorant 1n 11s
Sanderling 1s
Porpoise 2n
Shag 9s
Greylag Goose 2s

Friday, 18 November 2016


Great Northern Diver and 2 Sandwich Terns passed Whitburn Obs by 10.05 this morning. Stoney was in the house and we enjoyed another fantastic winter sea watch very similar to yesterdays in fact ditto.
The Sandwich Terns Rob called were the third latest ever recorded at Whitburn Obs.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 18th October 07.05-10.05 W1-2 cloud 6/8

Black h Gull 51n 140s
Common Gull 28n 10s
Red th Diver 6n 18s
Curlew 5n 95s
Golden Plover 248n 172s
Cormorant 1n 6s
Shag 17s
Eider 4n 3s
Common Scoter 31n 1s
Redshank 5n 26s
Brent Goose 7 still
Turnstone 14n 9s
Long tailed Duck 1n
Sandwich Tern 2n
Wigeon 1n
Whooper Swan 5s
Pink footed Goose 160s
Great northern Diver 1s

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Winter warmers.......

2 Great northern Divers and a Pom Skua went south past Whitburn Obs by 10.15 this morning. It was brass monkey weather in the obs this morning, Stoney was in the house and for the first time this year it had a real winter feel. The quality of the winter birds warmed our cockles with Pinks and Whoopers on the move.
We left Hoggie and Walter shivering to save ourselves for another day after an enjoyable watch. This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 17th November 07.05-10.15 SW3-4 cloud 4/8

Common Gull 5n 68s
Dunlin 16n
Black h Gull 14n 44s
Red th Diver 8n 9s
Cormarant 4n 8s
Shag 1n 17s
Turnstone 3n 1s
Common Scoter 12s
Long tailed Duck 1n
Teal 2s
Brent Goose 7 pb still in obs field
Pink footed Goose 355s
Whooper Swan 17s
Pom Skua 1s
Great northern Diver 2s
Grey Heron 1s
Golden Plover 290s
Scan Herring Gulls 4s
Redshank 3n 2s
Curlew 1n 1s

Monday, 14 November 2016


Glaucous Gull and two Long tailed Ducks passed Whitburn obs early morning. Stoney was in the house and we were joined by Stevie Makem but he had already missed the bird of the watch. A very close in Glaucous Gull went south, another juv but hard to say if it was the same bird as the other day which is featured in the attached video. We kept up the Long tailed Duck run with our 13th consecutive day sighting
Half decent cloud cover and a southerly wind should have been enough to keep us in the obs but the lack of wind strength meant that little was moving so we finished early and will be back tomorrow. Sir Ian arrived as we were leaving and i said to the guys he can have anything he wants except Albert Ross, you know Ian more jam than Hartley's.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 14th November 07.05-09.30 S1-2 cloud 6/8 calm sea

Common Eider 5n 11s
Black h Gull 17n 53s
Common Gull 6s
Glaucous Gull 1s juv 07.23
Rock Pipit 1s
Cormorant 1n 4s
Porpoise 5 (we saw two adults with young and a separate adult)
Red th Diver 21n 25s
Common Scoter 5n 9s
Long tailed Duck 2n
Curlew 3n 2s
Teal 30n 1s
Redshank 1s
Shelduck 1n
Fulmar 1s
Brent Goose 7 still in obs field
Goldeneye 2n
Med Gull 1s ad
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Lapwing 11s
Shag 1s
Siskin 1s

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Arc of a Diver......

2 Great northern and 66 Red throated Divers passed Whitburn Obs by 10 o'clock this morning. The front row was full with the usual suspects but we were unlucky not to have the cloud cover or birds of the previous day. Still we made the most of it and its not every sea watch you get 2 Snow Buntings flying over calling. Long tailed Ducks continue to be a feature and today's bird was the 12th consecutive day we have recorded one, wonder if we will get one tomorrow

It turned into the Red throated Diver show today and a new record passage for the year has already been achieved with 3162 birds. The previous best was 2975 in 2014. You may have noticed I've started to include a short video on some of my blogs, just to mention they will not always be of the birds seen that day but may be from my archive. They will always be my videos and as it happens today's is of birds seen today. I'm sure that when Steve Winwood wrote Arc of a Diver he was thinking about the profile of a Red throat....well maybe not

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 13th November 06.55-10.00 WNW2 cloud 4/8 at best

Common Gull 23n 21s
Black h Gull 68n 85s
Red throated Diver 16n 50s

Cormorant 5n 4s
Grey Heron 1n 1s
Eider 8n 6s
Shag 7s
Snow Bunting 2n
Song Thrush 1
Redshank 6n 3s
Goosander 4n
Lapland Bunting 1 in obs field again
Med Gull 1n ad
Common Scoter 12n 8s
Meadow Pipit 18 in off
Wigeon 3n
Pied Wagtail 1s
Curlew 1s
Teal 61s
Long tailed Duck 1n
Scan Herring Gull 1n
Fulmar 2n 1s
Great northern Diver 1n 1s
Turnstone 1n 2s
Coal Tit 1
Scaup 1n

Saturday, 12 November 2016

When they were up they were up.....

Arctic Tern and Jack Snipe passed Whitburn Obs on an exciting sea watch this morning. Stevie Makem was in and he usually times it right so along with Saint Mark we enjoyed a real good mix up, 
Stoney was in the house. It was like the Grand Old Duke of York nursery rhyme trying to direct folk onto the incoming migrants some times they were up then they were down and sometimes...

On a nothing wind with no expectations we were all royally entertained, loads of ducks a few waders and lots coming in off,  Stevie Thunder would have loved it. Sergent Wilson joined us late on and kept his eye on the normal passing birds as we tracked down the in offs
It all fell apart when news of a Yellow browed came through from Adam Ant as we all bailed out just in case...

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 12th November 06.55-11.25 S2-3 cloud 8/8

Common Gull 2n 32s
GBBGull 435s
Black h Gull 11n 33s
Cormorant 6n 8s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Common Eider 28n 4s
Goldeneye 2n 3s
Teal 19n 226s
Snipe 1s
Starling 17 in off
Pintail 1s
Shelduck 27n 22s (beating the previous best November day count of 30)
Red th Diver 7n 21s
Common Scoter 16n 2s
Fieldfare 22 in off
Red br Merganser 1n 3s
Redwing 8 in off
Wigeon 7n 16s
Curlew 2n 2s
Redshank 7s
Mallard 3s
Brent Goose pb 7 into obs field
Lapwing 3 in off
Long tailed Duck 3n
Bar tailed Godwit 4s
Knot 4s
Pochard 3s
Shag 1s
Golden Plover 1n
Tufted Duck 8s
Bunting sp 2 in off
Woodcock 2 in off
Jack Snipe 1s
Arctic Tern 1s
Dunlin 6s
Skylark 1 in off
Grey Heron 1s
Turnstone 1n
Brent Goose 1n db

Friday, 11 November 2016

Bad light stops play....

9 Little Gulls and a Long tailed Duck passed Whitburn by 10.00 this morning. It was an early finish for Stoney, Distant Dave and myself as the light was crap...
The best birds have both been regulars in recent weeks Long tailed Duck and Little Gull, a nice bit of quality. Still a good collection of ducks are passing but birds are scarce in the westerlies we are enjoying?
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 11th November 06.55-10.00 W1-2 cloud 1/8

Black h Gull 16n 10s
Shelduck 5n
Common Gull 7n 22s
Common Scoter 7n 11s
Red th Diver 12n 17s
Teal 1s
Eider 12n
Shearwater sp 1n manx or balearic we couldn't nail it
Fulmar 9n
Mallard 1n 1s
Goldeneye 4n
Pintail 1n
Wigeon 5n 4s
Manx Shearwater 1n
Cormorant 1s
Dunlin 4n
Brent Goose pb 7 in obs field
Brent Goose db 2n
Turnstone 1n
Knot 14n
Shag 1n 27s
Little Gull 6n 3s
Long tailed Duck 1n
Grey Wagtail 1s

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Bog standard sea watch.....

2 Velvet Scoter passed Whitburn Obs by 10.30 and the Brent Geese were still in the obs field. Its very much after the Lord Mayor's show now with bog standard winter birding. A few decent ducks were about but it was cold and quiet. Stoney was in the house and Distant Dave sent me a Lapland Bunting that was flushed out of the obs field a couple of times by an elusive raptor. That brings my Obs list for the year to 185....cant be many more ticks surely....
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 10th November 06.55-10.30 WSW2 cloud 4/8

Sparrowhawk 1s
Common Gull 11n 29s
Black h Gull 50n 43s
Common Eider 12n 5s
Red th Diver 11n 8s
Cormorant 5n 11s
Brent Goose pb 7 flew into obs field
Porpoise 1s
Fulmar 1n
Common Scoter 10n 1s
Dunlin 8n
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Lapland Bunting 1 in Obs field

Turnstone 2n 11s
Shag 1n 13s
Curlew 1n
Red br Merganser 1n
Velvet Scoter 2n
Goosander 1n

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Rain stopped play.....

Black throated Diver and 6 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 10.45 this morning. Stoney was in the house and from the off we were surprised at the variety of ducks moving but as the rain got heavier the birds dried up. Distant Dave turned up as the rain stopped but the hoped for rush of birds never happened it was a case of rain stopped play
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 9th November 06.55-10.45 WSW1-2 cloud 8/8 rain

Black h Gull 14n 44s
Common Gulkl 4n 15s
Teal 65n
Common Eider 16n 3s
Goldeneye 4n
Little Gull 5n 1s
Tufted Duck 1n
Red th Diver 17n 2s
Common Scoter 38n 4s
Wigeon 61n
Fieldfare 1 in off
Black th Diver 1n winter plum
Fulmar 1n 4s
Shelduck 7n
Dunlin 2n
Bar t Godwit 1s
Starling 16 in off
Goosander 1n
Brent Goose 7 in obs field still

Rock Pipit 1s
Velvet Scoter 4n
Redshank 1n
Porpoise 2s
Cormorant 1n 1s
Pintail 1n
Greylag Goose 1s
Long tailed Duck 1n
Shag 1s

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

DUCKS R US........

King Eider, Cory's Shearwater and a Shorelark went north past Whitburn Obs by 1pm today. Can you adam and eve it and not an Obs year tick amongst them. Stoney was already in the Obs when i arrived after a late night at the Sage watching Ian Hunter. It soon filled up with the Tuesday crab sandwich brigade and Distant Dave came in as well instead of kicking bushes and doing his vismig.

Things started quietly as they do this time of year when Rob called a Cory's Shearwater going distantly north. Pink Floyd managed to get on it for his first lifer of the day it took me awhile was it the rough sea or Robs instructions...its the latest ever recorded from the Obs September being the previous latest recorded. Long Nab Birder had seen a possible the day before and had given us the heads up but who could have imagined...

It some became obvious that it was a 'duck day' as a good variety and good numbers started going north on not a very strong wind. Eider began to move and Keith Mc called a distant line of 8 going north, just as they were coming up to straight out Distant Dave called the king of ducks. We could not believe our luck and for me it was the second in weeks, 'it was just beyond belief '. The birds were distant but it looked very similar to our bird of the 23rd October and it is the third record for County Durham and Pink Floyds second lifer of the day

We didn't want to leave and ducks were moving till the end but all things must come to an end and i will be back tomorrow.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 8th November 07.00-13.00 NW2 cloud 6/8

Snipe 5n
Red th Diver 22n 23s
Common Eider 191n 5s
Common Gull 60n 4s
Black h Gull 52n 44s
Common Scoter 124n 2s
Goldeneye 20n 4s
Sanderling 25n
Teal 141n
Turnstone 6n 6s
Wigeon 335n
Curlew 1n
Mallard 36n 2s
Redshank 6n
Long tailed Duck 9n
Cormorant 2n 31s
Whooper Swan 4n 16s
Dunlin 11n
Goosander 1n 4s
Scan Herring Gull 1n
Fulmar 5n
Cory's Shearwater 1n 08.28
Great northern Diver 1n
Shelduck 4n
Brent Goose pb 7 in obs field
Bar tailed Godwit 1n
Snow Bunting 3 in off
Shag 10n 39s
Goose sp 8s
Pintail 3n
Red br Merganser 4n
King Eider 1n dr 11.03
Starling 7 in off
Tufted Duck 9n
Shorelark 1n in off

Monday, 7 November 2016

Shag fest......

Black throated Diver and Iceland Gull went north past Whitburn Obs by midday along with another huge supporting cast. Its never easy keeping a log with the obs full and loads of birds passing, it was the same today with 14 species of wildfowl, waders and gulls and the odd diver and skua.
I called the first Iceland Gull of the season when a juv went north close inshore, great to have this quality bird back in the pack. We see Shag regularly but what a lot of Shags we got today a true fest...
Long tailed Ducks deserve a mention today's birds broke the previous best years total of 110 seen in 1990, and still a few week's to go this year
This is what we saw today in order of appearance

Monday 7th November 06.50-12.00 NW3 cloud 7/8

Common Gull 56n 12s
Black h Gull 46n 27s
Gannet 65n
Guillemot 1594n
Wigeon 79n 1s
Red th Diver 22n 10s
Fulmar 19n 1s
Common Scoter 113n 5s
Grey Plover 2n
Eider 22n 1s
Dunlin 54n
Long tailed Duck 13n 2s
Cormorant 6n 13s
Scan Herring Gull 3n
Goldeneye 14n 8s
Pom Skua 1n
Bonxie 5n
Mallard 27n 1s
Sanderling 7n 20s
Pink footed Goose 148n
Red br Merganser 1n
Velvet Scoter 1n 1s
Fieldfare 2 in off
Teal 29n 5s
Turnstone 5n 9s
Shag 5n 67s
Black th Diver 1n 08.20
Brent Goose 7pb south and in obs field again
Peregrine 1s male
Short eared Owl 2 in off 08.40 and 09.05
Snipe 1n
Woodcock 1 in off
Iceland Gull 1n juv
Bar tailed Godwit 3n
Great northern Diver 6n
Med Gull 1s ad
Redshank 1n
Sooty Shearwater 2n
Grey Wagtail 1n
Tufted Duck 3n
Little Auk 4n
Pochard 2n
Sanderling 7n 20s
Curlew 2n
Goosander 1s

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Shear Surprise.......

5 Little Auks and 37 Bonxies passed Whitburn Obs by midday, but it was the Shearwaters that surprised with new November day records and the Sooty's in particular with the previous best of 8 destroyed by this mornings 67
The Obs was nearly full everyone hoping for Little Auks galore but they haven't got going yet, the supporting cast was impressive with the Great Northern Divers and Bonxies being particularly memorable
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 6th November 06.25-12.00 NNE6 cloud 8/8 rain at times

Common Gull 52n 1s
Scan Herring Gull 23n
Black h Gull 47n 12s
Eider b12n
Red th Diver 15n 15s
Common Scoter 96n 91s
Goldeneye 24n 3s
Fulmar 11n
Long tailed Duck 20n 2s
Teal 10n 30s
Turnstone 2n
Red br Merganser 1n
Wigeon 62n 14s
Mallard 14n 1s
Black th Diver 1n
Redshank 2n 4s
Sooty Shearwater 67n
Shoveler 2n
Porpoise 1
Little Auk 5n
Brent Goose 7 pb in obs field
Great n Diver 6n
Bonxie 37n
Manxie 11n
Cormorant 1n
Shag 1s
Arctic Skua 8n
Black Guillemot 1n 09.34
Little Gull 9n
Med Gull 2s ads
Grey Plover 1n
Sanderling 2n
Pom Skua 4n
Golden Plover 1s
Tufted Duck 3s
Barnacle Goose 1s
GBBGull 480n

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Better late than never....

Little Auk and 12 Pom Skuas passed Whitburn Obs by 11.30 this morning. Magic and Saint Mark joined me to witness the welcome return of Boy Wonder and even Hoggie was in early. For the first year in many i didn't see Glaucous Gull in January so it was a case better late than never and we got one each way. Video of the Glauc will follow but i will have to brush up on my editing skills to beat the slow mo video from Seaton Sluice. The Obs year list ticked over onto 184...
Fantastic stormy seas on a canny northerly what more could a sea watcher want, this is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 5th November 06.35-11.00 N5-6 cloud 6/8 some rain

Common Gull 65n 4s
Common Scoter 72n 138s
Fulmar 3n 1s
Eider 7n 2s
Sooty Shearwater 7n
Red th Diver 7n 11s
Mallard 2n
Turnstone 15n
Scan Herring Gull 3n
Black h Gull 78n 3s
Shag 1n 1s
Long tailed Duck 5n 4s
Brent Goose pb 1s 7 in obs field
Bonxie 10s
Wigeon 68n 3s
Glaucous Gull juv 1n 08.00 1s 09.20
Velvet Scoter 2n 1s
Teal 14n 2s
Pom Skua 12s flocks of 5 and 7
Redshank 2n 2s
Purple Sandpiper 1n
Goldeneye 11n
Med Gull ad 1n 2s
Cormorant 3n
Red br Merganser 1n
Little Auk 1n
Curlew 2n

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Yo ho ho.........

2 Little Auks and 7 Long tailed Ducks passed Whitburn Obs by 11.30 this morning. Its often a good duck day after a northerly when it blows south west and that's what we got today. As soon as i sat down i could see Long tailed Duck and Goldeneye on the sea in front of the Obs and it wasn't long before i had my first Woodcock and Thrushes in off. It was going to be an exciting day. Stevie Makem and Chivs arrived Stoney was in the house as the ducks started to move high up, low down, close in , distant...a classic duck day. One of the many fishing boats on the horizon resembled a pirate ship, and it wasn't long before the cry of Long tailed Duck north under the pirate ship went up...shiver me timbers

Stevie called the small Auk which we soon id'd as Little Auk a fantastic close in fly by for the first of the season, we saw one more and probably missed a few as we patrolled the sky for ducks. It was upsetting to see Thrushes coming in off being caught and eaten by Greater black backs but we persisted as Waxwings were being recorded all up our coast and we were getting everything but. More observers arrived to make it a good crowd for the third day in a row. Eventually Stoney called two Waxwings as they came in off with a Blackbird phew...tho one observer who had called them as three Blackbirds said he would not tick them as 'ahh they could have been owt'

A great sea watch and this is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 3rd November 06.50-11.30 SW2 cloud 8/8

Common Scoter 188n 37s
Black h Gull 39n 75s
Common Gull 15n 18s
Woodcock 5 in off
Curlew 1n
Eider 5n 5s
Dunlin 23n
Brent Goose 11n pb 6s db (the 11 north includes the birds that were in the obs field)
Goldeneye 40n 11s
Long tailed Duck 7n
Cormorant 2n 4s
Red th Diver 28n 22s
Blackbird 10 in off
Wigeon 242n 2s
Little Auk 2n
Red br Merganser 6n
Teal 324n
Turnstone 2n
Redshank 1n
Peregrine 1s
Mallard 40n 8s
Starling 22 in off
Bottlenose Dolphin 2n 08.30
Shag 1n 4s
Porpoise 1n 1s
Fieldfare 30 in off
Redwing 13 in off
Snow Bunting 1 in off
Goosander 4s
Whooper Swan 19s including 3 juvs
Grey Heron 3n
Shelduck 1n
Waxwing 2 in off
Skylark 4 in off

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Whitburn Menagerie.....

2 Black throated, 2 Great northern and 89 Red throated Divers passed Whitburn Obs by 11 o'clock this morning. Magic Mark joined me from first light and we had another full house minus the actual crab sandwiches and Stoney was in the house. Over the last two days we have seen a menagerie of birds, and what a collection with nearly 50 species being seen. This included 3 species of each of both Divers and Skua's, 18 species of wildfowl and 5 of raptors. Add in the winter speciality birds like Shorelark Snow Bunting and Waxwing and why would you want to go anywhere else.
We had word from our friends at Long Nab of a probable GW Egret coming north but i had to head at eleven today so i hope the guys still watching get it. I dipped the Waxwing but maybe tomorrow...
This is what we saw today in order of appearance

Wednesday 2nd November 06.40-11.00 NW2 cloud 4/8

Eider 3n 7s
Common Gull 31n 59s
Black h Gull 82n 101s
Goldeneye 81n 5s
Red th Diver 13n 76s
Woodcock 1s
Red br Merganser 1n
Cormorant 5n 26s
Common Scoter 35n 11s
Shag 1n 6s
Merlin 1n female
Curlew 3n 1s
Tufted Duck 4n 4s
Goosander 1n 10s
Sandwich Tern 1s
Brent Goose 1s pb
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Pochard 1n
Med Gull 1s
Black th Diver 2s winter plumage birds
Mallard 7n
Great n Diver 1n 1s
Bonxie 20s
Long tailed Duck 8n (5dr)
Pink footed Goose 1n
Pom Skua 1s
Sooty Shearwater 1n
Kestrel 1n
Peregrine 1n male
Velvet Scoter 3n 1s
Goldeneye 81n 5s
Manxie 1n
Wigeon 22n
Redshank 1s
Mute Swan 1s
Snow Bunting 1n
Waxwing 1s

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Full house......

6 Great northern and 60 Red throated Divers passed Whitburn Obs by mid day. It was a full house with the number of species we saw and it was a full house. Magic Mark and myself were in from first light joined by the crab sandwich brigade a couple of stragglers and Stoney was in the house, almost standing room only. We saw a vast array of birds, Shore Larks and Buzzards included and all the winter ducks a birder could want...almost.

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 1st November 06.40-12.00 N2 cloud 8/8 then 3/8 at the end

Common Gull 37n 17s
Common Scoter 113n 47s
Black h Gull 30n 39s
Gannet 346n
Grey Heron 4n 1s
Eider 1n 3s
Scan Herring Gull 6n
Shag 1n 2s
Goldeneye 10n 2s
Whooper Swan 2n 65s
Red th Diver 12n 48s
Bonxie 6n 1s
Cormorant 4n 2s
Snow Bunting 5n
Curlew 1n 1s
Shelduck 1n
Wigeon 14n 5s
Scaup 9n (4dr)
Fulmar  1n
Great northern Diver 2n 4s
Mallard 1n 1s
Tufted Duck 3n 1s
Shorelark 2n
Arctic Skua 1s
Skylark 1n
Velvet Scoter 3n 4s
Teal 1n
Pom Skua 2s
Common Buzzard 2n
Long tailed Duck 1n
Brent Goose1n pb
Pintail 1n

Monday, 31 October 2016

Loony tunes......

Black throated Diver and 3 Velvet Scoters passed Whitburn Obs by 10.00 this morning. From the start of the watch Common Scoter were heading north, 3 Velvets went through close in as well but no Surfer...yet. Star bird was a moulting adult Black throated Diver supported by some nice close Red throats some calling/singing
The light became poor with bright sun and distant mist so i bailed out, 90 Pink feet went south as i got in my car, i was nearly  tempted to go back but....tomorrow

Monday 31st October 06.40-10.00 W1-2 cloud 6/8 some mist

Black h Gull 12n 83s
Common Gull 14n 24s
Common Scoter 517n
Cormorant 1n 8s
Red th Diver 12n 9s
Tufted Duck 1n
Blackbird 3 in/off
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Eider 2s
Brent Goose 1s pb
Shag 3s
Grey Wagtail 1s
Curlew 6n 1s
Goldeneye 2n
Goosander 1n 1s
Black th Diver 1n 08.22 moulting adult
Teal 4n
Turnstone 5n
Velvet Scoter 3n 1 ad and 2 not all drakes
Redshank 1s
Pink footed Goose 90s

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Faster than a speeding bullet......

2 Great northern Divers and 4 Long tailed Ducks passed Whitburn Obs by 10 o'clock this morning. Magic and Saint Mark joined me and we filled our boots with birds. Another 2000 plus Pinks south bringing our total this autumn to over 10,000 and a high class supporting act. Magic Mark was giving directions for me to get on another group of Little Gulls heading south, just in the wake of that speed boat he said, I got on them and was amazed as they overtook the boat. Just like Superman...faster than a speeding bullet
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 30th October 06.30-10.00 W1-2 cloud 8/8

Common Gull 29n 15s
Common Scoter 44n 8s
Black h Gull 64n 27s
Red th Diver 13n 10s
Cormorant 2n 18s
Eider 6n
Turnstone 1n 11s
Shag 1n 18s
Curlew 4n 1s
Porpoise 1n
Little Gull 31s
Redshank 2s
Long tailed Duck 4n
Bonxie 3n
Pink footed Goose 2110n
Grey Wagtail 1n 4s
Fulmar 1n
Goldeneye 1n
Sparrowhawk 1s
Great n Diver 1n juv landed on sea in front of obs 1s ad
Whooper Swan 3s
Sandwich Tern 1n
Wigeon 2s
Starling 10 in off
Grey Heron 2n

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Mellow Yellow.......

24 Whooper Swans and 1980 Pink feet passed Whitburn Obs by 11am. Stevie Thunder called 2 Yellowhammers south an Obs MEGA and a year tick, it left me feeling very mellow cheers Steve.
A flock of 42 Whoopers were reported coming south by @Elliottatchev but sadly we didn't connect but thanks for the heads up. We did get a few though and along with the Geese gave the watch a winter feel
We all headed off for more views of the Daurian Shrike and another 160 Pinks flew south over the Leas
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 29th October 07.35-11.00 SW1-2 cloud 6/8

Black h Gull 17n 80s
Common Gull 7n 34s
Eider 4n 2s
Common Scoter 31n 7s
Cormorant 8s
Red th Diver 19n 16s
Redpoll 3s
Whooper Swan 24s
Curlew 4n 1s
Redshank 1n 2s
Porpoise 1n
Little Gull 4s 2ads
Tufted Duck 3n 1s
Mallard 1n
Velvet Scoter 1s
Pink footed Goose 1980s
Shag 17s
Goosander 1s
Yellow Hammer 2s
Skylark 2s
Goldeneye 2n 2s
Grey Heron 1s
Golden Plover 75s
Whimbrel 1n

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Beanz meanze geeze.....

2 Bean Geese went south past Whitburn Obs yesterday morning and the goose theme continued today with Pinks and Canada's south. Its been a quiet couple of days but we had a few more birds of note today after yesterdays no blog. Hoggie and co joined me late on and he called a cracking Long tailed Duck, then as i was about to leave the Pink feet started to move. I hope they got lots more than the 2 skeins i saw but it was sea watch over for me and back tomorrow eyes rested and fully refreshed
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 27th October 07.30-10.30 SW1-2 cloud 7/8

Common Gull 4n 37s
Black h Gull 25n 76s
Siskin 1s
Red th Diver 4n 12s
Eider 11n 11s
Teal 1s
Shag 1s
Little Gull 2n
Curlew 1n 1s
Common Scoter 8n 5s
Redshank 2n 3s
Turnstone 1n 1s
Grey Heron 1s
Canada Goose 14s
Cormorant 2n 1s
Red br Merganser 2n
Redpoll 2s
Bonxie 1n
Long t Duck 1n dr
Fieldfare 1 in off
Wigeon 1n
Pink footed Goose 133s

Monday, 24 October 2016

A little bit of what you fancy....

275 Little Gulls and some quality Ducks passed Whitburn Obs by 11.20 today. I was joined by Ian a blogger fan who travelled far to sample the obs experience, Hoggie and the newly retired Peter Bell who has yet to be christened with a printable blog name
Things started very quiet then i noticed a few very distant Little Gulls, i fancied a few more and the swarm arrived circling above the incoming Ferry. More were on the sea put up from time to time but never counted and thankfully 20 or so showed really well going north close in
A Drake Scaup and 2 Velvets were memorable  near the end of the watch ensuring i will be back for more tomorrow
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 24th October 07.20-11.20 NE2 cloud 6/8

Common Gull 118n 8s
Black h Gull 112n 12s
Red th Diver 9n 6s
Eider 24n 2s
Curlew 2n
Wigeon 50n
Fulmar 1n 1s
Shag 6n 1s
Common Scoter 6n 1s
Manxie 1n
Little Gull 275n
Bar t Godwit 1n
Bonxie 4n 6s
Arctic Skua 2n 1s
Porpoise 1
Teal 9n
Skylark 2n
Tufted Duck 1s
Scaup 1n cracking close in drake
Velvet Scoter 2s drks

Sunday, 23 October 2016

One Hundred and Eighty.......

King Eider and a Pom Skua passed Whitburn Obs by 11.30 this morning. Magic Mark called the King Eider as it went north close inshore. Its a County Durham MEGA being only the second ever recorded, the first being in July 98. Six were in the obs to see this most royal of ducks. Well done Mark. It also brought my Obs year list to 180 species and still two months to go, it may be a struggle next year to better 2016's total

It was a quieter day as the North Easterly continued, and a little stronger than yesterday but the birds had dried up somewhat until the King went north
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 23rd October 07.20-11.30 NE3 cloud 8/8

Common Gull 46n 13s
Guillemot 1680n
Razorbill 1n
Black h Gull 56n 7s
Red th Diver15n 10s
Common Scoter 35n 4s
Tufted Duck 1n
Common Eider 15n
Manxie 3n
Bonxie 7n 5s
King Eider 1n 08.30 dr
Great n Diver 2s
Wigeon 1n
Goldeneye 1s
Shag 2n
Teal 3s
Pom Skua 1n ad
Cormorant 1n
Red br Merganser 1s
Dunlin 1n

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The long and the short of it.....

5 Long tailed Ducks and 4 Scaup passed Whitburn Obs by 11 this morning. Saint Mark joined me and we were surprised at the lack of observers for such a cracking sea watch. The Long-tailed Ducks were the stars of the show in perfect light. The Balearic was a close second, so dark it could have been a Sooty. Auk movement was up but no Terns today and another Long tailed Skua. Beat that in County Durham today if you can
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 22nd October 07.20-11.00 NE2-3 cloud 7/8

Common Gull 69n 11s
Black h Gull 128n 12s
Guillemot 1960n
Razorbill 3n 1s
Tufted Duck 1n
Wigeon 76n 17s
Common Scoter 134n 17s
Red th Diver 15n 10s
Fulmar 2n
Eider 15n
Grey Wagtail 2s
Long tailed Duck 3n 2s all drakes
Puffin 2n
Sooty Shearwater 2n
Bonxie 8n
Balearic Shearwater 1n 08.56
Red br Merganser 1s
Teal 6n 1s
Goldeneye 3n
Redshank 2n
Long t Skua 1n juv
Shag  2n 1s
Goosander 1s
Scaup 4n drakes
Little Gull 20n

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Swanning about.....

35 Whooper Swans and 2 Pom Skuas were the headline birds passed Whitburn Obs this morning. They were our first Whoopers of the autumn and a packed front row were all ooh's and ahh's as they give fantastic views. No Geese today but lots of birds to enjoy
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 20th October 07.20-11.45 N2 cloud 7/8

Black h Gull 71n 44s
Scan Herring Gull 6n 1s
Eider 9n 1s
Common Scoter 93n 24s
Basr t Godwit 1n
Curlew 2n
Red th Diver 10n 28s
Wigeon 81n
Bonxie 2n 5s
Redshank 1n 2s
Cormorant 4n 9s
Pom Skua 1n 1s
Teal 3n
Grey Wagtail 1s
Manxie 3n
Red br Merganser 3n
Sooty Shearwater 3n
Shag 1n 19s
Dunlin 15n
Black th Diver 1s
Shelduck 1s
Ringed Plover 12n
Arctic Skua 4n
Great n Diver 1n
Mallard 3s
Whooper Swan 35s (25 and 10)
Turnstone 2n
Long t Duck 1n
Fulmar 1n
Sandwich Tern 3s

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

North of the moon.......

Great northern Diver and a Med Gull passed Whitburn Obs by 11am this morning. A few Geese were moving but not yesterdays mass surge. Dave Foster was birding nearby and shouted in that some Pinks were going south inland i ran out to see them and asked directions, just north of the moon he said. Which was a bit strange as it was 10am but quite correct.
The morning had started very quiet and as yesterday it was only when Mr Goose himself  (Hoggie) sat down that we saw some magnificent Barnacles head south fairly close inshore
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 19th October 07.15-11.00 NW2-3 cloud 6/8

Grey Heron 1n 1s
Black h Gull 81n 44s
Common Gull 45n 37s
Eider 9n 8s
Cormorant 5n 46s majority were distant and migrating
Red th Diver 4n 19s
Shag 49s mainly distant migrating birds
Goosander 6s
Common Scoter 1s
Barnacle Goose 5n 48s
Goldeneye 4s
Great n Diver 1s
Pink footed Goose 58s
Curlew 1s
Med Gull 1s ad stunning views of this
Teal 13n
Skylark 6n

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Colour me Pink.......

Over 6000 Pink footed Geese went south past Whitburn Obs by 10.30 this morning. This is the highest ever count from the Obs, the change in weather broke the bottleneck. The morning started with good light but few birds and i was about to leave early as Hoggie and Walter arrived. As we looked through our scopes we began to see Pinks moving south with some large groups, they just kept coming and i have to say our final number was an underestimate. We had a quick look out the back of the obs at one point and saw 600 going south inland. It was a fantastic experience although only a few close skeins could be heard. Peter told me when after I left for my Hospital appointment they didn't have another one
The other event of the morning was a large Diver south. I called it as a Great northern but the views i got of its bill angle made me wonder, i could not see the colour well due to the light. I tweeted news in case anyone else further south got a better view

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 18th October 07.15-10.30 W2 cloud 4/8

Cormorant 3n 46s (some were distant and not from our colony)
Brent Goose pb 2n 2s
Common Gull 2n 62
Black h Gull 13n 141s
Eider 4s
Red th Diver 2n 6s
Puffin 1n
Common Scoter 5n 15s
Turnstone 2s
Porpoise 1
Curlew 2n
Pink footed Goose 6550s
Great northern Diver 1s
Siskin 8s
Shag 3n 8s
Barnacle Goose 2n
Meadow Pipits 100 plus s

Saturday, 15 October 2016

I should be so lucky, lucky........

2 Long-tailed Skuas and a Balearic Shearwater passed Whitburn Obs early morning before we moved outside to enjoy the vis mig. Magic Mark joined me and gave me a shout so i could get the Richards Pipit flying low down over my head. It is Obs year tick number 179, that's 10 more than last year already, we also had Brambling Siskins Snipe and loads of thrushes.
Then it was thanks to Saint Mark who drove me down for the Siberian Accentor with his dad. The journey for the Sibe was daunting and i did struggle with my currant mobility problems. The bird was not showing and people were leaving and heading off to look at the other birds on offer Sibe Chat, Pallas's, Dusky...
I managed to bump into Damian Money who found the Accentor to say hello as we do chat on social media tho we had never met before. This delayed our departure and i was walking behind a man and his dog when he saw and called the bird, i think it was Mark Askew so thanks guys
I should be so lucky lucky lucky, lucky

This is what we saw from the Obs in order of appearance

Saturday 15th October 07.05-10.30 E2

Black h Gull 27n 13s
Long-tailed Skua 2n
Common Gull 49n 8s
Red br Merganser 1s
Eider 1s
Teal 20n 1s
Curlew 1n
Red th Diver 7n 1s
Common Scoter 44n 2s
Dunlin 5n
Balearic Shearwater 1n 08.14
Arctic Skua 1n
Pintail 5n
Wigeon 25n
Woodcock 1 in off
Snipe 1s
Brambling 3 or 4
Siskin 3
Redwing 800
Owl sp 1
Richards Pipit 1s

Friday, 14 October 2016

Full winter plumage......

2 Long-tailed, 3 Pom and 14 Great Skuas continued yesterday afternoons superb Skua passage. Its back to full winter plumage in the obs as it gets a bit nippy first thing , i wore thermals gloves and scarf. I was joined by Magic Mark and we went about finding a few winter warmers. The light wasn't as good as yesterday afternoon at times and the Skuas more distant but it was a damn good watch. Later in the watch birds began to move south with Redwing in numbers. Unusual was the movement of Jackdaw we don't see many in front of the Obs, some stopped off in the Obs field but eventually they all went south
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 14th October 07.05-11.05 SE2-3 cloud 6/8
Common Gull 84n 16s
Black h Gull 20n 6s
Eider 4n 5s
Curlew 2n 1s
Shelduck 1s
Common Scoter 11n 61s
Bonxie 5n 9s
Wigeon 14n 23s
Pintail 3n 3s
Blue Fulmar 1n
Sandwich Tern 5s
Goldeneye 7s
Red th Diver 9n 6s
Sooty Shearwater 1n 3s
Arctic Skua 2n
Velvet Scoter 5n 1s
Long tailed Skua 2 juvs
Pom Skua 3n juvs
Little Gull 1s juv
Teal 3n 24s
Skylark 3s
Goosander 6s
Manxie 1n
Pochard 1s
Jackdaw 61s
Redwing 80s
Grey Wagtail 1s
Meadow Pipit 2n 8s
Brent Goose 1n db

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Poms, Sootys, Long Tails.....

8 Sootys 3 Long-tailed and 5 Pom Skuas passed Whitburn Obs in 4 Hours this afternoon. Saint Mark had to let his mum receive delivery of a pallet of turf, Magic Mark had to get off work early and i had to postpone a visit to a poorly granddaughter. It was all in a worthy cause as a Black-browed Albatross was reported as coming north past Filey. Sadly Albert did not arrive but we did enjoy a really fantastic sea watch with some great views of all 4 species of Skua plus supporting cast.
It certainly made up for the poor early morning passage
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 13th October 14.00-17.45

Manxie 3n
Arctic Skua 4n
Red th Diver 5n 1s
Knot 37n 25s
Goldeneye 4n 1s
Common Scoter 1s
Pom Skua 5n
Wigeon 10s
Long-tailed Skua 3n
Bonxie 2n 2s
Eider 10n 1s
Fulmar 1s
Sooty Shearwater 8n
Med Gull 1n ad
Arctic Tern 1n
The watch did start with Sir Ian and Hoggie but they abandoned ship when news came from Easington...not sure how they got on

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Big feet big.........

26 Sooty Shearwaters and 32 Bonxies passed Whitburn Obs by midday. Yesterdays sea watch was nothing special so with similar conditions but a stronger wind i didn't expect much. How wrong i was, the Sootys started to move and a few giving fantastic close views and then my first Bonxies north were a flock of 7...
Star bird was a Great northern Diver going north at just the right distance to enjoy it in perfect light, delicious.It had massive feet and as they say big feet big bird. The Tuesday gang were in and saw a few of the birds i called but missed both cracking Long tailed Ducks one very close in and both moving fast.
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 11th October 07.00-12.00 ENE3-4 cloud 8/8

Black h Gull 96n 8s
Common Gull 93n 10s
Gannet 597n
Sooty Shearwater 26n
Bonxie 28n 4s
Eider 10n
Red th Diver 13n 5s
Puffin 3n 1s
Wigeon 101n 12s
Pom Skua 2n (1 ad)
Little Gull 5n ads
Bar t Godwit 1n
Teal 8n
Pintail 2n
Manxie 6n 1s
Curlew 1n
Fulmar 1s
Arctic Skua 4n 2s
Arctic Tern 1n
Goosander 1s
Common Scoter 10n 2s
Long tailed Duck 2n drks
Great n Diver 1n still in sum plum ish
Med Gull 1n ad
Shag 1n

Sunday, 9 October 2016

You make me feel like dancing......

3 LEO's and a Brambling from Whitburn Obs today brought my Obs year list to an unbelievable 178. Could 180 be on the cards......with Glaucous Gull and Lap Bunt still needed and a few more besides.
Magic and Saint Mark joined me, Hoggie even came in earlier than usual. It was good light and the birds just kept coming, LEO's were on our mind,  no not Sayer the Owls. They seemed to be coming in up and down the east coast and we were due..

We got news of a LEO trapped and ran off to see it released (video later) ive never seen one in the hand before thanks Kieran, but it was from the Obs i needed one for my list
Mark had an Owl south yesterday while we looking at the Pallas's Warbler but its id was uncertain. Today he called 2 coming south high up but this time we nailed them as Long Eared, and a text from Sir Ian got us a 3rd out the back of the obs just as a Brambling flew past calling.....
Yes i could have danced with joy Leo....

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 9th October 06.55-11.35 NNE2 cloud 7/8

Common Gull 58n 33s
Red th Diver 6n 16s
Black h Gull 80n 46s
Common Scoter 38n 14s
Cormorant 3n 34s
Bonxie 5n 4s
Wigeon 39n 13s
Eider 2s
Sooty Shearwater 8n Manxie 5n 1s
Med Gull 2n 1s ads
Skylark 1 in/off
Fulmar 1n 1s
Brent Goose 1n db
Red br Merganser 2n
Balearic Shearwater 1s
Shoveler 1n
Redwing 21s
Goldeneye 1n 2s
Teal 3n 3s
Mallard 1n 3s
Redshank 7s
Sandwich Tern 1n
Snow Bunting 2n
Tufted Duck 1n 1s
Arctic Skua 1n 1s
Grey Heron 1s
Puffin 1s
Shag 1s
Pintail 1s
Knot 1n
LEOwl 2s 1w
Long tailed Duck 2n
Velvet Scoter 1n
Brambling 1s

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Snow is in the air......

Sooty Shearwater and 11 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 10 o'clock this morning. Magic and Saint Mark joined me , a rare occasion of late and we had an enjoyable watch in mostly good light. Star bird was a Snow Bunting i noticed sitting on the Obs wall in front of us, it posed nicely for photo's and was our first of the season
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 8th October ENE2 cloud 5/8

Black h Gull 22n 17s
Common Gull 10n 56s
Red th Diver 4n 17s
Wigeon 84n 1s
Brent Goose 2n 2s db
Grey Heron 1s
Eider 2s
Teal 3n 17s
Cormorant 5n 47s
Common Scoter 28n 4s
Med Gull 3s ads
Sooty Shearwater 1n
Goosander 1s
Manxie 4n
Velvet Scoter 1n
Bonxie 1n 4s
Little Gull 11n 6 ads
Snow Bunting 1 on wall
Common Tern 1n
Eider 1n 2s
Fulmar 2n 1s
Arctic Skua 3n
Stonechat 1
Peregrine 1n
Puffin 1n
Shag 2n 12s
Owl sp 1 in off
Barnacle Goose 150s
Blackcap 1 female type

Thursday, 6 October 2016

East wind blows no good....

127 Barnacle and 25 Brent Geese passed Whitburn Obs by 11am this morning. The old saying goes an East wind blows no good and i wasn't expecting much i have experience of sea watches on an easterly. I was pleasantly surprised at the number and variety that i did see but disappointed when the cloud lifted early on. I kept a sharp eye out for the Bonaparte's but no luck this morning, bet its still about tho

So if easterlies are no good we are in for another few great days like this over the weekend
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Thursday 6th October 06.45-11.00 E2 cloud6/8 then 2/8

Common Gull 77n 88s
Black h Gull 40n 65s
Teal 35n 17s
Wigeon 118n 85s
Red th Diver 6n 24s
Common Scoter 78n 10s
Eider 18n 3s
Brent Goose pb 22n
Med Gull 1s ad
Shag 3n 2s
Bonxie 4n 1s
Brent Goose db 3n
Arctic Skua 6n 2s
Fulmar 2s
Barnacle Goose 127s
Velvet Scoter 4n
Curlew 1n
Pintail 1n
Grey Heron 2s
Redshank 1s
Sky Lark 3 in off
Red br Merganser 1n
Long tailed Duck 1n

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

All the B's

Bonaparte's, Barnacles and Brents passed Whitburn Obs in over 10 hours today. The three B's and the Bonaparte's was the star. Hoggie and myself were in the obs this afternoon enjoying the Barnacle passage when Fos came in for a rest from birding the bushes. No sooner had he sat down and put his scope up when he leapt in the air shouting 'Bonapartes' and sure enough it was right under our noses dip feeding just beyond the surf. I had just got my camera onto my tripod when it headed off north fast and gone
Peter Bell arrived for some goose action and was a bit disappointed he had missed out, i said you never know it might come back and bloody hell a few minutes later i called it heading south close in. It came back for a third time and we were loving it. Video on Twitter later
The sea watching today includes over 10 hours of records and this is what was seen in order of appearance, sort of

Wednesday 5th October 06.45-16.50 SE 2-3 cloud 7/8 early on and 2/8 later
Black h Gull 63n 23s
Common Gull 249n 16s
Wigeon 631n 16s
Common Scoter 142n 3s
Velvet Scoter 3n
Curlew 5n 2s
Teal 159n 2s
Eider 26n 12s
Red th Diver 8n 3s
Little Gull 6n
Brent Goose 8n 2s pb 1n db
Shag 2s
Sandwich Tern 1n
Bonxie 2n
Puffin 6n
Manxie 3n
Pintail 3n
Arctic Skua 13n
Shelduck 2s
Barnacle Goose 212s
Pom Skua 3n 1 ad w/spoons
Pochard 2n
Sooty 1n
Long tailed Skua 2n juvs
Mallard 1n
Bonaparte's Gull 1n 14.57-15.00 then south 15.20-15.25 then nth/sth 15.55-16.00 hat trick
Shoveler 2n

Monday, 3 October 2016

Ducks in the mist....

2 Little and a Med Gull went south past Whitburn Obs early morning along with a load more Ducks.The Duck movement was the main feature as mist and bright sun made scope work hard work. Is it heat haze or cold haze when its 4 degrees...
A large Raptor going north low down was hard to nail in the haze and heavy swell but it was possibly an Osprey
I was joined by Steely the shrew who is not great company as he doesn't say a lot
It was an early finish for me today as my new Swaro ATX95 is being delivered today so lets hope they come early and i can go back for more, in the mean time Hoggie is counting the Ducks

Monday 3rd October 06.35-09.00 SW2 cloud 2/8 mist heavy swell

Common Gull 41n 26s
Black h Gull 141n 135s
Eider 20n 2s
Common Scoter 53n
Teal 149n 5s
Wigeon 248n
Red th Diver 5n 8s
Cormorant 6n 242s
Meadow Pipit 12n
Dunlin 3s
Curlew 3n 1s
Pintail 8n
Grey Heron 1s
Shag 1n 1s
07.45 large raptor north low down
Shrew x 1
Red Breasted Merganser 2n
Shoveler 4n
Little Gull 2s ad
Arctic Skua 1s
Fulmar 1s
Med Gull 1s
Manxie 6n

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Mile high club....

23 Little Gulls and 2 Bonxies passed Whitburn Obs by 10 this morning. Saint Mark was back from the jungle with tales of high speed car wrecks and kept the rest of us entertained with holiday snaps.A high flying bird turned out to be a Shag, someone commented the highest shag they had ever had...

Most exciting bird was a Tern going north that i said was flying oddly, but no one took any notice of me, too busy chattering,  by the time i insisted they check it out it was well north.  Ross got on it and mentioned a white rump because of the poor light i hadn't picked that up earlier but it did have a pale rump. He mentioned could it be a WWBT, well if it was one it got away.

The expected Pinks didn't happen and with the light deteriorating we left early, too early by the sound of it with Pinks and Swans moving later this morning

Saturday 1st October 06.35-10.00 SW1-2 then N1-2 cloud 3/8

Black h Gull 180n 279s
Common Gull 39n 24s
Eider 13n 30s
Common Scoter 20n 9s
Cormorant 21n 134s
Red th Diver 12n 22s
Curlew 4n
LBBGull 1n
Manxie 12n
Porpoise 5n
Little Gulls 15n 8s
Shag 2n 9s
Pink footed Goose 13s
Redshank 2s
Golden Plover 30s
Shelduck 2n
Brent Goose 1s
Mallard 1s
Swallow 2s
Fulmar 3n
Sandwich Tern 2n 1s
Bonxie 1n 1s
Common Tern 2n
Redpoll 20 plus north
Knot 4n

Friday, 30 September 2016

After the storm......

727 Pink feet went south past Whitburn Obs by 10.45 this morning. After yesterdays gale i was expecting a nice easy gentle sea chance it went mad
The Geese started moving from first light but sadly most were distant though one skein was overhead with the distinctive call,  always a joy to hear

An unexpected Jack Snipe went past close inshore and later a male Marsh Harrier so not quite the quiet day then, Sir Ian and Hoggie joined me late on and enjoyed the Harrier when i called it, a nice way to end the month.

This is what i saw in order of appearance

Friday 30th September 06.35- 10.45 SW1-2 then 2-3 cloud 6/8

Cormorant 23n 306s
Common Gull 24n 84s
Grey Heron 1n 2s
Pink footed Goose 33n 727s
Black h Gull 103n 251s
Eider 6n 5s
Common Scoter 2n 10s
Curlew 4n 1s
Red th Diver 2n 24s
Dunlin 1n 4s
Shag 2n 8s
Redshank 1s
Goosander 1n 1s
Med Gull 1s 2nd sum
Sandwich Tern 14s
Common Tern 3s
Knot 4n
Arctic Skua 2s
Jack Snipe 1s 08.37
Shelduck 2n
Arctic Tern 3n
Redpoll 1s
Marsh Harrier 1s male 09.40
Golden Plover 6s
Puffin 1n
Swallow 1n 6s
Meadow Pipit 150s
Skylark 1s
Brent Goose 1s pb
Grey Partrige 7 in obs field

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Shearwater pick and mix.....

Balearic, Sooty and Manx Sheawaters were all off Whitburn Obs today in a feeding flock which included Little Gulls. Sir Ian joined me today and i mentioned id seen a few Little Gulls in a distant feeding flock, he said he had seen a similar flock yesterday so we set about finding it. The feeding flock was distant and you needed the Hubble telescope to look at it, fortunately Ian had brought it he was trying out the 95mm Swarovski courtesy of Chipshop Steve.

He called  a Shearwater in the flock and on closer inspection we could see it was a Balearic. A Manxie was in the flock as well so when Hoggie arrived who needed Balearic he had to borrow the Hubble to nail it. A Sooty joined the flock and it was like a pic n mix even Wal had a dip

When unlucky Dave arrived we knew the fun was over so i headed off, 2 large Pipits flew south low over the Obs field toward the Range as i headed back to my car but i could not relocate them. The fields south of the obs had Skylarks and Pipits and need watching

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 27th September 06.30-10.15 S3-4 cloud 7/8

Cormorant 9n 265s
Common Gull 20n 25s
Grey Heron 1n 2s
Common Scoter 86n 20s
Black h Gull 4n 28s
Golden Plover 600 plus went south
GBBGull 115s
Curlew 12n 1s
Arctic Skua 6n 4s
Scan Herring Gull 3s
Teal 4n 1s
Redshank 13s
Shag 1s
Fulmar 1n
Little Gull 16s (7 ad) this is an under estimate as birds were moving south from the feeding flock often
Dunlin 3s
Red th Diver 3n 7s
Wigeon 14n 3s
Sooty Sheawater 3n
Puffin 3n
Manxie 1s
Balearic Shearwater 1s
Brent Goose 1n

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Sunday best.....

45 Little Gulls and 14 Arctic Skuas passed Whitburn Obs by 11 o'clock this morning. The light was good but the birds were slow to get going till after the rain had stopped. Its been great catching up with Magic Mark after his Californian adventure and good to have his long distance skills back.
I called the first 2 Little Gulls going south at a reasonable distance then Mark picked up the first of the distant birds going north high up. It was enjoyable with plenty of birds but no super star, Kits were moving and we could smell a Sabs...still would take this any day of the week
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 25th September 06.20-11.00 SW2 cloud 8/8 till late on

Black h Gull 66n 51s
Cormorant 11n 279s
Common Gull 46n 17s
Common Scoter 45n 12s
Grey Heron 1n 2s
Red th Diver 5n 25s
Curlew 1n 2s
Shag 5s
Eider 1n 7s
Tufted Duck 5n
Common Tern 35n 7s
Arctic Tern 8n
Little Gull 40n 5s
Bonxie 2n
Puffin 5n
Teal 31n 23s
Manxie 6n 19s
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Arctic Skua 13n 1s
Sandwich Tern 8n 2s
Yellow legged Gull 1s 1st w
Wigeon 1n 3s
Dunlin 34n 9s
Sanderling 7n
Turnstone 1n 3s
Ringed Plover 5n
Peregrine 1n
Sooty Shearwater 1n
Bar t Godwit 2n

Saturday, 24 September 2016

That's Magic......

3 Pom Skuas and 20 plus Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 10.15 today. Magic Mark is back from California and it didn't take him long to conjure up some birds, Rob who...
Strange morning really who nicked all of our ducks was going through my mind when 4 yes 4 Pochard went south, the rarest of Ducks these days. Mark called the Poms and distant Little Gulls and Hoggie joined the party. I left early but happy
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 24th September 06.20-10.15 S3 cloud 6/8 rough sea

Common Gull 5n 19s
Black h Gull 39n 147s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Teal 5n 8s
Curlew 2n 2s
Manxie 5n 12s
Eider 5n
Cormorant 12n 192s
Red th Diver 6n 6s
Common Scoter 8s
Shag 1n 2s
Arctic Tern 1n
Arctic Skua 1n 2s
Little Gull 12n 9s and at least 10 different birds feeding offshore
Pochard 4s
Common Tern 2n 3s
Pom Skua 3n (1 juv)
Sooty Shearwater 1n
Puffin 6n
Redshank 2n
Turnstone 1n
Greylag Goose 67s
09.05 2 Dolphin sp went south
Bonxie 1n
Peregrine 1s
Wigeon 10n

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Autumn equinox starts here....

Pom Skua and 18 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 09.30 today. Stoney was in the house for the last time before heading to the Scilly's for a month! he will be missed, the Birtley Bshop showed well for the first time this year and got a few year ticks
It was a good start to autumn migration with a bit of everyhing, not bad on a southerly

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 22nd September 06.20-09.30 S2-3 cloud 8/8 then 3/8 at the end

Common Gull 54n 19s
Teal 280n 4s
Wigeon 263n 7s
Shoveler 5n
Black h Gull 45n 88s
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Curlew 2s
Snipe 2n
Shag 6s
Common Scoter 128n 18s
Dunlin 21n
Brent Goose 3n db
Red th Diver 2n 15s
Eider 2n
Manxie 7n 10s
Redshank 3n 3s
Turnstone 5n
Pintail 1n 2s
Grey Heron 1n 2s
Sandwich Tern 8s
Little Gull 18n 2 ads
Puffin 2n
Arctic Skua 1n
Pom Skua 1n juv
Med Gull 1n juv
Bar t Godwit 3n
Ringed Plover 2n
Common Tern 1s
Porpoise 1

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

I see no ships........

Long tailed Skua 2 Sooty Shearwaters and a Velvet Scoter passed Whitburn Obs by 10.15 this morning. A large ship has been anchored on the horizon in front of the Obs for a couple of weeks now, it has been a valuable aid in getting birders onto birds. The Cory's and Great Shearwaters come to mind, i looked up this morning and said to Stoney 'i see no ships' alas is was gone,  i now know how Nelson felt.

The day started with a Red legged Partridge, a new Obs tick for me. It flew calling from the newly scoured stubble field into the nature reserve as i opened the obs door. It was my 170th Obs tick of the year setting a new record. This was later over taken when a Yellow browed Warbler was in the hedge by the obs before flying up the path towards Shearwater Estate, a canny day all told

This was what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 21st September 06.15-10.15 S2-3 cloud 8/8
Cormorant 14n 273s
Teal 72n 30s
Shag 7n 2s
Black h Gull 128n 59s
Common Gull 11n 11s
Wigeon 161n
Puffin 2n
Common Scoter 50n 10s
Red th Diver 7n 25s
Arctic Tern 17s
Dunlin 30n
Ringed Plover 2n
Long tailed Skua 1n ad 06.55
Turnstone 12n 5s
Sandwich Tern 9n 19s
Eider 9n
Velvet Scoter 1n
Shoveler 10n
Manxie 4n
Bar t Godwit 1n 3s
Redshank 23n 3s
Swallow 19s
Pintail 4n
Common Tern 2n
Sooty Shearwater 2n
Yellow browed Warbler 1w
Curlew 3n
Sanderling 7n
Arctic Skua 2n

Monday, 19 September 2016

A Lora Larus Gulls.......

7 Little, 609 Black headed and 59 Common Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 11.00 this morning. We had a fantastic movement of small gulls at Whitburn this morning in great light, a lora lora gulls. but i was disappointed  we couldn't find a Med amongst them. The ducks are still moving but less in a northerly

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 19th September NW 1-2 cloud 8/8

Common Gull 51n 8s
Black h Gull 544n 65s
Fulmar 15n
Common Scoter 79n 7s
Teal 357n 41s
Red th Diver 9n 31s
Arctic Skua 2s
Eider 1n 5s
Turnstone 14n 8s
Curlew 3n 3s
Redshank 6n 11s
Cormorant 24n 232s
Porpoise 4
Common Tern 5n
Manxie 20n 25s
Gannet 183n 73s
Rock Pipit 1n 1s
Sanderling 2n
Wigeon 180n 6s
Knot 10n
LBBGull 4n
Goosander 1n
Sandwich Tern 9s
Little Gull 7n (1 ad)
Pintail 1n
Red br Merganser 2n
Ringed Plover 1n 2s
Swallow 11n 4s
Grey Wagtail 5n
Wheatear 1n
Shag 4s
Shoveler 2n
Grey Heron 2n 1s
Bonxie 1s
Tufted Duck 1n
Sand Martin 2n
Dunlin 6n
House Martin 1n

Sunday, 18 September 2016

It's all about the Ducks no Sooty's......

944 Teal, 461 Wigeon and 279 Scoter passed Whitburn Obs by 10.15 this morning. Shearwaters were thin on the ground with only 2 Manxies until the last few minutes and no Sooty's or Great's.  It was all about the Ducks and we have had a fantastic passage n the last few days with a decent supporting cast of waders
This is what we saw n order of appearance

Sunday 18th September 06.10-10.15 SE1-2 cloud 0/8

Wigeon 461n
Teal 933n 11s
Common Scoter 279n
Black h Gull 135n 83s
Porpoise 3n 1s
Curlew 20n
Whimbrel 3n
Bar t Godwit 2n
Common Gull 9n 1s
Dunlin 51n
Knot 25n
Red th Diver 6n 30s
Sandwich Tern 3n 43s
Redshank 26n 3s
Shag 27s
Turnstone 3n 6s
Pintail 13n
Shoveler 6n
Manxie 22n 2s
Common Tern 19n 1s
Eider 3n 3s
Grey Wagtail 2s
Ringed Plover 1n
Mallard 1n
Sanderling 5n
Velvet Scoter 1n
Shelduck 3s
Arctic Tern 3n
Golden Plover 18n
Arctic Skua 1n 1s
Swallow 9n 2s
Sand Martin 18s
Ruff 1n
Tufted Duck 1n
LBBGull 2n
Puffin 6s

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Great Great sea watch...

2 Great, 283 Sooty and 648 Manx passed Whitburn Obs this afternoon. Yes it was a Great great sea watch as we managed to see both Great Shears sent to us by Flamborough (thanks guys) and thanks to Fos for calling them both. It has been a wonderful days sea watching and here are the results of this afternoons watch from the Whitburn jury in order of appearance

Saturday 17th September -19.00 NW2 then NE2
Bar tailed Godwit 1s
Grey Heron 2n
Common Scoter 48n
Common Tern 17n 5s
Sandwich Tern 3n 17s
Cormorant 32n 14s
Brent Goose 31n pb
Red th Diver 1n 30s
Sooty Shearwater 280n 3s
Black h Gull 52n 23s
Manx Shearwater 647n 1s
Pintail 13n
Wigeon 375n
Arctic Skua 7n 3s
Shoveler 2n
Teal 233n
Redshank 1n 1s
Arctic Tern 19n
Common Gull 2n 2s
Shag 1n
Dunlin 8n
Ringed Plover 10n
Sanderling 35n
Tufted Duck 1n 2s
Bonxie 1n 5s
Gadwall 3n
Great Shearwater 1n 14.05
Velvet Scoter 2n
Little Gull 3n 1st w
Goosander 2n
Great Shrearwater 1n 17.05 get in


2 Sooty Shearwaters and 26 Manxies passed Whitburn Obs by 10.15 today. An almost full obs was yet again treated to a fantastic sea watch with loads of birds seen. The light was great till 9ish when the sun broke through and changed things. A few year Lister's were in and they were disappointed as no headline birds so far today.....Great and Balearic may be on the way tho

For me the star birds were 9 Mute Swans that left me speechless. That equals the best ever day maximum past the obs, i guess you need to be a regular to realise just how scarce they are these days. I was writing the species list into the log book when i looked up and they were right in front of us close in at eye level....just how the front row managed to miss them i cant imagine

Just after i left a new record day passage of Pintail was logged, 20 beating the previous record of 19 set in 2011, not a bad day so far
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 17th September NW2 06.15-10.15 cloud 8/8 till 9ish then 3/8

Common Gull 26n 14s
Black h Gull 134n 116s
Shag 8n 29s
Cormorant 37n 411s
Gannet 254n 95s
Fulmar 27n
Common Scoter 30n 11s
Teal 353n 59s
Red th Diver 4n 28s
Goosander 5n
Curlew 12n
Grey Plover 3n
Manxie 26n
Wigeon 468n
Arctic Skua 3n 1s
Dunlin 26n
Sanderling 1n
Lapwing 1s
LBBGull 3n
Pintail 11n
Ruff 2n
Rock Pipit 1s
Siskin 1s
Grey Wagtail 4s
Tufted Duck 2n
Scan Herring Gull 1n
Meadow Pipit 17n
Turnstone 11n 1s
Grey Heron 2n 2s
Bonxie 8s
Golden Plover circa 1000n
Common Tern 21n 9s
Redshank 13n
Sandwich Tern 2n 9s
Arctic Tern 5n
Sooty Shearwater 2n
Wheatear 1
Puffin 1s
Alba Wagtail 2s
Knot 2n
Brent Goose 3n pb
Sand Martin 3n
Swallow 3n
Eider 2s
Mute Swan 9n