Sunday, 31 January 2016

Auk city.....

3 Puffins went north past Whitburn Obs this morning by 10.30 along with a general auk movement north. We didn't see much else of note but enjoyed the calm sea and good watching conditions
My Obs list ended up on 87 for January with today's Purple Sandpiper. Its up on the same time last year, only disappointment is no Glaucous Gull yet after a hat full at the end of last year
This is what we saw today in order of appearance

Sunday 31st January 07.30-10.30 SW2 cloud cover calm sea

Black h Gull 13n 34s
Common Gull 4n 86s
Red th Diver 11n 5s
Eider 3n 3s
Scan Herring Gull 2n 2s
Shag 1n 4s
Porpoise 1s
Golden Plover 168s
Kittiwake 3n 6s
Razorbill 19n 4s
Puffin 3n
Guillemot 219n
Cormorant 1s
Gannet 3n 3s
Common Scoter 4n 1s
Purple Sandpiper 2s

Saturday, 30 January 2016

After the storm...

4 Little Gulls and 31 Pink feet passed Whitburn Obs by 11am today. I was joined by Boy Wonder and Saint Mark and Hoggie. We had high hopes as often after a big blow the next day has birds moving back to where they got blasted from. Well that was the wasn't so bad really, this is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 30th January 07.30-11.00 WSW4-5 broken cloud

Black h Gull 11n 67s
Common Gull 1n 230s
Shag 7s
Porpoise 1n 2s
Eider 1n 3s
Goldeneye 1n
Cormorant 1n 8s
Red th Diver 9n 4s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Razorbill 2n 2s
Common Scoter 8n 5s
Pink footed Goose 31s
Kittiwake 3n 3s
Turnstone 2s
Gannet 1n
Canada Goose 1s
Golden Plover 3s
Little Gull 3n 1s
GBBGull 67s
Mallard 3n
Redshank 3n

Friday, 29 January 2016

Nice one Gerty....

A Raven in off was the only bird of note on this mornings sea watch. Gertrude looked wonderful but often its the day after the storm that matters. I picked up a large black raptor? fighting its way ashore, was it a Buzzard sp or a Harrier sp, it gave itself up as a Raven. A quality bird and a canny year tick
Sadly i was on my own and this is was i saw in order of appearance

Friday 29th January 07.40-10.35 SW6

Black h Gull 118s
Common Gull  205s
Shag 6s
Red th Diver 3s
Scan Herring Gull 6s
Cormorant 2s
Gannet 6s
Raven in off 08.40-08.45
Kittiwake 3n 1s

Monday, 25 January 2016

Things can only get better.......

A 1st winter Little Gull went south past Whitburn Obs today. For the third day in a row we were it was a poor watch, missing headline birds. No large Divers or quality ducks and my obs year list is becalmed, things can only get...... This is what i did manage today in order of appearance and the weekends sightings were similar to today.

Monday 25th January 07.45-10.10 S3 cloud cover

Common Gull 75s
Black h Gull 135s
Red th Diver 3n 7s
Shag 2n 6s
Cormorant 2n 5s
Wigeon 1s
Gannet 4s
Guillemot 2n 18s
Rock Pipit 1s
Golden Plover 222s
Curlew 1n 2s
Eider 6n
Grey Heron 1n
Kittiwake 2s
Little Gull 1s 1st w

Friday, 22 January 2016

You can't always get what you want.......

A single Little Auk went south past Whitburn by 11am but little else of note. The forecast rain thankfully didn't arrive and the brisk southerly encouraged birds to move. My target bird was Glaucous Gull i still haven't had one this year. Lots of large gulls were going south close inshore for the first hour but as the Stones said you cant always...
Hoggie joined me and this is what we saw

Friday 22nd January 07.50-11.00 S3 cloud cover
Common Gull 1n 133s
Black h Gull 156s
Red th Diver 3n 11s
Eider 10n 2s
Curlew 4n 5s
Shag 2n 3s
Cormorant 2n 2s
Common Scoter 4s
Guillemot 504s
Little Auk 1s
Scan Herring Gull 1s
Fulmar 103s
Razorbill 3s
Gannet 3s
Golden Plover 49s
Kittiwake 6s
Dunlin 2s
Rock Pipit 1s
Porpoise 1n

Monday, 18 January 2016

Birds to order....

Little Auk and 3 species of Diver passed Whitburn Obs by 10.45 today. I was joined by Gnome and later Hoggie. Gnome a fellow blogger from Oxford had contacted me a few days ago saying he was in the area and wanted advice on sea watching at the Obs. He needed Little Auk for a lifer, i explained his chances were very slim. Sure enough he found his way to the Obs this morning and although it was a bit quiet we managed a canny watch. Would you believe i picked up a Little Auk moving south fairly close inshore,  sadly neither of the guys could get on it before it dumped onto the sea , luckily i still had the bird in my scope and Knome was able to life tick it, birds to order or what
A flock of 10 Divers going north had a Black throat tagging along to complete our diver hat trick

This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 18th January 07.55-10.45 S2 cloud cover

Common Gull 5n 31s
Black h Gull 3n 38s
Eider 26n
Red th Diver 13n 5s
Shag 2s
Fulmar 4n 5s
Cormorant 2n 4s
Great northern Diver 1n
Bonxie 1s
Common Scoter 21n 5s
Shelduck 1s
Little Auk 1s
Black th Diver 1n
Med Gull 1n ad
Kittiwake 1s
Knot 3s

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Tickety Boom.....

Great northern Diver and 2 Puffins passed Whitburn Obs by 11 today. I was joined by Magic and Saint Mark and Boy Wonder. It was a lovely morning on the coast with none of the forecast mist and fog . Things were a bit quiet but my obs year list had a boost with 5 new birds taking it to 80, Blackcap was the star bird
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 17th January 07.45-11.00 NW2 broken cloud

Common Gull 14n 45s
Black h Gull 13n 40s
Grey Heron 2s
Red th Diver 35n 6s
Fulmar 86n
Eider 2n 2s
Golden Plover 2s
Shag 1n 1s
Wigeon 3n
Cormarant 6n 3s
Common Scoter 6n 1s
Porpoise 2s
Puffin 2n
Goldeneye 2n
Knot 11n
Dunlin 1n
Grey Wagtail 1s
Great northern Diver 1n

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Tempting fate....

Red necked Grebe and 2 Great northern Divers passed Whitburn Obs by 10am this morning. The full team were in and i had to leave early on Grandad Taxi duty, what would i miss.....
Thankfully Saint Mark had already called the close Red necked Grebe before i left to keep my obs list ticking over. Last year i left the obs early and a Black Guilli went past, agghhh, and these guys enjoy making you pay. Friends! i was tempting fate alright.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 16th January NW2-3

Black h Gull 99n 71s
Common Gull 122n 219s
Fulmar 85n
Curlew 35s
Redshank 1n
Eider 9n 2s
Turnstone 1n
Cormorant 2n
Red th Diver 3n 2s
Gannet 4n
Goldeneye 1n
Med Gull 1s ad
Shag 2n 3s
Velvet Scoter 1n
Red necked Grebe 1n
Great northern Divers 2n
Porpoise 2
Wigeon 1n
Little Auk 1n
Kittiwake 1n

Yesterday i missed my blog but this is what i saw Friday 15th January 07.55-10.30
Common Gull 108m 60s
Black h Gull 178n 92s
Common Scoter 1n
Fulmar 13n
Goldeneye 1s
Red th Diver 2n
Shag 6s
Cormorant 2n 5s
Golden Plover18s
Woodcock 1n
Kittiwake 2n
Little Auk 1n
Great n Diver 1n
Scan Herring Gull 1n 2s
Med Gull 1s ad
Curlew 2n

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Bird race mayhem....

1 Little Auk and 5 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 10.45 today. I was joined by Saint Mark ,Boy Wonder and Stevie Thunder, the Birtley Bishop put in his annual appearance. Its South Tyneside bird race day today and hoards of them arrived hoping for race ticks, but not much was passing although Little and Med Gull would have been a bonus for them. Then just as quick as they appeared they left us to peace and quiet.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 10th January 07.50-10.45 SW2 cloud cover

Kittiwake 1n 1s
Common Gull 296s
Black h Gull 25n 880s
Scan Herring Gull 5s
Med Gull 2s ads
Shag 4s
Red th Diver 6n 18s
Eider 1n 3s
Little Gull 1n 5s
Fulmar 2n 8s
Gannet 1n 9s
Rock Pipit 1s
Common Scoter 2n 2s
Porpoise 1n 1s
Sanderling 1s
Shelduck 1n
Great crested Grebe 1 on sea
Little Auk 1n
Goldeneye 1s

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Woodcock meets sticky end...

4 Little Auks and 2 Great northern Divers passed Whitburn Obs by 11this morning. I was joined by Magic and Saint Mark, Boy Wonder and Stoney was in the house. A Woodcock was picked up coming in off but ditched onto the sea only a couple of hundred meters from the shore. Not a sight any of us had witnessed before, it must have just been exhausted. It flew a short distance again later but sadly was eventually consumed as breakfast by a Greater Black Backed Gull
It was a busy watch with lots of year ticks for all, this is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 9th January 07.45-11.00 SW2 cloud cover then rain

Common Gull 2n 111s
Black h Gull 26n 249s
Eider 2s
Shag 5n 63s
Fulmar 89n
Med Gull 1s ad
Cormorant 8s
Red th Diver 28n 60s
Porpoise 4n 1s
Common Scoter 27n 10s
Razorbill 2n
Peregrine 1s
Common Seal 1
Little Auk 4n
Great northern Diver 1n 1s
Kittiwake 5n
Great crested Grebe 1s
Brent Goose db 1n 1s
Woodcock 1 in off
Red br Merganser 2n
Sanderling 18s
Grey Heron 1s
Bar tailed Godwit 1n
Little Gull 1s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Dunlin 35s
Rock Pipit 2s

Friday, 8 January 2016

Nice ice baby....

Iceland Gull, Black throated Diver and Med Gull passed Whitburn Obs by 11 am today. Unlucky Dave joined me mid watch and was lucky to see the Black throat as it went south close inshore. It was a much better watch than i expected with loads of gulls going south close inshore. I was mainly looking with bins to check the gulls which is how i saw the Iceland, so who knows what went past further out. Red throated Divers started to move south with 20 being the largest group, was a super watch. My obs year list hit the heady heights of 62
This is what passed in order of appearance

Friday 8th January 07.55-11.00 SW2 cloud cover rain later

Common Gull 370s
Black h Gull 4n 772s
Eider 2n 8s
Little Gull 5s inc 1 1stw
Red th Diver 2n 81s
Scan H Gull 5s
Goldeneye 2n 1s
08.20 Iceland Gull 1s adult
Cormarant 8s
Mallard 2s
Shag 21s
Shelduck 1s
Fulmar 3n 6s
Curlew 1s
Common Scoter 1s
Golden Plover 2s
Great crested Grebe 1s
Little Auk 1n
Black th Diver 1s
Gannet 1s
Med Gull 1s ad
Brent Goose 5n db

Monday, 4 January 2016

Little Mix.....

5 Little Auks and 11 Little Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 11 today. Hoggie joined me and he filled his boots with year ticks on his first watch this year. Conditions were similar to yesterday but without the rain. Little Auks and Gulls were the stars. This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 4th January 08.00-11.00 SE3 cloud cover, rough sea

Common Gull 43s
Black h Gull 22n 60s
Little Auk 3n 2s
Gannet 1n 16s
Dunlin 2n
Jackdaw 2s
Red th Diver 3n 2s
Guillemot 175s
Fulmar 4n 37s
Wigeon 7n 1s
Little Gull 11s all adults
Razorbill 5s
Kittiwake 2n 19s
Great crested Grebe 2s
Long tailed Duck 1s
Teal 3s
Shag 3n 1s
Common Scoter 3s
Goldeneye 2n 1s
Eider 1n 1s
Goosander 2n
Sparrowhawk 1n
Bonxie 1n
Brent Goose 2n pb

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Surfs up.......

9 Little Auks, 5 Blue Fulmers and a Great northern Diver passed Whitburn Obs by  11 today. It was a packed front row today with all the usual suspects and a welcome return for Stevie Thunder back from his sickbed.
The foam from the surf hit me in the chest this morning, that gives you an idea of the conditions, it was white water everywhere, yes the surf was up. Sea watching was difficult as it was hard to keep optics dry with the rain and surf coming in at us, it was fun tho and this is what we saw in order of appearance

 I managed to see the Green winged Teal at Boldon Flats at last on my third attempt thanks to Julie Mason. Was also good to see Dave Parnaby about in his native North East off Fair Isle visiting family

Sunday 3rd January 07.55-11.00 ESE 3 rain

Gannet 11n 4s
Black h Gull 16n 11s
Fulmar 4n 315s
Common Gull 4n 8s
Eider 11n 2s
Kittiwake 19n 14s
Common Scoter 2n 5s
Little Auk 8n 6s
Teal 5n 35s
Blue Fulmar 5s all L except one D
Wigeon 26s
Little Gull5n 3s
Goldeneye 4n
Great crested Grebe 1s
Dunlin 13n
Great northern Diver 1n
Bar tailed Godwit 3n
Bonxie 1n
Velvet Scoter 1s
Knot 1n
Lapwing 1n
Shag 2n

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Blue for boys....

18 Little Auks and 3 Blue Fulmars passed Whitburn Obs by 11.30 this morning. The Fulmars were close inshore as they flew south giving superb views. Magic and Saint Mark were in early but Boy Wonder beat the lot of us in today. We didn't see loads of birds in the stormy conditions but enjoyed the spectacle, this is what we did see in order of appearance

Saturday 2nd January 07.55-11.30 SE3-4 rough sea, rain

San Herring Gull 2s
Black h Gull 2n 28s
Common Gull 2n 8s
Gannet 4n 22s
Eider 8n 7s
Fulmar 262s
Red th Diver 2n
Turnstone 2s
Bonxie 1n 1s
Little Gull 1n 7s inc 2 1st w
Common Scoter 5n 3s
Little Auk 7n 11s
Kittiwake 7n 15s
Shag 1s
Guillimot 2n 9s
Rock Pipit 1s
Cormorant 1n
Blue Fulmar 3s (D,L,L)
Golden Plover 3s
Wigeon 4n 2s
Ringed Plover 1s
Shelduck 2s
Sparrowhawk 1n
Porpoise 1
Teal 27s

Friday, 1 January 2016

Goosey Goosey Gander....

22 Little Auks, 2 Great northern Divers and a White fronted Goose were seen from Whitburn Obs this morning, a canny start to the birding year. Magic and Saint Mark joined me and Stoney was in the house. We have had a great run in to the new year so were not expecting much as birds so often don't behave as you want them to.  So it was a much appreciated surprise when most of the recent species seen were still about and we had such a bird filled first sea watch.
I had only once before seen Whitefront from the obs, that's how rare it is,  so to find one on the adjacent firing range was a blinkin miracle, and my Goosey has to go down as bird of the watch. Nice to start with a mega...
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 1st January 07.15-11.15 SW1-2

Black h Gull 4n 225s
Common Gull 113s
Curlew 65s
Redshank 3s
Red th Diver 18n 19s
Turnstone 32s
Shag 1n 53s
Med Gull 2s adults
Scan Herring Gull 4s
Wigeon 3n
Common Scoter 4n 1s
Cormorant 4n 18s
Fulmar 10n 5s
Eider 5n 3s
Great northern Diver 2s
Little Gull 6n 5s
Kittiwake 2n 5s
Little Auk 2n 22s
Gannet 3s
Golden Plover 25s
White fronted (Goose Greenland race) 1 on firing range
Bonxie 1n
Dunlin 1s
Porpoise 1n 1s
Goosander 2s