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