Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Back in Black......

Balearic Shearwater and 3 plus Black Terns passed Whitburn Obs on this mornings early watch. Yesterdays Black Terns were back and they brought some friends. It's hard to say how many we had in total as some birds may have moved both ways but we logged three north and four south, the maximum we saw at any one time was three and we had one on show for the majority of the watch. Stoney was in the house and we enjoyed the full cloud cover as waders and terns were on the move. Our Balearic Shearwater flew in, dropped on the sea and didn't move again for the third day running.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 30th August 05.45-09.15 W1 8/8

Common Gull 2n 14s
Gannet 354n 75s
Common Tern 196n 28s
Arctic Skua 3s
Porpoise 5 plus
Redshank 5n 156s
Common Scoter 6n 2s
Teal 8n 4s
Balearic Shearwater 1s then on the sea
Manx Shearwater 3n 3s
Black h Gull 14n 7s
Dunlin 22s
Shag 9s
Red th Diver 1n 2s
Black Tern 3n 4s juvs

Knot 8s
Meadow Pipit 3s
Sanderling 1n
Whimbrel 1s
Curlew 2s
Sandwich Tern 5n 8s
Eider 1s
Ringed Plover 2n

Saturday, 26 August 2017


 4 Roseate and 6 Black Terns passed Whitburn Obs by 10.15 this morning. Magic Mark picked up the first Black Terns feeding distantly and i suspect we missed a few as many Terns were moving north this morning. I called a distant Shearwater as a Sooty but it was on closer inspection a nice dark Balearic as Saint Mark pointed out. The black theme continued as Cormorants started to pour south eventually giving a new day passage record total.  Pink Floyd and Boy Wonder arrived late but soon joined the party. We commented how two days are never alike, yesterday in similar conditions we saw very few it was none stop a cracking watch
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 26th August 05.30-10.15  W1 4/8

Common Gull 2n 8s
Black h Gull 150n 31s
Cormorant 457s 60n
Gannet 614n 71s
Fulmar 24n
Common Tern 512n 10s
Black Tern 6n
Oystercatcher 7s
Curlew 4s
Manx Shearwater 24n 13s
Sandwich Tern 61n 16s
Balearic Shearwater 2n
Common Scoter 71n 4s
Porpoise 4
Arctic Skua 2n 10s
Redshank 7n 9s
Red th Diver 2n 2s
Teal 9n 2s
Puffin 2n
Bar t Godwit 2s
Pied Wagtail 1s
Grey Heron 1n 1s
Kestrel 1s
Goosander 12n
Black th Diver 1s
Whimbrel 1n 3s
Shoveler 1n
Wigeon 1n
Eider 1s
Shag 1s
Roseate Tern 4sSanderling 3n 6s
Knot 1s

Thursday, 24 August 2017

5 Tern day....

2 Roseate and a Black Tern passed Whitburn Obs in three hours early this morning. It's not often we i get to see five species of Tern so i was happy to get a brief view of a juvenile Black Tern as it fed south very early morning. Stoney was in the house later but had to leave for work, still he's put a few hours in of late with great reward. Not a Shearwater to be seen today...but Goosanders put on a show trying to fly into the Obs. The video is from a bird that is hanging about on the sea below the Obs recently(sorry youtube wont let me load it)
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 24th August 05.30-08.30 W2 2/8

Black h Gull 30n 33s
Common Gull 1n 25s
Gannet 153n 9s
Redshank 25s
Common Tern 199n 77s
Fulmar 32n 9s
Dunlin 1n 3s
Sandwich Tern 58n 17s
Puffin 1n
Common Scoter 16n 2s
Arctic Skua 1n 3s
Whimbrel 1s
Black Tern 1s juv
Red th Diver 3n
Oystercatcher 9s
Knot 6s
Shag 1n 1s
Porpoise 1
Arctic Tern 2n 1s
Curlew 1n
Bonxie 1n
Roseate Tern 2n ad and juv
Canada Goose 6s
Eider 1n
Sand Martin 3s
Teal 26n
Shelduck 1n
Grey Heron 1n
Goosander 13n

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Play misty for me....

Pom Skua, 2 Roseate Terns and a Velvet Scoter were the cream of a good crop at Whitburn Obs today. A bit of mist can be a big help pushing birds close inshore and disorienting them so i was happy enough when i saw today's conditions. Pink Floyd joined me late on and unlucky Dave, Wal kindly gave me a crab sandwich...time to leave
A Cuckoo in the Obs field was a bonus as i left, shhh...dont tell or the poor bird will get no peace
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 22nd August 05.25-09.45 SE1 mist 8/8

Black h Gull 33n 39s
Gannet 150n 18s
Sandwich Tern 8n 80s
Common Gull 6n 13s
Common Tern 68n 154s
Whimbrel 1n 3s
Teal 48n 2s
Fulmar 74n
Shag 4n 1s
Mallard 1n
Curlew 9n
Oystercatcher 32n
Arctic Skua 1n 3s
Redshank 6n 14s
Arctic Tern 1s
Swallow 1s
Ruff 1s
Golden Plover 42s
Goldeneye 1n
Common Scoter 202n
Pom Skua 1n ad dp
Turnstone 1s
Roseate Tern 2s ad and juv
Velvet Scoter 1s
LBBGull 1s
Scaup 2n
Cuckoo 1 in obs field

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Dazzling Rosies....

12 Roseate Terns went south at Whitburn Obs by 10am today, bringing this weeks total to 28 south. I was joined by Saint Mark and Boy Wonder and it all started a bit quiet but as ever Whitburn Obs did not disappoint. Most memorable was an adult Roseate feeding its youngster which was sat on the sea just below us. Another three Little Egrets south brought my sightings this year to at least 8, poor Saint Mark was AWOL and still needs it for the year as well as Rosy Tern. I didn't manage any video again so another old vid attached
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Saturday 19th August 05.20-10.00 W3 4/10

Whimbrel 1n 3s
Sandwich Tern 6n 86s
Black h Gull 31n 23s
Curlew 2n 1s
Gannet 182n 4s
Common Gull 2s
Common Tern 123n 52s
Oystercatcher 54s
Redshank 12n 125s
Knot 3s
Common Scoter 6n 1s
Dunlin 7s
Arctic Skua 1n 2s
Sparrowhawk 2s
Grey Heron 1s
Great crested Grebe 1s
Roseate Tern 12s inc at least 2 juvs
Turnstone 1s
LBBGull 2s i juv
Little Egret 3s close inshore
Kestrel 2n
Swift 2n
Mallard 1s
Red th Diver 21n
Manx Shearwater 3n

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Whiter than white.....

13 Roseate Terns went south at Whitburn Obs by 9am this morning. I was joined by the Prof and Stoney was in the house. It was dark when we started with the heavy cloud and rain and nothing was moving except Gannets. In the first hour we did not record any Terns, then they started with a trickle that became a flood. The guys picked up on two mid distance Roseate Terns heading south, i was mainly using my Bins on the close birds when i started to see Rosy's. Some family parties and some lone juvs all going south. One nearly slipped through unnoticed when i heard it's call and we managed to find it and add it to our tally. We ended up well short of the day passage record of 115 on the 30th of August 2010 but it was a start. I checked Whitburn Steel to try and get some Roseate video but didn't see any so i found this old video which is interesting...
The Prof still has to improve his Roseate i.d. skills and Rob gave him this gem of advice "they are like Daz" whiter than white
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Thursday 17th August 05.15-09.00 SW2 6/8 rain

Gannet 237n 191s
Curlew 2n 4s
Black h Gull 9n 13s
Manxie 3s
Common Scoter 34n 27s
Bar t Godwit 1n
Whimbrel 3s
Grey Heron 1n
Common Tern 29n 189s
Common Gull 1n 2s
Sandwich Tern 20n 266s
Peregrine 1n hunting waders
Oystercatcher 25s
Arctic Tern 2n 5s
Redshank 24s
Arctic Skua 3n
Teal 3n 4s
Turnstone 7s
Roseate Tern 13s (6 juvs)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Skua banquet.....

Long tailed and 4 Pom Skuas passed Whitburn Obs by 10am today. The Prof joined me and Stoney was in the house. We had few expectations so when the Prof called the first Pom we were happy enough but it just kept getting better. The Skua count was three of each of three species when he alerted us to an interesting Skua going north keeping low, Stoney completed the id a 2nd cyr Long tailed Skua. A year tick for me and its always a pleasure to get all four species of Skua on a sea watch. A couple of the Poms going south were memorable showing well and with full spoons and Pink Floyd managed to join the party, add to that a full supporting cast of waders and lots of ducks and you've got a canny watch. The crab sandwich boys arrived and we gave it another hour but we had tired eyes, i hope the Skuas kept coming for them
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 15th August 05.05-10.00 SW2-3 2/8 then 4/8

Manx Shearwater 3n 3s
Common Tern 57n 38s
Gannet 318n 51s
Arctic Tern 6n 2s
Common Scoter 250n 146s
Redshank 34n 94s
Black h Gull 2n 4s
Sandwich Tern 65n 61s
Shag 3s
Turnstone 2n 1s
Pom Skua 2n (1ad) 2s ads
Shoveler 2n
Teal 262n 31s
Oystercatcher 10s
Arctic Skua 3n 1s
Whimbrel 1n 22s
Curlew 1n 2s
Bonxie 2n 2s
Golden Plover 2s
Knot 1s
Dunlin 12s
Common Gull 1s
Bar tailed Godwit 2s
Swallow 20s
Grey Plover 1n
Sparrowhawk 1s
Long tailed Skua 1n 08.20 2nd cyr
Velvet Scoter 1n
Red th Diver 1s
Common Darter 1s

Friday, 11 August 2017

Wave of Waders......

 389 Dunlin went south at Whitburn Obs by 09.30 this morning. Setting a new day passage record beating the previous best of 376 on the 9th August 2015. I was joined by the Prof and Stoney was in the house. After abandoning yesterday's watch after two hours due to poor light and lack of birds we didn't expect a lot today. Just shows that old saying is right no two days are alike. Dunlin were noted from the start and just kept coming add to that the sight and sound of Whimbrel migrating and you know its a good watch
Hopefully more Dunlin will be seen today but i had to call it a day due to the eye strain I've been suffering from this week.... I wonder what could be causing it.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Friday 11th August 05.10-09.30 SW2-3 6/8

Gannet 337n 44s
Dunlin 389n
Knot 1s
Sandwich Tern 116n 29s
Common Scoter 306n 13s
Curlew 5n 1s
Common Gull 1n 3s
Black h Gull 6n 3s
Redshank 16n 26s
Common Tern 25n 37s
Ringed Plover 5s
Whimbrel 44s
Bar tailed Godwit 21s
Peregrine 1n after taking a Redshank in flight, awesome!
Arctic Tern 15n 1s
Sand Martin 3s
Teal 24n 3s
Sparrowhawk 1n 1s
Golden Plover 1s
Bonxie 1s
Red th Diver 1s
Shoveler 2n
Little Gull 1n 1s ads
Manxie 8n
Grey Heron 3s flying together a long way out
Dolphin sp 1s 08.25
Turnstone 3s

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Second half....

Little Gull and 5 Bonxies passed Whitburn Obs this afternoon. Yes we returned for a second bite and along the way a few local birders contributed including Sir Ian, Marsden John, Chip Shop Steve and of course Stoney was in the house. It was quieter but the light was superb, best bird for me was a close Grey Plover in sum plum. I didn't do any  video this aft so i have included the full Pom Skua video from this mornings watch. Saint Mark arrived for the late shift and we don't know his totals yet
This is what was seen

Wednesday 9th August cont..11.00-18.00

Fulmar 105n
Manx Shearwater 33n
Gannet 697n
Teal 21n
Wigeon 7n
Tufted Duck 3n
Eider 3n
Common Scoter 152n
Goosander 10n
Oystercatcher 8s
Grey Plover 2n
Dunlin 3n
Bar tailed Godwit 2n
Redshank 15n
Turnstone 2s
Arctic Skua 3s
Bonxie 4n 1s
Little Gull 1n
Black h Gull 11n
Common Gull 1n 4s
GBBGull 52n
Sandwich Tern 80n
Arctic Tern 8n
Common Tern 26n

First half.......

1 Pom, 10 Arctic and 10 Great Skuas passed Whitburn Obs by 11am this morning. It's a game of two halves today some of us are back for the second half later. It started well and busy, I was joined by both Marks, Foss, and Stoney was in the house. We had a good selection of birds with Little Gull, Grey Plover and Pom taking the podium, but it went very quiet after 9 o'clock and the light deteriorated.
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 9th August 2017 04.50-11.00 N4 8/8 then 4/8

Gannet 1678n 106s
Oystercatcher 105n
Fulmar 223n 1s
Common Scoter 243n 27s
Dunlin 6n
Sandwich Tern 256n 104s
Common Tern 106n 26s
Bonxie 9n 1s
GBBGull 90n 11s
Manx Shearwater 86n 4s
Redshank 10n
Arctic Skua 4n 6s
Teal 19n
Arctic Tern 8n
Kestrel 1n
Common Gull 8n 5s
Ringed Plover 1n 1s
Golden Plover 3n 1s
Turnstone 3n
Little Gull 2n ads
Sanderling 2n
Grey Plover 1n
Ruff 1n
Eider 6n
Pom Skua 1n ad dp
Porpoise 1n
Puffin 2n
Shag 1n
Black h Gull 1s
Velvet Scoter 6n

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Michahellis or not that is the question........

 Black Guillemot and a Little Stint went south at Whitburn Obs by 09.10 on today's early watch. Typically i had popped out for a comfort break when Saint Mark shouted Black Guillemot, but i managed to get back and see my third of the year from the Obs. Stoney was in the house as well and they were both happy to get a year tick. It was my turn later when i called a small wader or Petrel going south, Saint Mark called Little Stint, an Obs lifer for me happy days.
It was that sort of day with a steady flow of birds without being crazy busy and you always felt the next bird could be the one
A Gull on the rocks looked good for Yellow legged but was a bit included below for opinions
This is what we saw in order of appearance

Wednesday 2nd August 05.00-09.10 SSE2 6/8

Swift 5s
Gannet 318n 205s
Common Tern 66n 158s
Arctic Tern  28s
Oystercatcher 3s
Redshank 2n 9s
Fulmar 3n 13s
Red th Diver 2n 1s
Common Scoter 411n 40s
Common Gull 1s
Manxie 22n 54s
Sandwich Tern 25n 133s
Dunlin 1n 21s
Teal 15n 7s
Ringed Plover 1n
Sanderling 2n 19s
Mallard 2s
Curlew 1n 1s
Sand Martin 28s
Knot 1s
Black Guillemot 1s 06.35
Little Stint 1s
Turnstone 1s
Shelduck 1s
Gull sp

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Thats entertainment......

 Sabs Gull and 2 Roseate Terns flew south at Whitburn Obs by 10.35 this morning. It was a slow start this morning so when an Arctic Skua took up residence in front of the Obs for a while i thought that's entertaining....
It soon picked up and being on my own it's difficult to see all the birds at this time of year with so many migrating. I always feel I'm missing more than I'm seeing, so when i looked through my bins for a change i just managed to get a piece of a Sabs Gull going south very close inshore. Had i been looking through my scope i would have missed the bird.
Pink Floyd was the much needed cavalry as Ducks were going through at all different heights and distances and we managed to steady the ship. The crab sandwich boys arrived and were shocked to find me still in the Obs, it just felt that anything could happen at any time....
This is what i saw in order of appearance

Tuesday 1st August 05.10-10.35 SSW2-3 6/8

Common Tern 8n 62s
Fulmar 2n 16s
Manxie 3n 2s
Sandwich Tern 52n 165s
Gannet 126n 27s
Arctic Skua 1n 2s
Common Scoter 709n 205s
Arctic Tern 10n 2s
Red th Diver 4n 1s
Redshank 40s
Whimbrel 33s
Oyster Catcher 54s
Eider 3n 9s
Turnstone 2n 2s
Dunlin 6s
Sabs Gull 1s 06.38
Knot 7s
Roseate Tern 2s 1ad 07.30
Goosander 6n
Curlew 5s
Teal 37n 5s
Puffin 2n
Purple Sandpiper 1s
Sanderling 7s
Ringed Plover 6n 2s
Swift 1s
Porpoise 1s
Dunlin 10s