January & February 2018
Picture: Desert Wheatear at Whitby, 4th January
1st January, 2018 – Etherley Moor
First bird of the year was Woodpigeon (1), followed closely by Blackbird (1), Tree Sparrow (3), House Sparrow (10+) and Chaffinch (2).
1st January, 2018 – Teesside
A Green-winged Teal was on West Saltholme with Common Teal (20+) and Pintail (10+). A drake Goosander and several Ring-necked Parakeets were best birds at Ward Jackson Park. A Lapland Bunting was with Linnets (70+) on grassland between Newburn Bridge and Seaton Carew. Purple Sandpiper (5), Sanderling (10+), Knot (70+), and Mediterranean Gull (1) were at Newburn Bridge. A Green Sandpiper was seen from Phil Stead Hide at Saltholme. A total of 69 species were seen during the day.
4th January, 2018 – Whitby & Saltholme
The reported Desert Wheatear was seen in the field between the Abbey and the car park. A Kestrel and three Mistle Thrush were also there. We stopped off at Scaling Dam during the return journey and got good views of Ruff (3), Red Grouse (1), Hybrid American Wigeon (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Tree Sparrow (3+), Greenfinch (1), Goldfinch (2), Chaffinch (3), etc. We then made the short journey to Danby Beacon, were we seen fifteen Snow Buntings and at least seven Red Grouse. The final stop of the day was RSPB Saltholme, where Water Rail (1), Brambling (1), Peregrine (1), Merlin (1), Barnacle Goose (40+) and Common (Mealy) Redpoll (1) were added to the day list.
5th January, 2018 – Northumberland
First stop was Stag Rocks and Budle Bay. Despite the heavy rain, we still managed to see Red-throated Diver (1), Red-breasted Merganser (1), Common Scoter (100c), Long-tailed Duck (15c), Shag (3+), Fulmar (2) and Razorbill (2). Next stop was East Chevington, which was very quiet. Best here was an Otter, a pair of Stonechat and a Song Thrush. A Great Northern Diver was at Widdrington Moor Lake. Druridge Pool was quiet (no sign of Water Pipits) and the final stop of the day was for Hawfinch at Morpeth (no joy).
6th January, 2018 – Teesside
Two Egyptian Geese were close to Haverton Pipe Line.
7th January, 2018 – Northumberland
Four Hawfinch were seen at Abbey Mill near Morpeth. The Great Northern Diver was still at Widdrington Moor Lake. A Water Pipit was seen from Budge Screen at Druridge Pools. Iceland Gull and Glaucous Gull were at Blyth. Dipped the Firecrest at Northumberland Park, early to mid-afternoon.
8th January, 2018 – Prestwick Carr, Newcastle
The long staying Great Grey Shrike showed well at Prestwick Carr, but always too far away from public right of way for photography. Common Buzzard and Fieldfare were also there. Stopped off at far Pasture before picking up the family, where I got good views of Red Kite (4), Willow Tit (1), Nuthatch (2) and other regulars.
20th January, 2018 – Bishop Middleham
A single Hawfinch was seen near Castle Lake and the reported drake Red-crested Pochard was still at Hardwick Hall.
27th January, 2018 – Escomb
A Little Owl was seen at its usual location.
28th January, 2018 – Teesside
A Long-eared Owl (possibly two) were seen at Haverton Scrub. A Spotted Redshank was at Salterns with several Common Redshanks and an Iceland Gull was at Hartlepool. Tried for Short-eared Owl at a number of locations with no joy.
1st to 28th February, 2018 – Etherley Moor
Due to a broken hand, I didn't manage to get out during February. Birds seen in and around our Etherley Moor garden during the month included 100+ Linnet, 30+ Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Starling, 50+ Rook, 50+ Jackdaw, 30+ Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow & Wren
March & April 2018
Picture: Black Redstart at Skinningrove, 4th April
24th March, 2018 – Weardale & Escomb
First decent run out since breaking my hand (lift provided by Duncan Fraser). The Snowy Owl, which has been seen at 2-3 locations on the east side of the country wasn't reported today, so we went looking for Goshawks in Weardale.
Skylark (2 singing pairs), Tree Sparrow (4), House Sparrow (4+), Greenfinch (2), Chaffinch (3), etc. were seen before being picked up from home at Etherley Moor. A Goshawk (female) and 2 Common Buzzards were seen close to Hamsterley. 8+ Black Grouse, 20+ Red Grouse, 2 Grey Partridge, 4 Raven (2 pairs at one location), 1 Little Owl, 10+ Snipe and 10+ Fieldfare were pick of the birds as we moved up Wear Valley and into Teesdale.
We stopped off at Escomb on the way back. Pick of the birds here included Barn Owl (2), Nuthatch (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Goosander (1), Goldeneye (3) and Grey Wagtail (1). The mixed flock of Linnet (30+), Yellowhammer (6+) and Reed Bunting (3+) were viewed in the treeline when returning to Etherley Moor.
29th March, 2018 – Musselburgh
Discharged from hospital on Tuesday, first day driving on Wednesday and first twitch of the year for a lifer today (Thursday). Very nice (much needed) run out. American White-winged Scoter (1), Surf Scoter (1-2), Velvet Scoters (15+), Long-tailed Duck (3+), Shag (1), Guillimot (3), Gannet (1), Sandwich Tern (2) and a probable Slavonian Grebe were seen at Musselburgh. Ring-necked Duck (1), Raven (1), Common Buzzard (1) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (2) were at Duddingston. A Grey Phalarope was at Low Newton by the Sea.
4th April, 2018 – Skinningrove
Enjoyed a couple of hours at Skinningrove before the heavy rain started with Black Redstart (2-3), Northern Wheatear (1m & 2f), Rock Pipit (1), Pied Wagtail (1), Stonechat (2), Wren (3+) and Robin (1) being the best birds seen.
5th April, 2018 – Escomb
Had a late afternoon visit to Escomb and was pleased to see Swallow (2), Sand Martin (8+), Oystercatcher (2), Great Crested Grebe (2) and ChiffChaff (4-5) back on site.
6th April, 2018 – Escomb
Two visits to Escomb today with 42 different species seen. Best birds included Blackcap (3-4 males), Willow Tit (3 in 2 seperate territories), Common Buzzard (1), Sparrowhawk (1) and Barn Owl (1).
14th April, 2018 – Bishop's Park (am)
Started the day with a couple of hours at Bishops Park looking for Common Redstart and other returning migrants. No redstarts, but I did see Willow Warbler (1), ChiffChaff (3+), Green Woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Nuthatch (2), Treecreeper (2), Song Thrush (1) and more.
14th April, 2018 – South Gare (pm)
Black-necked Grebe (1), Firecrest (1), Ring Ouzel (1) and Black Redstart (1) were best birds seen during this afternoon visit to South Gare. Stopped off at Seaton on the way back and managed to get a brief view of a male Northern Wheatear in the power station field. Didn't try for the G.W.Egret (Greenabella) and Garganey (Saltholme).
15th April, 2018 – Saltholme
Garganey (at least one drake opposite entrance to RSPB Saltholme), Little Gull (7+ on East Saltholme) and Little Owl (injured near Cowpen Bewley park and taken to Saltholme, where it will hopefully recover from its injuries) were the best birds seen today. No joy with the cranes that flew over Saltholme whilst looking at the Little Gulls and no joy with the reported White Stork at Gaunless Flats.