Friday, 27 January 2017

Everything's gonna be all white......

Iceland and Med Gull went south past Whitburn Obs by 10 o,clock this morning. Yes i jammed onto another two white wingers bringing my January total to 23!. That's 13 Glaucs, 4  Iceland and 6 Med Gulls and still two January watches left.
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Friday 27th January 07.40-10.00 SSW2-3 cloud 6/8

Common Gull 3n 64s
Black h Gull 2n 45s
Fulmar 4n 6s
Scan Herring Gull 6s
Kittiwake 1s
Cormorant 3n 9s
Guillemot 1n 36s
Common Scoter 4n 3s
Wigeon 2s
Med Gull 1s ad
Curlew 6n 1s
Golden Plover 45s
Red th Diver 2n 1s
Iceland Gull 1s juv 08.55
the video is from the bird on Cleadon Flash a few years ago

Eider 1s
Redshank 2n
Shag 1s

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Dabble away....

Iceland Gull and Manx Shearwater passed Whitburn Obs by 11.30 this morning. A few Dabbling Ducks were moving and Gadwall was a nice year tick to add to my Obs list now on 83. My total for the end of January in 2016 was 86 so am hoping to match that before heading for a short break birding in Goa.  Magic Mark called our first Manxie of the year and the now employed Stoney was in the house
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 26th January 07.40-11.30 S2-3 cloud 7/8

Common Gull 4n 34s
Black h Gull 2n 50s
GBBGull 1n 529s
Eider 1n 4s
Scan Herring Gull 12s
Mallard 17s
Shag 1s
Cormorant 5n 13s
Fulmar 1n 19s
Gannet 1n 20s
Iceland Gull 1s juv

Porpoise 1n 1s
Red th Diver 12n 6s
Wigeon 2n 8s
Manxie 1s
Teal 1n 2s
Gadwall 3s
Rook 1 in off
Common Scoter 4n
Grey Heron 1s

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Ton up for some....

Glaucous and two Med Gulls passed Whitburn Obs by 10.45 this morning. After a blank few days the white wingers are back and we are only two more sightings of Glaucous Gull away from setting a new annual sightings record of 16, and we could do it in the first month of the year. Pink Floyd joined me early on and we enjoyed some good birds before the crab sandwich boys arrived.
Hoggie managed to notch up his 100th species of the year with Tree Sparrow and Lucky Dave's 100th was Med Gull. Ive got a while to go my Obs list is stuck on 80
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 24th January 07.45-10.45 SW2-3 cloud 5/8

Black h Gull  2n 61s
Shag 1s
Cormorant 1n 2s
Common Gull 4n 68s
Scan Herring Gull 4s
Fulmar 3n 3s
Grey Heron 1n
Red th Diver 6n 5s
Eider 1s
Med Gull 1n 1s both ads probably different birds as the first bird i watched fly inland over the obs field, Ive probably got film of it but no time today so here's one from my library

Gannet 3n
Glaucous Gull 1s juv
Velvet Scoter 1s
Great Northern Diver 1n
Kittiwake 1s

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Year list update...

Red necked Grebe and a Bonxie went south past Whitburn Obs by 10 am today. It was another flat calm day with little or no birds passing, plenty of Porpoise on view but my Glaucous Gulls have dried up for now.
In 2015 my January list ended on 78 and in 2016 a massive 86 so i was happy to add three new year ticks today to bring me onto a healthy 76. Yes Song Thrush,  Knot and Red necked Grebe kept me ticking over
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Thursday 19th January 07.50-10.05 W1 cloud 8/8

Curlew 145s
Redshank 14s
Common Gull 1s
Porpoise 7
Black h Gull 6n 2s
Cormorant 1n 4s
Red th Diver 12n 4s
Eider 7n 1s
Fulmar 6n 2s
Pink footed Goose 12 in/off
Red necked Grebe 1s 08.35
Turnstone 9n 31s
Bonxie 1s
Dunlin 70s
Knot 2s

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Lucky for some.......

Great White Egret, Black throated Diver and 3 Great Northern Divers passed Whitburn Obs this morning. My Obs year list was in the doldrums and yesterdays sea watch had been less than inspiring but from the off today had a different feel. It was a bit dark and dank but visibility was ok and i had full cloud cover. By the time the crab sandwich boys arrived id had three species of diver and a good supporting act so by this January's standards a cracking watch. Hoggie had hardly sat down and hadn't had time to ask if the tide was coming in when i called a Glaucous Gull going south close inshore (3 more needed for the record) even Walter with bins only got great views.
 Pink Floyd and Unlucky Dave arrived just as i called ten Brents going north, things were really starting to happen. I saw two Ducks coming north and called them as Scaup then had second thoughts as they headed toward us, couldn't quite nail them but they came closer and blow me over they landed in front of the Obs. As it often proves my first call was the right one.
Pink Floyd called a large skein of Pinks going north then a close Peregrine, phew we were breathless.
At 11.30 i decided to call it a day and headed off crab sandwich in hand (thanks Wal) id just reached the south east corner of  Shearwater when i stopped to ring the wife and i heard shouting, the guys were all on the Obs mound beckoning me. As i got closer Walter shouted run, well if you knew me you would know that I'm crocked and i don't do running, at this stage i didn't know what the bird was. As i got on top of the mound Unlucky Dave gave me directions and i saw the Great White Egret flying south fairly close in. I wont be able to walk for days but it was worth it thanks guys.
I later learnt that Unlucky Dave who really now needs to be called Lucky Dave, called a Little Egret flying south Hoggie got on it and realised it was Great White Egret and the rest as they say....
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 17th January 08.00-12.00 SSW1-2 cloud 8/8

Black h Gull 3n 7s
Cormorant 2n 6s
Fulmar 15n 6s
Guillemot 31n
Red th Diver 51n 9s
Common Scoter 58n 7s
Porpoise  3+
Curlew 101s
Shelduck 23n
Black th Diver 1n
Scan Herring Gull 1n
Common Gull 6n 4s
Razorbill 1n
Turnstone 8n 9s
Shag 10n 1s
Kittiwake 1n
Goldeneye 1n
Gannet 3n
Great Northern Diver 3n
Eider 3n 1s
Grey Heron 2n 1s
Glaucous Gull 1s juv 09.30

Brent Goose 10n (2 pb rest db)
Scaup 2n 1st w drakes

Pink footed Goose 180n
Bar tailed Godwit 1s
Peregrine 1n male
Great White Egret 1s 11.39

Monday, 16 January 2017

Is the tide coming in....

Glaucous Gull and little else passed Whitburn Obs by 10 o'clock this morning. The juv Glauc brings our tally to 12 just 4 short of a new record of birds seen in a year. Now that might sound like a sure thing as its only the 16th Jan but keep in mind i didn't see one until the 5th of November last year...the tap can turn off.
A well known local sea watcher always asks within minutes of arriving 'is the tide coming in', i wont name him but lets just say his other catch phrase is 'couldnt have been nowt else'. I mention this as at one point this morning the waves were crashing in and i wondered.....
It wasn't but i had a chuckle
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Monday 16th January 08.00-10.10 NW2 cloud 8/8 rain mist drizzle yuk

Black h Gull 12n 30s
Cormorant 1n 4s
Common Gull 10n 7s
Fulmar 31n 4s
Scan Herring Gull 8n 2s
Glaucous Gull 1n juv 08.35

Shag 1n 1s
Red th Diver 2n
Gannet 6n
Wigeon 3n

Sunday, 15 January 2017

And a Blue Fulmar....

2 Great Northern Divers a Bonxie and a Blue Fulmar passed Whitburn Obs by 11.15 today.
Stevie Thunder was a surprise visitor today as we settled down to try and get our Glaucous Gull record. We've seen 11 and need 16 to set a new annual passage record and with all the birds seen on the east coast yesterday it was a cert......
That's birds for you, no white wingers seen but plenty of quality passage. We commented on how its always good to put out sea watching news with the coda 'and a Blue Fulmar' ala Flamborough and were pleased we got one
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 15th January 07.50-11.15 W2 cloud 8/8

Fulmar 267n 6s
Guillemot 545n
Black h Gull 26n 33s
Scan Herring Gull 7n 1s
Common Gull 15n 25s
Red th Diver 14n 3s
Shag 2n
Porpoise 1n 2s
Velvet Scoter 1s
Cormorant 11n 12s
Razorbill 9n
Grey Heron 2n
Long tailed Duck 1n
Gannet 3s
Bonxie 1n
Blue Fulmar 1s L
Eider 2s
Common Scoter 2n
Turnstone 2n
Great Northern Diver 2n

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Glaucous countdown...

180 Pinkfeet and a Glaucous Gull passed Whtburn Obs by 10.30 this morning. The record for  sightings of Glaucous Gull in the year is 15. The number of records so far this month is 11, its a countdown to a new record and the way we are going it could be this month. Saint Mark and Boy Wonder joined me today to pick over the northerly leftovers and we did ok by January's standards so far this year. The bright sun was challenging and i wouldn't be surprised if some white wingers sneaked past undetected...
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 14th January 07.45-10.30 NW3 cloud 3/8 at its best

Black h Gull 199n 89s
Cormorant 7n 12s
Golden Plover 120n
Common Gull 41n 156s
Goldeneye 2n 1s
Shag 4s
Red th Diver 17n 10s
Fulmar 21n 4s
Razorbill 1n 1s
Common Scoter 12n 1s
Scan Herring Gull 5n 3s
Gannet 10n
Curlew 4n
Eider 3s
Glaucous Gull 1n juv dark one
Kittiwake 1n 1s
Turnstone 1n 1s
Pink footed Goose 180s

Friday, 13 January 2017


4 Glaucous Gulls and a Blue Fulmar passed Whitburn Obs by 11.30 today, tho probably only 3 different birds were involved. All but one were close inshore and gave stunning if brief views. I didn't manage any video so will use other recent film. Pink Floyd beat Magic Mark and myself in this morning, the worst weather ever as forcast did not materialise tho it was a white out in more ways than one
I recently set a new day passage record of three Glaucous Gulls in the same day. We certainly equalled that but we felt one of our four was seen twice
It was cold but fun and this is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 13th January 08.00-11.30 NW5 cloud 6/8

Black h Gull 44n 5s
Common Gull 53n 21s
Gannet 62n 79s
Guillemot 82n
Eider 1n 1s
Redshank 13n 1s
Scan Herring Gull 1n 1s
Turnstone 1n 11s
Glaucous Gull 2n 2s all juvs

Bonxie 1s
Red th Diver 2n 3s
Shag 2s
Cormorant 7s
Whooper Swan 1s
Blue Fulmar 1n

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Cetacean surge....

 Velvet Scoter and Long tailed Duck passed Whitburn Obs by 10.45 today. The birds were quiet but our cetacean encounters more than made up for the lack of birds. From the off we were seeing Harbour Porpoise on a flat calm sea and an estimate of 10 is probably an understatement. A few sightings had been logged when i came across a pod of 6 going north but our attention was drawn to bigger fish when i saw the first Dolphins so no certain count was made.
Both Marks quickly got onto the Dolphins as i described the southerly movement, in the end it was 20 plus. They were distant and Bottlenose, however one sighting in particular of a Dolphin showing a lot of pale on the flanks but not on the saddle as per White Beaked had us puzzled. Magic Mark explained to me that Bottlenose have a lot of variation and it could have been one showing pale shoulder blaze.
We may never know for certain as they were distant and we could not nail it, but following on from recent sightings of  Orca and Common Dolphin it may not be long before we add another member of the Dolphin family to out growing Whitburn list. The animals today were a bit distant for video so ive attached some i made earlier
This is what we saw today in order of appearance

Sunday 8th January 07.45-10.45 W1-2 cloud 3/8

Black h Gull 3n 57s
Fulmar 6n 5s
Cormorant 9s
Common Gull 2n 12s
Porpoise 10 plus
Red th Diver 13n 23s
Shag 1s
Eider 10n 2s
Common Scoter 3n
Turnstone 5n 4s
Bottlenose Dolphin 20s 08.23-09.45

Gannet 7n 1s
Scan Herring Gull 2s
Med Gull 1s ad
Wigeon 1s
Mallard 2s
Kittiwake 1n 1s
Shelduck 1s
Razorbill 1n
Velvet Scoter 3n
Long tailed Duck 1n
Stonechat 2

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Red Dawn.......

Great Northern Diver and Glaucous Gull passed Whitburn Obs this morning. At first light red sun was bursting through a small gap in the cloud cover was perhaps a sign of things to come. We had a few Red throated Divers early on bettering my one from yesterdays watch when Pink Floyd called 12 going north high up. Th Red tide continued and we wondered what the day record was, Saint Mark looked it up and confirmed it as 139 on the 22nd January 1979. After that news we were a little deflated and although we never got near the record the quality of the sea watch soon lifted our spirits
We were seeing a few Harbour Porpoise on a nice calm see, i mentioned to Magic Mark id seen a larger Dolphin like dorsal fin and sure enough Mark picked it up and confirmed its id as a Common Dolphin a first from Whitburn for all of us. It slowly made its way south, two Cetacean ticks in a matter of weeks following the Orca left us overjoyed
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 7th January 07.50-11.30 W1-2 cloud 7/8

Common Gull 5n 8s
Red throated Diver 77n 11s plus 10 on the sea

Porpoise 5 plus
Black h Gull 13n 16s
Turnstone 20n 10s
Cormorant 4n 11s
Redshank 2n 11s
Fulmar 40n 3s
Guillemot 100n
Lapwing 2n 45s
Common Scoter 3s
Gannet 8n 2s
Shag 3s
Bar tailed Godwit 2n 1s
Eider 15n
Great Northern Diver 1n
Brent Goose 2s pb
Dunlin 4n
Snow Bunting 1s
Wigeon 3n
Common Dolphin 1s 10.35-11.03
Great crested Grebe 1n
Shelduck 4n
Teal 6n
Stonechat 1
Med Gull 1s ad
Glaucous Gull 1n juv

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Black Velvet if you please...

Black throated Diver and Glaucous Gull passed Whitburn Obs this morning. It was a much more settled day with light winds and it wasn't difficult to improve on yesterdays miserly 13 species
My first Med Gull of the year was followed by Glaucous Gull but sadly no hat trick as Iceland was a no show. 2 Velvet Scoter landed in front of the Obs before flying north and I've attached some video of the event
The Obs list hit 52
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Thursday 5th January 07.55-10.30 NW2 cloud 6/8

Black h Gull 73n 55s
Common Gull 19n 47s
Cormorant 3n 14s
Fulmar 9n 3s
Med Gull 1n ad
Scan Herring Gull 4n
Razorbill 1n
Teal 1n
Gannet 19n
Lapwing 29s
Goldeneye 8n
Glaucous Gull 1s juv 08.45
Velvet Scoter 2n
Red th Diver 9n 2s
Common Scoter 3n
Shag 2n 3s
Kittiwake 2n
Brent Goose pb 3n
LBBGull 1n
Turnstone 1s
Black th Diver 1s
Wigeon 6n

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Wave goodbye....

 Glaucous Gull and Merlin passed Whitburn Obs by 10.40 this morning. Pink Floyd joined me for his first outing of the year following a nasty bug. He called the Glauc and was in the strange year list situation of seeing Glauc, Merlin and Brent before Eider. The Glaucous Gull waved goodbye to all the lister's who hadn't arrived early enough to see it, unlucky or what and i even managed to video it waving
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 3rd January 08.00-10.40 W3 cloud 8/8

Common Gull 9n 21s
Black h Gull 7n 3s
Cormorant 4n 6s
Red th Diver 4n
Fulmar 12n 1s
Brent Goose 2n pb
Curlew 1s
Gannet 3n
Glaucous Gull 1s juv
Razorbill 4n
Merlin 1n
Goldeneye 4n 1s
Redshank 1s
Purple Sandpiper 1s
Turnstone 4s
Common Scoter 13n

Monday, 2 January 2017

Better late than never......

Iceland and Glaucous Gull went south past Whitburn Obs by 11.30 this morning. It was a very cold start and sadly we had little cloud cover but patience paid off with a run of Quality birds. The last four species recorded were Glaucous Gull, Brent Goose, Long tailed Duck and the star of the show a superb Iceland Gull....better late than never
Stevie Thunder and Mackem made year tick appearances and picked a good day as we also added all three species of Diver
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Monday 2nd January 2017 07.48-11.30 NW2 cloud 3/8

Cormorant 3n 23s
Lapwing 3s
Black h Gull 36n 32s
Common Gull 15n 40s
Gannet 81n 3s
Shag 1n 9s
Red th Diver 9n 3s
Kittiwake 3n 1s
Common Scoter 6n 14s
Fulmar 46n 3s
Goldeneye 6n
Scan Herring Gull 19s
Eider 4n 10s
Velvet Scoter 1n 3s
Curlew 5n
Dunlin 30n
Black th Diver 1n
Great Northern Diver 2n 1s
Golden Plover 17s
Turnstone 10n
Porpoise 1n
Wigeon 2n
Glaucous Gull 1s juv 10.25

Brent Goose 5n pb
Long tailed Duck 1n
Iceland Gull 1s 11.15

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year.....

Black throated Diver and 2 Bonxies passed Whitburn Obs by 11am on our first sea watch of the year.
It was a bit quiet but the light was right and a northerly blowing, i was joined by Magic and Saint Mark, Boy Wonder and Hoggie and Walter bringing up the rear as usual.
We are hoping for better things tomorrow, this is what we saw in order of appearance

Sunday 1st January 2017 N5 cloud 7/8

Scan Herring Gull 4n
Fulmar 111n
Black h Gull 5n 4s
Shag 2s
Eider 1n 1s
Common Gull 10n 9s
Red th Diver 2n 9s
Meadow Pipit 1n
Common Scoter 8n 16s
Gannet 41n 10s
Razorbill 8n
Golden Plover 46n
Bonxie 1n 1s
Cormorant 3n 3s
Kittiwake 2n 24s
Curlew 2n 3s
Turnstone 9n
Black throated Diver 1s
I didnt manage to film todays bird so here's one i made earlier