Picture: Black Guillimot at South Gare, 10th January
1st January, 2007 – Northumberland
Sixty eight different species were seen today, covering Druridge, Cresswell and Newbiggin. Clara Vale and Barlow were visited on our return journey (County Durham). Two Goosanders were seen at QE2 Country Park, before moving on to Cresswell. Here we found a Great Northern Diver and a female Smew on the pond. A short distance from the pond a single Shorelark and several Twite were amongst a flock of Linnet. A Richardsons Canada Goose was amongst at least twenty Greater Canada Geese at east Chevington. A pair of Stonechat, four Common Snipe and good numbers of Common Scoter were seen at Druridge Country Park. A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at Newbiggin. Back in County Durham, a drake Manderin was seen at Sled Lane (near Crawcrook) and three Red Kites were observed from the Black Horse Pub in Barlow.
2nd & 3rd January, 2007 – North Norfolk
Sixty eight different species were seen during this 2 day visit to the North Norfolk Coast.
Day 1: A Barn Owl was seen on the outskirts of Kings Lynn shortly before arriving at Cley for day break. Up to seven Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier were seen here, but no sign of the reported Black–eared Kite. A Kingfisher was seen before departing for Morston. A mixed flock of finches included good numbers of Brambling (approximately 85) were seen on the outskirts of Morston. An intermediate Snow Goose was picked out amongst a large flock of Pink–footed Geese (1000+) that were feeding in a field close to Morston. Nine Shorelarks, nineteen Snow Buntings and five Sanderling were seen at Holkham. Holkham also produced White–fronted Geese, at least a hundred Brent Geese and up to ten thousand Pink–footed Geese. To end the day, we headed for Stubb Mill where Marsh Harrier (30+, including adult 2 males), Hen Harrier (1 male and 3 ringtails), Merlin (2+), Harris Hawk (escaped), Barn Owl (1) and Common Crane (2) were added to the list.
Day 2: On the second day, Avocet (10+), Pintal (5), Gadwall (3) and Egyptian Goose (1) were amongst several hundred Wigeon at Cley before seeing a Common Buzzard at Holkham. Titchwell produced very good views of five Bearded Tits, five Little Egrets, two Lesser Black–backed Gulls and several more Pintail. Large numbers of Common Scoter were on the sea. Red–throated Diver (1), Grey Plover (10+), Arctic Skua (1) and Black–tailed Godwit were also there.
5th January, 2007 – Croxdale
A very quick visit to Croxdale Hall produced good numbers of Nuthatch (10+), Long–tailed Tit (15+), Great Tit (10+), Blue Tit (20+), Coal Tit (10+), Chaffinch (2), Grey Heron (2), Jay (1), Great–spotted Woodpecker and a single Dipper. No sign of any Hawfinch in the few minutes that we were there.
7th January, 2007 – Escomb, Bishop Auckland & Newfield
Extremely quiet during this quick visit to several locations in the valley this afternoon. The only highlight was a Barn Owl on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland.
10th January, 2007 – Teesside
An adult Yellow–legged Gull was at Teesside Barrage. A drake Ring–necked Duck was at Hemlington with at least a dozen Tufted Ducks. Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (5), Pochard (4), Mallard (10+), Coot (2) and Moorhen (10+) were also there. The reported first winter Black Guillimot was seen at South Gare, along with a flock of approximately twenty Snow Buntings. Red–throated Diver (2), Shag (2), Cormorant (20+), Red Breasted Merganser (2), Guillimot (2), Razorbill (1), Turnstone (10+), Purple Sandpiper (2), Common Redshank (1), Oystercatcher (10+), Great Black–backed Gull (20+), Herring Gull (20+), Common Gull (10+) and Black–headed Gull (10+) were also there. Fourteen Barnacle Geese and at least ten drake Pintails were on Back Saltholme. Others here included Wigeon (40+), Teal (20+), Shoveller (at least four), Shelduck (2), Golden Plover (100+) and Lapwing (50+). At least 300 Starlings were at Dormans and a Merlin was in the field north of Zinc Road. A quick visit to Cowpen Bewley produced Woodpigeon (2), Blue Tit (2), Great Tit (1), Chaffinch (1), Tree Sparrow (10+) and Yellowhammer (20+). To finish the day, four Whooper Swans were seen flying south over Bishop Auckland.
13th January, 2007 – Escomb and Low Barns
Eighteen different species were seen at Escomb, which had good numbers of Redwing (25+), Blackbird (10+), Mistle Thrush (2) and Song Thrush (2). The Low Barns feeding station was not as busy as usual, but still had most of the usual visitors including Chaffinch (10+), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (2), Coal Tit (2), Nuthatch (1), Robin (2) and Dunnock (1). The West Pond had Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (2), Tufted Duck (4), Mallard (15+) and a drake Goosander (1 over). Eight Cormorants, two Coots, an adult Great Black–backed Gull and up to eight Goldeneye (including 2 displaying drakes) were seen on the Marston Lake. A Sparrowhawk was also seen on the return to the car. Disapointing to see only thirty different species during the two hour visit to the reserve.
14th January, 2007 – Croxdale
Two Hawfinches were seen, briefly at Croxdale Hall. Little Owl (1), Redwing (10+), Nuthatch (3), Mistle Thrush (2), Chaffinch (2), Blue Tit (20+), Great Tit (10+), Coal Tit (2) and Goldcrest (2) were also seen here. A quick stop at Newfield tip produced good numers of Great Black–backed Gull (80+), Herring Gull (50+) and Black–headed Gull (50+). Two female Goosander, three Mallard and a Moorhen were seen at the Batts.
16th January, 2007 – Bishops Park & Low Barns
Twenty five species were seen at Bishops Park, the highlight being a pair of Green Woodpeckers that were seen towards the top end of the park. Good numbers of thrushes were also in the area, which included Fieldfare (80+), Redwing (80+), Blackbird (10+) and Mistle Thrush (3). A quick visit to Low Barns provided good views of Lesser Redpoll (6+), Siskin (10+) and Goldfinch (4), which were seen in the tree tops close to the feeding station. The feeders were busy with all the usual visitors including Coal Tit (2), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (10+), Willow Tit (1), Marsh Tit (1), Nuthatch (1), Chaffinch (20+), Robin (2) and Dunnock (1). Cormorant (10), Goldeneye (5), Moorhen (1), Coot (1), Black–headed Gull (4), Herring Gull (2) and Jackdaw (20+) were also seen on and around the main lake.
18th January, 2007 – Byers Green & Newfield
Good numbers of Tree Sparrow (40+), Chaffinch (30+) and Yellowhammer (30+) were at Byers Green. Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (4), Goldfinch (2), Greenfinch (4), Blackbird (7) and Redwing (10+) were also there. A total of thirty three Collared Doves (27 in one tree) were also there. Newfield had good numbers of Gulls (3000c), which included Great Black–backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull and Black–headed Gull. I am sure there would have been more on the tip.
20th January, 2007 – Teesside
The Yellow–legged Gull was still at Tees Barrage and a single Water Pipit was at the pipe line, near Haverton. A single White–fronted Goose, four Pink–footed Geese and at least seven Barnacle Geese were amongst good numbers of Greylag Geese and Canada Geese. All the usual wildfowl were present, but no sign of any Ruddy Ducks.
21st January, 2007 – Hartlepool Headland
Red Throated Diver (1), Eider (30+), Common Scoter (35+), Sanderling (20+), Oystercatcher (30+) and Common Redshank (10+) were seen from marine drive. A single Velvet Scoter was seen flying south at this location. No fewer than forty eight Purple Sandpipers were between the first two breakwaters offering very good views for photography. Shag (1), Cormorant (2), Knot (30+), Turnstone (40+), Rock Pipit (1) and Pied Wagtail (2) were also there. Gulls present included Black–headed Gull (100+), Common Gull (10+), Herring Gull (30+) and Great Black–backed Gull (30+).
23rd January, 2007 – Low Barns
Twenty six different species were recorded in this thirty minute visit to Low Barns. The highlight was a flyover of approximately two hundred Greylag Geese.
24th January, 2007 – Bishop Auckland & Lower Teesdale
Good numbers of thrushes near Bishop Auckland Rugby Club, which included Redwing (50+), Blackbird (20+), Mistle Thrush (2) and Song Thrush (5). Two Treecreepers, four Great Tits, two Blue Tits, a single Robin and five Goldfinch were also in the area. Two Red Grouse were seen at Barningham and 100+ Fieldfare were seen to the west of the village. A further four Red Grouse were close to the Stang. By this time the weather had taken a turn for the worse and I was forced to return home earlier than I had hoped. Very few raptors were seen with a single Common Buzzard on the outskirts of Barnard Castle being the only sighting.
27th January, 2007 – Hetton & Tyneside
A large Owl was seen at sunrise (Hetton). Unfortunately, it was seen too briefly to confidently identify the bird (probably Short–eared Owl). Common Snipe (1), Willow Tit (1) and Water Rail (1) were the other highlights at this site. Four Waxwings were at Jarrow. Blackbird (10+), Redwing (20+), Mistle Thrush (2) and Song Thrush (1) were also there. A Black Redstart was seen to the north of St Marys Island, Whitley Bay. Several Rock Pipit, a Grey Wagtail and at least twenty Fulmars were also at this location.
28th January, 2007 – Newfield & Bishops Park
Bishops Park was very quiet until a large group of birds were found feeding on the edge of the park, which contained Brambling (1), Redwing (50+), Bullfinch (2), Chaffinch (5+), Coal Tit (2), Great Tit (20+), Blue Tit (20+), Nuthatch (2) and Treecreeper (2). A single Sparrowhawk and a male Kestrel were also in the area. Not as many gulls at Newfield today with Black–headed Gull (10+), Herring Gull (30+) and Great Black–backed Gull (20+) being the only birds present.
30th January, 2007 – Farnham, North Yorkshire
The reported juvenile Pacific Diver was at Farnham gravel pits. Little Grebe (2), Great Crested Grebe (1) and Coot (30+) were also there.
Picture: Ring-necked Duck at Low Barns, 28th February
1st February, 2007 – Teesside
Three Ring–necked Parakeets were at Ward Jacksons Park, Hartlepool. At Saltholme, a Short–eared Owl was seen opposite the fire station. Several Pintail were on the pools, along with at least one Great Crested Grebe. Greylag Goose (50+), Canada Goose (50+), Pink–footed Goose (6) and Barnacle Goose (7+) were at Back Saltholme. Good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Shoveller, Lapwing and Golden Plover were also in the area.
2nd February, 2007 – Bishops Park & Escomb
A Willow Tit was on the outskirts of Bishops Park. Long–tailed Tit (3+), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (5+), Goldcrest (1), Mallard (5), Goosander (1 female), Redwing (20+), Blackbird (10+), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), wren (2) and Robin (1) were also there. Three Goosander were on Escomb main lake (1 male and 2 female and a single drake flew downstream. Six Moorhens were on the River Wear. A single Skylark, singing at Etherley Moor.
4th February, 2007 – Etherley Moor & Low Barns
There has been plenty of activity on our Etherley Moor feeding station over the past day or two with Tree Sparrow (4+), Great Tit (3+) and Blue Tit (2+) all visiting the feeders and then nest boxes (looks like another good year for these species using our nestboxes). A pair of Long–tailed Tit have also been visiting the feeders more often than usual. A telephone call meant that I had to down tools and head for Low Barns. The Night Heron that I had been told about was seen in the trees on the other side of the pond. Unfortunately, the bird was just out of range for any decent photographs. A site first! A Grey Heron, at least ten Teal, several Moorhen, two Mallards and a Tufted Duck were also there.
5th February, 2007 – Local Two Barn Owls were seen on the way to a teaching session this evening. The first was seen at it’s usual location on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland and the second was at a new site near Barnard Castle.
9th February, 2007 – Gaunless Flats
At least 200 Fieldfare were at Gaunless Flats. Seven Mute Swans were on the fishing lake, which was almost completely frozen over. Redwing (1) and Blackbird (3) were also there.
14th February, 2007 – Tyneside
At least three Common (Mealy) Redpoll were amongst a group of Lesser Redpoll (25+) at Newburn. A single Lesser Black–backed Gull was seen with the numerous Great Black–backed Gull (50+), Herring Gull (100+), Common Gull (10+) and Black–headed Gull (400+). No sign of any hite winged gulls this morning. A single Red Kite was seen close to Barlow. Eleven Common Snipe were at Far Pasture.
17th February, 2007 – Low Barns
Two Common Gulls were amongst approximately 150 Black–headed Gulls. Five Goldeneye (2m & 3f), four Tufted Duck, four Mallard, a single Pochard and eleven Cormorants were on the main lake. A Grey Heron and three Teal were on the West Pond. A male Siskin, two Long–tailed Tits, two Nuthatch and a Marsh Tit were amongst the usual visitors to the feeding station. A Great–spotted Woodpecker, at least forty Redwing and a single Song Thrush were also there. A Green Woodpecker and a Tawny Owl were heard, but not seen.
18th February, 2007 – The Dales
A single Red Kite and two Common Buzzards were close to Kinninvie. Two female Black Grouse were seen, along with three groups of males (15, 6 & 3). Several Red Grouse were seen close to Rookhope. Five Curlew and very good numbers of Lapwing (400+) were seen. Fieldfare (100+) and Common Gull (100+) were also in the area.
20th February, 2007 – Bishops Park
A single Green Sandpiper was seen at it’s usual location (first time this year). Fifteen other species were seen, which included Green Woodpecker (1 heard calling), Curlew (1, back on breeding ground), Song Thrush (1, possibly 2) and Yellowhammer (1).
23rd February, 2007 – Low Barns
Seven Jays flew over the west pond, which held no fewer than nine Moorhen. Seven Teal, five Mallard, a male Pochard and a semi–lucistic female Goldeneye were also there. A female Reed Bunting was by the board walk, eight Cormorant were on the platform and two Oystercatchers were busy looking for suitable nesting ground. The feeding station was busy, with Long–tailed Tit (2), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (4+), Coal Tit (1), Marsh Tit (1), Willow Tit (1 probable), Nuthatch (2), Great–spotted Woodpecker (2), Chaffinch (10+), Dunnock (1) and Blackbird (2) all visiting regularly. A small group of Siskin made a brief appearance before we departed. Up to four Song Thrush were recorded at three seperate locations. At least two Green Woodpecker and a Tawny Owl were heard, but not seen.
24th February, 2007 – Escomb
Twenty three different species this afternoon. Two drake Goosanders were on the main lake and 2 – 3 Willow Tits were in the small wooded area by the River Wear. One of three Great Spotted Woodpeckers was busy excavating a nest hole.
28th February, 2007 – Low Barns
A drake Ring–necked Duck was on the main lake. At least thirteen Cormorants, ten Herring Gulls and two Oystercatchers were on the raft. Several Tufted Duck, nine Goldeneye (2 copulating), four Mallard and a single female Teal were also there. A Great Spotted Woodpecker, one Grey Heron, a hybrid Hooded Crow and at least sixty Siskin were seen whilst walking round the reserve. The feeding station was busy with all the usual birds. Long–tailed Tit (5), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (3+), Chaffinch (10+), Dunnock (1), Robin (1) and Blackbird (1) all recorded during a very quick 2 – 3 minute watch.
Picture: Ross's Goose at Snettisham, 3rd March
3rd March, 2007 – Norfolk
72 different species were recorded throughout the day. Golden Pheasant (1 female), Woodcock (9), Jay (2), Barn Owl (1 quartering the land to the north of the village), Sparrowhawk (1 female) and Common Buzzard (2) were seen at Winterton. Next up was Snettisham, where the long staying Black–eared Kite was seen. Hen Harrier (1 ringtal), Marsh Harrier (at least 3), Common Buzzard (2), Merlin (1) and Kestrel (1), Greylag Goose (100+), Canada Goose (50+), Egyption Goose (6+), White–fronted Goose (2), Brent Goose (2), Pink–footed Goose (200+), Barnacle Goose (12+), Ross’s Goose, a presumed Snow x Ross’s Hybridised Goose, Shorelarks (4 by rotary hide) and a Short–eared Owl were also seen.
6th March, 2007 – Low Barns
Drake Ring–necked Duck still present this afternoon, favouring the east end of Marston Lake.
13th March, 2007 – Low Barns & Etherley Moor
A Common Buzzard flew over the reserve, heading in a westerly direction. The lucistic female Goldeneye was on the west pond with a pair of Tufted Ducks. The hybridised Hooded Crow was seen close to the board walk and at least one Chiffchaff was heard calling. Eight Comorants were on the Marston Lake raft, with a pair of Oystercatchers. At least nine Goldeneye were also on the lake and a Curlew was heard calling several times. A pair of Grey Wagtails were on the River Wear. The feeding station was active with all the usual birds visiting regularly, including Nuthatch (1), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (4), Coal Tit (2), Long–tailed Tit (2), Dunnock (1) and Blackbird (1). Two nest boxes on our Etherley Moor feeding station look as though they will be occupied by Tree Sparrows this spring, with at least one pair taking in nesting material. A pair of Blue Tits are nest building in another nest box. A single Corn Bunting seen and heard during the past week.
14th March, 2007 – Dryderdale & Bishop’s Park
A pair of Goshawk were seen shortly after arrival. They were watched for approximately ten minutes (at a distance), displaying superbly before they went out of view. A Sparrowhawk, a male Kestrel and three Common Buzzards were the other raptors seen in the area. A pair of Skylark, a Grey Partridge, two Curlew, a Lapwing and a Meadow Pipit were also in the area. Bishop’s Park produced a Green Sandpiper (at it’s usual location) and a pair of Goosanders (on the River Wear).
17th March, 2007 – Witton Gate
A male Brambling (in full summer plumage) was seen on the approach to the trout lakes. A pair of Grey Wagtails were on the river.
18th March, 2007 – Escomb
A Chiffchaff and a single Grey Wagtail were seen by the River Wear. A drake Goosander was on the main lake.
24th March, 2007 – Low Barns
Thirty five different species seen during this late morning visit to the reserve. Noteworthy records included the sightings of two Chiffchaffs (at least two more heard), several Goldcrest, five Redwings and at least ten Goldeneye (including 2 males and the lucisitic female). Nine Cormorant, two Oystercatcher and a pair of Teal were on Marston Lake. Flyovers included two Grey Wagtails, two Mute Swans and a female Sparrowhawk. The feeding station was less active than usual. Nuthatch (2), Great Tit (1), Blue Tit (2) and Coal Tit (1) were the only birds seen, which was arguably caused by the presence of the local ringing group during the morning.
25th March, 2007 – Saltholme Pools
Forty four different species seen during this late morning visit to Saltholme Pools. The reported pair of Smew were still on Back Saltholme. A single Snow Bunting, an adult Peregrine Falcon, several Pintail and two Lesser Black–backed Gulls were also there. Geese in the area included Pink–footed Goose (24c), White–fronted Goose (1) and three hybrised geese amongst the usual Canada and Greylag Geese. The three Ring–necked Parakeets were seen with a selection of common garden birds at Ward Jackson Park in Hartlepool.
28th March, 2007 – Bishops Park
The Green Sandpiper was at its usual location. A pair of Dippers and a pair of Grey Wagtails were on the River Gaunless. Still no Kingfishers (usually two pairs)!
30th March, 2007 – Low Barns
Two Hawfinches were seen from the footpath by the River Wear. The feeding station was quite active with all the usual birds visiting regularly.
31st March, 2007 – Organised Tour of South Durham
Several Red Grouse and six Black Grouse were seen near The Stang. Shelduck (4), Mallard (2), Curlew (10+), Common Redshank (2), Golden Plover (50+), Red–legged Partridge (1), Lesser Redpoll (20+), Greenfinch (1) and Chaffinch (3) were also seen in the area. A thirty minute watch returned no raptors. A Northern Wheatear was close to Sleightholme Farm. Plenty of Fieldfare (50+), Starling (30+), Lapwing (20+) and Curlew (15+) were in the fields that surround the farm. Once again, the tour produced very few raptors with the only sighting beian a Common Buzzard that was seen on the outskirts of Bowes.
Picture: Linnet at Hartlepool Headland, 14th April
1st April, 2007 Organised Tour to Bollihope & Kinninvie
A male Ring Ouzel was at Bollihope along with three Grey Wagtail, several Red Grouse. Curlew (10+), Golden Plover (50+ flew west) and Lapwing (10+). A pair of Sparrowhawks were seen at Knitsley Fell, near Wolsingham. A Red Grouse and a pair of very close Roe Deer were also seen in the area. We had our lunch at a very peacefull Low Barns, before moving on to Kinninvie. Here we had excellent views of a single Common Buzzard and two Red Kites (one untagged).
2nd April, 2007 Escomb
Three Common Snipe were close to the West Pond, as was two Meadow Pipit. At least ten Tufted Ducks, two Coots and a single Moorhen were on the West Pond. Four Greylag Geese, two Mallards and several Coots were on Escomb Lake. At least twenty Common Toads were taking advantage of the warm weather in north–east corner of the lake (expecting plenty of spawn on the next visit).
4th April, 2007 Etherley Moor
A Corn Bunting has been singing for over two days. A pair of Tree Sparrows are still nest building in one of our nest boxes and a second pair have been investigating another nest box. A pair of Goldfinch visiting the feeders on a daily basis (for at least two weeks). At least ten Common Gulls and several Black–headed Gulls visited the lake and a Common Kestrel flew over heading in a southerly direction. Other birds included Bullfinch (2), Chaffinch (3), Goldfinch (5), Blue Tit (2), Great Tit (1), Long–tailed Tit (3), Rook (1), Carrion Crow (3), Magpie (2), House Sparrow (5) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (1).
4th April, 2007 Upper Teesdale
A quick stop at Kinninvie produced a wing–tagged Red Kite. Twenty one Black Grouse were seen at three seperate locations. Approximately ten Red Grouse were also seen, along with good numbers of Fieldfare (50+). A male Ring Ouzel was back on it’s breeding ground, along with two Northern Wheatear’s. Meadow Pipit (20+), Pied Wagtail (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Grey Partridge (2+), Black–headed Gull (4), Common Snipe (1), Common Redshank (5), Curlew (4+), Lapwing (30+), Kestrel (1) and Merlin (one briefly) were also in the area. Three Common Buzzards were seen on the return journey (near Kinninvie).
5th April, 2007 Hetton & Brasside
A single Jack Snipe was at Hetton Boggs, early morning. Mallard (2), Coot (2), Moorhen (1), Pheasant (1), Great–spotted Woodpecker (1), Dunnock (2+), Robin (1), Bullfinch (2), Chaffinch (1), Chiffchaff (5+), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (2+), Coal Tit (2), Willow Tit (2), Reed Bunting (6+) were also in the area. A pair of Goldeneye were on Brasside Pond. Approximately fifty Curlew were in surrounding fields.
6th April, 2007 Bishops Park & Escomb
The Green Sandpiper was at Bishops Park and at least ten Sand Martins were at Escomb.
7th April, 2007 Etherley Moor
A Corn Bunting was heard calling at 8am. At least two now singing / calling on a daily basis. The rest of the morning was spent at the feeding station, which is still very busy. Tree Sparrow (1 nestbox taken), House Sparrow (8+), Blue Tit (1 nestbox taken), Great Tit (2), Long–tailed Tit (2), Chaffinch (1 male), Greenfinch (5+), Goldfinch (2), Woodpigeon (3), Collared Dove (2), Blackbird (pair, taking food to the nest), Song Thrush (1), Robin (1) and Dunnock (5+) all visiting regularly. Pheasant (1) and Grey Partridge (1) have been visiting this past week.
7th April, 2007 Bollihope
An afternoon visit to Bollihope produced several Red Grouse and a single Ring Ouzel. Other birds seen during the afternoon included Merlin (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Pied Wagtail (at least 2), Meadow Pipit (10+), Chaffinch (2), Mistle Thrush (1), Common Gull (2), Black–headed Gull (20+), Curlew (5+) and Lapwing (10+). Before departing for Bollihope, we found the Green Sandpiper at it’s usual location (Bishops Park).
8th April, 2007 Hurworth Burn
At least one Long–eared Owl (possibly two) and a single Common Buzzard were seen from the old railway line. Other birds seen from the footpath included Sand Martin (5), Kestrel (1), Bullfinch (at least 2), Skylark (1+), Lapwing (5+), Curlew (2), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (4+), Long–tailed Tit (4+), Blackbird (2) and Yellowhammer (1 heard). At least twenty Tufted Duck were on the reservoir, along with seven Great Crested Grebe, five Goldeneye, three Cormorants, nine Wigeon, one Pochard and one Ruddy Duck. Approximately eighty Greylag Geese and at least ten Canada Geese were in surrounding fields. A pair of Little Owls, two Grey Partridge and approximately thirty Linnets were seen on the return journey.
10th April, 2007 Wear Valley
Shortly after arriving at Low Barns, fourteen Whooper Swans were seen heading north (flying just above tree top height). A pair of Willow Warbler were seen from the footpath. Other than good numbers of Tufted Duck (20+), ‘very quiet’. Three Sand Martins were seen at The Batts (at least another seventy were at Escomb). Two Swallows and at least thirty Tufted Duck were also at Escomb.
13th April, 2007 Bishops Park
A pair of Common Redstart and at least ten Willow Warblers were seen at the top end of the park. A Common Sandpiper was on the River Wear. Chiffchaffs are now calling at most suitable locations. No sign of the Green Sandpiper this morning. A further 26 species were seen during the early morning walk round the park including Green Woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Dipper (1 on the River Gaunless / Wear inlet), Common Treecreeper (3+) and Yellowhammer (10+).
14th April, 2007 Teesside
Fifty one different species were recorded during this morning visit to Teesside. Two Northern Wheatears were at Hartlepool Headland (Jewish Cemetery) and a single Grey Partridge was close by (in the railway sidings). A Ruff was seen at Zinc Road. Three Little Egrets were on Coatham Marsh, along with good numbers of Shelduck (20+). A Little–ringed Plover was on the roadside pool island and at least one Whimbrel was near Saltholme roundabout with at least twenty Curlew (plenty of these around). The reported drake Garganey was showing very well on Back Saltholme, along with at least two Pintail (drake and female). A drake and three female Goldeneye were also there. West Saltholme pools were also productive, with Great–crested Grebe (4) and Little Grebe (2) looking very nice in their full summer plumage. White–fronted Goose (1), Pink–footed Goose (at least three), Greylag Goose (50+) and Canada Goose (20+) were also there.
15th April, 2007 Low Barns & Bishops Park
Missed a male Hawfinch, which was caught by the local ringers and released five minutes before arrival. Two male Blackcaps singing close to the visitor centre. A third male Blackcap was seen at Bishops Park.
19th April, 2007 Bishop Middleham
A quick visit to both the Roadside Pool and Castle Lake produced thirty five different species. A Little Owl was seen close to the roadside pool, which was very quiet. Two Shelducks, two Common Gulls, two Common Redshank were on the pool, whilst a Willow Warbler was singing in the trees. The White stork was quickly found on Castle Lake. Other birds of interest here included Green Sandpiper (1), Common Sandpiper (1+), Little–ringed Plover (1), White Wagtail (1), Yellow Wagtail (2), Swallow (4+) and Sand Martin (200c).
21st April, 2007 Hamsterley Forest
A Grey Heron was on the river, along with a single Grey Wagtail. Several Song Thrushes were seen along the forest drive. Willow Warbler (5+), Chiffchaff (3+), Blackcap (1 singing), Green Woodpecker (1 female) and a couple of Jays were also seen.
25th April, 2007 Teesside
A pair of drake Garganey, two Black–necked Grebe, two Yellow Wagtail and at least two Common Tern were amongst the usual birds that can be found on Back Saltholme. A White–fronted Goose and two Pink–footed Geese were also there. A single Northern Wheatear was seen with two Curlews to the rear of West Saltholme. Sedge Warbler (1), Common Whitethroat (1), Willow Warbler (1) and at least four Reed Bunting were close to Dormans Pool. Five Whimbrel, several Black–tailed Godwit and a handfull of Bar–tailed Godwit were seen on the way to the headland. At least thirty Northern Wheatear were in the field to the north of Zinc Road, along with Stonechat (2), Skylark (5), Meadow Pipit (2) and Golden Plover (5 in full summer plumage). At least eight Purple Sandpipers were seen at Hartlepool Headland, along with good numbers of Turnstone and a single Wheatear. A single Corn Bunting was observed singing on roadside wires at Etherley Moor. A perfect way to end an excellent day out.
26th April, 2007 Upper Teesdale
Thirty two Black Grouse were seen at three seperate locations. Approximately ten Red Grouse were also seen, along with good numbers of Lapwing (30+), Curlew (20+), Common Redshank (10+), Pheasant (20+), Meadow Pipit (30+) and Common Buzzard (10+). A female Ring Ouzel was back on it’s breeding ground, along with at least five Northern Wheatear’s. Other interesting sightings today included a pair of Dippers flying up the main road from the River Tees towards Egglestone Hall and back (a pair of Grey Wagtail were on the river here), a single Peregrine Falcon over Widdybank Fell, four Common Sandpipers near Langdon Beck and excellent views of a Water Vole, also near Langdon Beck. A wing–tagged Red Kite and a single Sparrowhawk were seen on the return journey (near Kinninvie).
28th April, 2007 Teesside
A Garganey and a Greenshank were seen on Back Saltholme Pools. At least eighty Common Swifts, fifty Sand Martins and ten Swallows were also there. Good numbers of Sedge Warblers (20+) were at dormans with Common Whitethroat (2) and Grasshopper Warbler (1 heard reeling) also there. Only three Northern Wheatear were in the field to the north of Zinc Road (over thirty there on Wednesday). A Whinchat and two Whimbrel were close by. A Weasel was seen on the Long Drag.
28th April, 2007 Bishops Park
Two Oystercatchers, a single Curlew and four drake Mallards were on the small pond. A Common Whitethroat was seen close–by.
29th April, 2007 Tunstall Woods
A pair of Blackcaps, two Song Thrushes, a single Dipper and two Common Sandpipers were seen at Witton Gate. Tunstall Woods produced four Pied Flycatchers (2 pairs), at least three Common Redstart, a Garden Warbler and a single Wood Warbler. Other species that were recorded included Green Woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1+), Nuthatch (3+), Treecreeper (5+), Blue Tit (2+), Great Tit (2+), Coal Tit (2), Long–tailed Tit (1), Willow Warbler (5+) and Chaffinch (4+). Two Red Grouse were seen at Knitsley Fell and the regular Corn Bunting was at Etherley Moor.
Picture: Wood Sandpiper at Seahouses, 30th May
3rd May, 2007 Knitsley Fell
A male Blackcap and a single Garden Warbler were in full song near the entrance to witton Castle. Treecreeper (3+), Willow Warbler (5+) and Chiffchaff (2+) were also there. Two Tree Pipits were seen at Knitsley Fell, along with Greylag Goose (7), Lapwing (2), Meadow Pipit (1), Skylark (2), Red Grouse (2), Willow Warbler (3+), Chiffchaff (1), Blackcap (1) and Linnet (10+). A Green Hairstreak butterfly and at least three Large Red Damselflies were also seen.
5th May, 2007 Etherley Moor
Shortly after midnight, a Barn Owl was heard calling from the tree lined hedge row to the rear of our feeding station. Corn Buntings are now seen / heard at most times of the day and House Martins are nest building. Tree Sparrows, House Sparrows, Blue Tits and Starlings (2) are feeding young.
6th May, 2007 Bracks Wood
Seventeen different species were seen during this short visit to a local wood, with many of the birds in full song, including at least five Garden Warblers. Willow Warbler (5+), Chiffchaff (2+), Robin (2), Wren (2), Song Thrush (2) and Bullfinch (5+) were also there. A pair of Dippers and a single Grey Wagtail were on the Gaunless.
7th May, 2007 Upper Teesdale
Very windy on the moors, during this forenoon visit to Upper Teesdale. Twenty Black Grouse, seventeen Red Grouse, a pair of Grey Partridge and five Northern Wheatear were near Langdon Beck. Greylag Goose (4 over), Common Sandpiper (6), Golden Plover (4), Lapwing (10+), Curlew (5+), Dunlin (1), Oystercatcher (2), Common Redshank (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (1), Meadow Pipit (4+), Skylark (1) and Dipper (1) were in the same area. Six Common Buzzard and a male Stonechat were near Kinninvie.
10th May, 2007 Etherley Moor
A Cuckoo was heard, very close to the feeding station.
12th May, 2007 Teesside
The reported Pectoral Sandpiper was seen on Back Saltholme with good numbers of Dunlin (80+) and a single Grey Plover. Four Little Gulls, two Lesser Black–backed Gulls and at least seven Common Terns were also there. Swallow (30+), House Martin (10+), Sand Martin (10+) and Swift (10+) were in the area with a probable middle–eastern (savignii, transitiva) race Swallow being amongst them. Reed Bunting (2), Stonechat (2) and Sedge Warbler (1) were on Zinc road.
13th May, 2007 Bishops Park
Two Common Sandpipers were on the River Wear and at least four Common Whitethroats were in the area (very vocal). Two Willow Warblers, two Chiffchaffs, several Common Swifts and at least two House Martins were also there.
16th May, 2007 Teesdale
A wing–tagged Red Kite and two Common Buzzards were close to Kinninvie. Two Black Grouse and only one Red Grouse were also seen (amongst the usual upland birds), during this visit to Middleton–in–Teesdale.
20th May, 2007 Deepdale & Knitsley Fell
Two Spotted Flycatchers, a pair of Blackcaps and at least three Bullfinches were near the entrance to Deepdale. A male Pied Flycatcher was heard and then seen just after the clearing. A pair of Dippers and a Common Sandpiper were seen on the River Tees. Plenty of Swifts (20+) and Swallows (10+) in the air. A Tree Pipit was seen at Knitsley Fell. Linnet (10+), Sparrowhawk (1 female) and a Common Buzzard were also there. No sign of any Cuckoos. A pair of Spotted Flycatchers and a male Kestrel were seen opposite Bedburn Cotteges. The pond was quiet with no Moorhen, Mallard or Greylags that are usually there.
23rd May, 2007 Upper Teesdale
Three Red Grouse (plus several young), a Common Buzzard, a male Kestrel and a pair of Stonechats were near Kinninvie. A Red Kite, a Sparrowhawk and a probable Goshawk were seen on the outskirts of Egglestone. Six Black Grouse were at Langdon Beck, before seeing a pair of Spotted Flycatchers by the river at Harwood. Four Grey Partridge, two Common Sandpipers, a pair of Grey Wagtails and at least three Common Snipe (two displaying) were also in the area. A short walk along the path at Cow Green produced a Golden Plover and a single Ringed Plover, amongst the usual Lapwings and Curlews.
26th May, 2007 Teesside
Two Curlew Sandpipers, two Little Gulls and at least one Little Stint were at Back Saltholme. Greenshank (1), Ringed Plover (20+) and Dunlin (100+) were also there.
27th May, 2007 Saltholme Pools
A Broad–billed Sandpiper, three Little Gulls, three Garganey (2 males and 1 female), a Little Stint and two Little–ringed Plovers were at Back Saltholme. Ringed Plover (20+), Dunlin (100+) and Yellow Wagtail (2+) were also there.
28th May, 2007 Saltholme Pools
A report of a Temminck’s Stint meant yet another visit to Saltholme Pools. Shortly after arrival the bird was thought to have been seen amongst 20+ Dunlin and a pair of Wigeon, but after a closer look this bird was identified as a Little Stint. The Broad–billed Sandpiper was still present, along with only one Little Gull. Wet and windy conditions made it hard work, but the Temminck’s Stint was eventually seen on the end of the causeway at 1845pm. Loads of Common Swift (100+), Swallows (30+), House Martins (20+) and Sand Martins (10+) over the pools. A Long–tailed Duck was amongst the usual wildfowl at East–Saltholme. A pair of Garganey were seen on the Calor Gas Pool, before having superb views of a Little Egret on West Saltholme Pool. Four–spotted Chaser (1) and Common Blue Butterfly (1) were seen at Greatham Creek, before seeing three Stonechats on Greenabella. Zinc Road was fairly quiet with Sedge Warbler (1) and Reed Bunting (2) being the only birds worth noting. The road to North Gare was just as quiet with Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon being the only birds seen.
29th – 31st May, 2007 Beadnell, Northumberland
A very wet and windy day on Tuesday resulted in very few birds. A quick stop to check a pond to the the north of Seahouses on a dry wednesday afternoon produced an immaculate Wood Sandpiper, a Little Stint and two Dunlins. Also Mute swan (2), Shelduck (2), Greylag Goose (1), Coot (2), Moorhen (1), Swallow (20+), House Martin (5+), Sand Martin (5+), Swift (2), Meadow Pipit (2), Skylark (1) and Pied Wagtail (1). An early morning visit to Seahouses on Thursday produced a Rock Pipit, which displayed superbly in the harbour. Eider (30+), Grey Heron and Ringed Plover (15+) were also there. Just to the south of the harbour, a Kittiwake (a colony of 500+) and at least two Fulmars were seen. A short walk from here, a Northern Wheatear and a Sedge Warbler were found (Seahouses Golf Club). A trip to the Farne Islands produced the usual numbers of Cormorant, Shag, Guillimot, Razorbill, Puffin, Eider, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern and Black–headed Gull. I kept hoping to see Roseate Tern, but no joy. Birds seen during the crossing included Gannet (30+), Great Black–backed Gull (5+), Lesser Black–backed Gull (10+), Herring Gull (30+), Common Gull (2), Kittiwake (5+), Black–headed Gull (20+) and Swallow (2). Canada Goose (100+ north), Turnstone (10+), Curlew (1), Linnet (10+), Goldfinch (4+), Greenfinch (1), Chaffinch (2), House Sparrow (10+), Robin (2), Mistle Thrush (2), Song Thrush (2), Blackbird (2), Collared Dove (5+), Woodpigeon (10+), Carrion Crow (10+), Rook (4) and Jackdaw (10+) were other birds seen.
Picture: Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Waskerley, 21st June
2nd June, 2007 Low Barns
At least one Reed Warbler was in the reed mace opposite the new board walk. Little Grebe (2), Mute Swan (2), Tufted Duck (7), Mallard (4), Swallow (2), Sedge Warbler (3+) and Reed Bunting (3+) were also there. A pair of Great Crested Grebes were observed displaying / copulating on Marston Lake, viewed from the south hide. Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Green Woodpecker (1 heard), Jay (1), Common Sandpiper (1 on the River Wear), Blackcap (male & female), Garden Warbler and Wren (3) were also in that area. Other warblers seen during the visit included Common Whitethroat (3), Chiffchaff (4) and Willow Warbler (3). Banded Demoiselle (1), Four–spotted Chaser (2), Azure Damselfly (1), Common Blue Damselfy and Blue–tailed Damselfy were seen throughout the reserve.
7th June, 2007 Caerlaverock
The reported White–winged Lapwing was seen from the Avenue Tower and an adult Cuckoo was seen resting on wires to the north of the footpath.
11th June, 2007 Hamsterley
Several Woodcock were roding at a site on the outskirts of Hamsterley Forest. A female Nightjar was seen at very close range at a new site for this species. At the same location, a male was heard churring in the distance.
14th June, 2007 Saltholme Pools
The reported Red–necked Phalarope was seen on back saltholme. A pair of Avocet, a Little Stint, a Knot and a Yellow Wagtail were also seen.
17th June, 2007 Bishop Middleham
A Corn Bunting and a pair of Grey Partridge were seen on the approach road to the quarry. A Green Woodpecker and a Chiffchaff were seen in the quarry, but the star attraction here today were the butterflies. Common Blue (10+), Brown Argus (5), Northern Brown Argus (2+), Meadow Brown (5+), Ringlet (1), Small Heath (4+), Large Skipper (3+) and Dingy Skipper (1) were all seen. Three Bee Orchids were also found. There were very few birds on the roadside pool, with Lapwing (2) and Moorhen (1) being the only birds present. Two Corn Buntings, five Yellowhammer, several Little Grebes and a pair of Little–ringed Plover were at Castle Lake. A Lesser Whitethroat was close–by. Elsewhere, there has been young Long–tailed Tits visiting the garden and a second brood of Tree Sparrows will soon be leaving a garden nest box. The Blue Tits have failed to fledge any young this year with eleven eggs found in the nest. Corn Buntings are still on the moor and the local Barn Owl still shows most evenings.
20th June, 2007 Teesdale
Black Grouse (1), Red Grouse (family of at least six), Common Buzzard (5) and Stonechat (1) were seen at their usual locations. A family of at least four Common Redstart and a colony of Sand Martin (100+) were seen close to Middleton–in–Teesdale.
21st June, 2007 A68
Cuckoo (1), Garden Warbler (1), Willow Warbler (1), Chiffchaff (1), Common Whitethroat (1), Chaffinch (1+) and Jay were seen at a site just off the A68.
23rd June, 2007 Etherley Moor
At least three Tree Sparrows fledged in the early hours of this morning and families of Great Tit, Long–tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Starling and House Sparrow are all visiting the feeders. A male Common Kestrel is hunting the back field on a daily basis, as are the resident House Martins. At least twenty Common Swift flew over between rain showers this afternoon. Also a Sparrowhawk. On a sadder note, the Blue Tit nest box had to be cleaned this morning as they haven’t visited for over a week. The target species of Small Pearl–bordered Fritillary was found after a short wait. Other butterflies were Dingy Skipper (1), Large Skipper (5+), Small Heath (3+), Small White (3+), Red Admiral (1) and Painted Lady (2). Silver Y (1) and Latticed Heath (20+) moths were also seen.
28th June, 2007 Teesside
A Great White Egret, a female Marsh Harrier and an adult Little Gull were on Dormans.
Picture: Cuckoo at Zinc Road, 14th July
1st July, 2007 – Low Barns
Seven Grey Herons, two Little Grebes and a single Kingfisher were seen on the West Pond. A family of at least three Common Redstarts were between here and the boardwalk. The river level was fairly high so nothing was to be seen there. The Oystercatchers appear to have succesfully reared two young (on the raft) and the Mute Swans have five cygnets. Common Swift (10+), Sand Martin (20+), Swallow (2), Common Whitethroat (3), Garden Warbler (2), Chiffchaff (at least 5 heard), Willow Warbler (at least 5 heard, 1 seen), Reed Warbler (1), Sedge Warbler (2), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Bullfinch (2) and a Stoat were also seen.
3rd July, 2007 – Wingate
Arrived just after a heavy rain shower, with a target species of Marbled White butterfly. At least twenty Common Swift and three Swallows flew over the quarry. A male Common Kestrel, several Jackdaws, a Green Woodpecker and two Robins (including one juvenile) were also in the quarry. Butterflies included two Marbled White and one Common Blue. There was also good numbers of Ringlet (30+) and Meadow Brown (25+).
14th July, 2007 – Zinc Road & Seaton Snook
At least eleven Little Terns and twenty Sandwich Terns were on the snook with singles of Common Tern and Arctic Tern. Ringed Plover (10+) and Dunlin (6+) were also there. A juvenile Cuckoo was seen at the end of Zinc Road. Skylark (3+), Meadow Pipit (2), Stonechat (1 female and 1 juvenile) and at least three Reed Buntings were in the same area. A pair of Lesser Black–backed Gulls were at Tees Barrage, but there was no sign of the Yellow Legged Gull. There was also no sign of any White–letter Hairstreak Butterflies at a nearby site, probably caused by todays high winds. During the past week, a male Siskin visited the feeding station on Etherley Moor.
15th July, 2007 – Bishops Park
A very quiet visit to the park this afternoon brought a total of eighteen different species. A female Blackcap and at least three Common Whitethroats were busy gathering food. Single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were close–by. Lesser Black–backed Gull (3), Black–headed Gull (3+), Oystercatcher (2) and Lapwing (6+) were seen near the pond on the new golf course.
22nd July, 2007 – Etherley Moor
A pair of Greylag Geese flew over heading towards Escomb. Common Swift (1), Swallow (5), House Martin (20+) and Grey Partridge (1 calling) were also in the area. A pair of Tree Sparrows are once again taking nesting material to their nest box, ‘could this be a third brood’?
22nd July, 2007 – Bishops Park
Another quiet visit to the park produced three Blackcaps (2 male and 1 female), two Common Whitethroats, a Yellowhammer, a Wren and male and female Banded Demoiselle’s. Butterflies included Large White (1), Small White (3), Green–veigned White (1), Red Admiral (1), Comma (2), Meadow Brown (2) and Small Skipper (2).
24th – 31st July, 2007 – Scotland
The trip started wet and windy, which was to remain with us throughout this two week trip to Scotland visiting areas such as Loch of Strathbeg, Speyside, Applecross Peninsula, North Skye, Fort William and finally Loch Lomond.
Our first stop was at Mintlaw (24th – 26th), which was nice and handy for an early morning visit to the Loch of Strathbeg. A Common Buzzard and a female Marsh Harrier were seen shortly after arriving, along with at least ten Tree Sparrows. Two Corn Buntings, several Linnets, a Sedge Warbler, a family of Wrens and two Goldfinch were observed en–route to the hide. Shoveller (2 females), Shelduck (1), Common Terns (50+), Arctic Terns (10+), Ruff (2), Greenshank (2), Redshank (1), Common Snipe (2), Black–tailed Godwit (3) and Oystercatcher (2) were in and around the pools. Common Swift (1), Sand Martin (5+), House Martin (2), Swallow (50+) were also there. The loch itself held at least seventy Mute Swans (no sign of the summering Whoopers), at least fifty female Goldeneye, thirty Cormorant, ten Pochard, one Tufted Duck, two Great Crested Grebe and a further three Corn Buntings. Later on the same day (25th), a photography session at Deer Abbey near Mintlaw provided us with the journeys first Ospreys, which showed very well as they drifted over, heading in an easterly direction. An evening visit to St. Combes produced Kittiwake (30+), Gannet (10+) and Common Tern (30+). The best find here was a single Long–tailed Skua, which was seen resting briefly on the sea before continuing south.
The next day we traveled to Speyside (26th – 29th). By now, a total of seventy–three different species had been seen. Siskin (3), Spotted Flycatcher (2), Willow Warbler (2) and Chiffchaff (1) were seen with a mixed flock of tits at Dalraddy. Red Squirrels (3) were also seen here. Ospreys were seen at three seperate locations. One was seen carrying a fish that it had just caught, presumably from Loch Alvie. One was at Loch Vaa and two were seen at Loch Insh. Common Buzzards were at several locations and a Pergegrine Falcon was seen near Dalraddy. The surprise find where raptors is concerned was a Hobby, which was seen amongst a large group of herundines on the 27th (am). Mistle Thrush (3), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1) and Chaffinch (10+) were seen at Boat Of Garten, with three Red Squirrels. Crested Tits were seen at three seperate locations, but there was no sign of any Crossbills.
Next was the short trip to Lochcarron (29th – 31st), where we hoped to see Ptarmigan on what the locals call the pass of the cattle. The total now was eighty–three different species. An early morning visit to the north end of Lochcarron (30th) produced a total of eleven Grey Herons, two Common Buzzard and a very quick glimpse of what could have been the trips first Golden Eagle. Loch Kishorn was quite, but productive. Greenshank (1), Common Sandpiper (1), Northern Wheatear (5+), Stonechat (1), Meadow Pipit (10+), Goosander (3+) and Eider (10+) were a selection of the birds seen here. The target bird of Ptarmigan was not found on the pass of the cattle, but there were Raven (3), Golden Plover (1 in full summer plumage) and a single Wheatear on the summit. This journey is definately not for the cautious or the nervous driver, but I believe the journey isn't too bad once you adjust to the height. Pick a fine day, because poor visibility will make finding Ptarmigan very hard (as in our case). Amongst the more regular birds, Applecross produced Red–throated Diver (3), Black–throated Diver (3), Red–breasted Merganser (10+), Rock Pipit (2), Shag (10+) and Black Guillimot (2).
Picture: Common Buzzard at Kilmuir, 2nd August
31st July – 7th August, 2007 – Scotland
The poor weather continued in to the second week, visiting North Skye, Fort William and finally Loch Lomond. The birdwatching was hard going in the sometimes very wet and windy conditions, but we still managed to see some good birds bringing the trip total to 113.
In North Skye (31st July – 3rd August), Uig bay had Gannets (seen at close range) and a selection of Gulls. A Black Guillimot (1) Common Buzzards (2), Hooded Crow (3+), Peregrine Falcon (1) and Stock Dove (10+) were also seen at Uig. At least thirty Twite were at Kilmuir, along with three Rock Doves, two Whinchat and several Northern Wheatear. Five Raven, at least ten Hooded Crows, three Sedge Warbler and a single Grasshopper Warbler (seen reeling) were close–by. An adult Golden Eagle and two White–tailed Eagles (Juvenile & a second year) were seen at Portree. A Merlin was observed chasing three Meadow Pipits at very close range close to Quiraing. The hunting ability of the Merlin was fantastic to watch and will stay with us for a very long time, excellent.
Fort William (3rd – 5th) provided some pleasant birdwatching. Loch Linnhe held at least thirty Red–breasted Mergansers, at least twenty Canada Geese, ten Eiders, three Mallards, five Cormorants and three Curlews. The surrounding area proved to be very productive. One road held Whinchat (3+), Stonechat (2+), Meadow Pipit (30+), Tree Pipit (2+), Spotted Flycatcher (1+), Willow Warbler (3+), Chiffchaff (2), Siskin (10+), Greenfinch (4+), Chaffinch (10+), Bullfinch (1), Raven (3) and Common Buzzard (2+). Several Scotch Argus butterflies were seen at Glen Nevis.
Loch Lomond (5th – 7th) was surprisingly quiet. There was the odd sighting of common garden birds such as Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, etc., but the highlight was the sighting of a single Osprey, which was seen over Loch Lomond. Glen Fruin was once again the most productive location here. Swallows (20+), Meadow Pipit (20+), Pied Wagtail (3+), Grey Wagtail (2), Stonechat (2), Pheasant (20+), Common Buzzard (2), Kestrel (3+), Carrion Crow (20+) and Hooded Crow (4+) being at there usual locations. There was strong evidence showing that the Barn Owl was still present, although not seen on this occasion.
8th August, 2007 – Kibblesworth
A teaching session at Beamish this afternoon meant that I had a chance to visit a small selection of sites in south Tyneside. The birdwatching was very poor, with only several common birds seen. Butterflies included Grayling (1), Comma (1), Small Heath (20+), Meadow Brown (2), Small White (10+) and Wall Brown (5+).
12th August, 2007 – Bishop Middleham
Two Egyptian Geese were amongst at least 180 Greylag Geese in a field close to the A1 flashes. A Greenshank and at least five Ringed Plovers (including four juveniles) were on Castle Lake. Other birds in the area brought the total number of species seen to a total of thirty two. The Tree Sparrows on Etherley Moor are now feeding young for the third time this year. A Great Spotted Woodpecker visited our Etherley Moor feeding station this morning and a Willow Warbler was in the garden two days ago. Starling numbers are slowly increasing, with a count of at least 70 on the wires yesterday evening.
13th August, 2007 – South Shields
At least two Roseate Terns were amongst Common Tern (20+), Arctic Tern (10+), Sandwich Tern (10+) and Little Tern (3) on Sandhaven Beach this morning. Gulls included Great Black–backed Gull (20+), Lesser Black–backed Gull (10+), Herring Gull (100c), Common Gull (2), Black–headed Gull (100c) and Kittiwake (5). Waders included Oystercatcher (2), Common Redshank (2), Turnstone (1) and Sanderling (10+). Other species seen this morning included Cormorant (30+), Eider (7), Guillemot (5), Carrion Crow (7), Starling (50c), Linnet (10+) and Goldfinch (70+).
15th August, 2007 – Castle Lake, Bishop Middleham
Four Greenshank, three Ruff and three Common Sandpiper were with the reported Wilson’s Phalarope this evening.
17th August, 2007 – Castle Lake, Bishop Middleham
An early morning visit to the lake proved very relaxing and worthwhile. Waders included Wilsons Phalarope (1), Greenshank (at least 2), Ruff (5), Ringed Plover (5+), Little Ringed Plover (2), Dunlin (7) and Common Sandpiper (1). Four Canada Geese were amongst Greylag Geese (150c). Wildfowl included Little Grebe (8+), Mallard (20+), Tufted Duck (10+) and Shelduck (1). Not so many herundines about this morning with only a handfull of Sand Martins seen. Other birds in the immediate area included Linnet (20+), Goldfinches (50+), Meadow Pipit (5c) and Pied Wagtail (20+).
23rd August, 2007 – Bishop Middleham Quarry & Teesside
The first stop this afternoon was the quarry at Bishop Middleham, where we were hoping to see Northern Brown Argus amongst the variety of butterflies that can be found there. The target species was not found, but Large White (1), Small White (2), Wall Brown (10+), Meadow Brown (2+), Peacock (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Small Copper (2), Small Heath (3+) and Common Blue (10+) were seen. The first stop on Teesside was Seaton Snook, which is normally good for Terns and Waders. The birdwatching on this occasion proved to be hard going with Great Crested Grebe (2), Sandwich Tern (20+), Common Tern (4+), Little Tern (6+), Oystercatcher (100+), Knot (10+), Common Redshank (10+), Curlew (10+), Whimbrel (1 over), Dunlin (10+) and Cormorant (10+) being the only birds seen. Instead of going for the reported Sabines Gull that was lingering offshore (distantly), we decided to go to the marshes. Here we found the usual variety of wildfowl and waders, which included Common Teal (50+), Shoveller (3), Gadwall (10+), Black–tailed Godwit (10+), Curlew (10+), Ringed Plover (3), Dunlin (2), Ruff (2) and Curlew Sandpiper (2 probables). A Yellow Legged Gull was at Tees Barrage.
27th August, 2007 – Bishops Park, The Batts
A Green Sandpiper and a Grey Heron were found on the outskirts of the park. A Kingfisher and six Mallards were seen on the River Wear. Butterflies included Peacock (2), Small Copper (1), Wall Brown (2), Peacock (1) and Small White (2).
31st August, 2007 – Etherley Moor
The Tree Sparrows appear to have had their finalbrood for the year with the last bird fledging on 22nd August. A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a single Willow Warbler passed through the garden earlier in the month. Herundines have slowly decreased in numbers during the month, with seven House Martins seen going south today and two visiting the eaves in Croftside estate. Starling numbers have been increasing as the month progressed building up to a maximum of approximately 500.
Picture: Wren at Etherley Moor, 8th September
1st September, 2007 – Etherley Moor
A Sparrowhawk visited the feeding station for it’s second day.
2nd September, 2007 – Teesside, Haverton Hole
A female Mandarin was amongst the usual wildfowl that can be found on the allotment ponds, with no sign of the reported Blue–winged Teal during this two hour visit.
7th September, 2007 – The Batts, Bishops Park
The regular Green Sandpiper was at it’s usual location, along with a single Curlew and no fewer than twenty seven other different species of birds. Warblers were gathering in numbers for the first time this autumn, with the highlight being a single Lesser Whitethroat (site tick). Other warblers included Common Whitethroat (2), Garden Warbler (1), Willow Warbler (5+), Chiffchaff (2+) and Goldcrest (1). Herundines included Swallow (30+), House Martin (10+) and Sand Martin (3+). A Sparrowhawk was also seen.
8th September, 2007 – Etherley Moor
Approximately 250 Starlings were on the wires and there was plenty of herundines in the clear blue sky including House Martin (20+) and Swallow (20+). Carrion Crow (25+), Jackdaw (10+) and Rook (20+) numbers are beginning to increase. A male Kestrel was also hunting the area. The feeding station itself included House Sparrow (30+), Tree Sparrow (3+), Greenfinch (3+), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (3+), Coal Tit (1), Blackbird (3+), Willow Warbler (1), Dunnock (3+), Robin (1) and Wren (1). Butterflies included Red Admiral (7+), Painted Lady (2) and Small Copper (1). Two Bank Voles were also seen.
9th September, 2007 – Teesside
The reported eclipse drake Blue–winged Teal was found on the allotments pool, along with several Common Teal, several Mallard and at least three Shovellers. Three Little Grebe, five Gadwall and upto nine Common Snipe were also there. Three Pintail, a Kingfisher and a Sparrowhawk were seen at Dormans. Two Little Egrets were on the roadside pool at Greatham Creek. Curlew (3+), Redshank (10+), Goldfinch (4+) and Linnet (30+) were also at this location. At least ten Stonechat, a Whinchat and a single Meadow Pipit were seen from the car on Zinc Road.
13th September, 2007 – Lanchester
A Dipper was on the river. Nearby, approximately sixty Pink–footed Geese were seen heading in a southerly direction.
14th September, 2007 – Teesside
A Barnacle Goose was seen with approximately twenty Canada Geese on Back Saltholme. At least four Ruff were also there. Another Ruff, several Black–tailed Godwits, a Common Snipe and at least three Common Redshanks were the other birds of note on Saltholme Pools. A Marsh Harrier drifted over Dormans. Four Little Egrets were on the roadside pool at Greatham Creek. A Weasel entertained us for at least three minutes whilst looking for seals. Zinc Road was surprisingly quiet with no sign of the numerous chats that were seen on the last visit to this location. Meadow Pipit (3) and Common Redshank (1) were the only birds seen here. Hartlepool Headland proved to be productive where at least ten Purple Sandpipers and a single Rock Pipit were seen with the usual waders and gulls. Red–throated Diver (1), Brent Goose (6), Gannet (1+), Arctic Skua (3+), Great Skua (1) and a probable Sabines Gull were seen off–shore. A large skein of geese was seen in the distance, but too far out to confidently identify them (local reports suggest that these were Pink–footed Geese).
22nd September, 2007 – Escomb
Thirty four different species were seen during a two hour walk around the western side of Escomb. A Common Whitethroat and several Chiffchaffs were amongst a small gathering of the usual birds to be found in the hedge rows. I tried to string a Willow Warbler, but it was not to be :–). Two Jays were seen fying over the lake on a number of occasions. Two Pochards and at least ten Tufted Ducks were on the main lake. Two Great Crested Grebes were on the fishing lakes. A Dipper was on the river. Butterflies included Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Speckled Wood (1). Two Common Darters were seen on the edge of the main lake and an unidentified hawker was in the tree tops close–by.
Picture: Sanderling at Hartlepool Headland, 21st October
6th October, 2007 – Teesside
The regular Yellow–legged Gull was at Tees Barrage. No sign of the reported Buff–breasted Sandpiper at Saltholme Pools, but Little Egret (2), Water Rail (2), Pintail (2), Little Stint (4), Spotted Redshank (1), Greenshank (1), Barnacle Goose (16) and Pink–footed Goose (1) were the birds of note at this location. Birds of note at seaton Snook included a single Brent Goose and an unidentified tern, possibly a juvenile Black Tern. A female Stonechat was on Zinc Road.
7th October, 2007 – Hartlepool Headland
At least three (possibly four) Yellow–browed Warblers were at the Headland today. Also Fieldfare (1), Chiffchaff (1), Willow Warbler (1) and Purple Sandpiper (at least three).
13th October, 2007 – South Shields Leas
A Mediteranean Gull was amongst at least thirty Black–headed Gulls by the car park at Marsden Bay. The reported Barred Warbler proved to be a hard bird to get good views. The only decent views of the bird was several, 3 – 4 second spells when it landed after a short flight in to the hedge that runs from Marsden Grotto to the Leas. At least two Purple Sandpipers were seen with Oystercatchers (20+) and Turnstones (10+).
14th October, 2007 – Dawdon Blast & Hartlepool Headland
Not much at Dawdon Blast with the highlight being three Redwing and a Reed Bunting. A Mediteranean Gull was amongst Black–headed Gulls (15+), Herring Gull (20+) and Great Black–backed Gull (10+) at Hartlepool Headland. At least three Arctic Terns were fishing just to the north of the first sea break. A Rock Pipit, approximately fifteen Purple Sandpiper and thirty Knot were also there.
20th October, 2007 – Upper Teesdale
Black Grouse (10+, at seperate locations), Red Grouse (several near Kinninvie and a single near Egglestone), Grey Partridge (2 at Harwood) and large numbers of Pheasants were seen this morning. Fieldfares were present at most locations, ‘several groups, each containing at least 100 birds’. There was only one group of Redwing, containing at least 80 birds. Raptors included Common Buzzard (3), Red Kite (1 near Kinninvie), Sparrowhawk (1 near Langdon Beck) and Kestrel (3). Other birds worth mentioning included three Stonechats near Kinninvie and a Jay near Langdon Beck Hotel. The Barn Owl was also seen sunning itself at it’s usual location.
21st October, 2007 – Teesside
First stop todat was Hartlepool Headland where we found Oystercatcher (20+), Knot (20+), Sanderling (3) and Turnstone (20+) feeding on the beech. At least twenty Common Eider were offshore along with a small group of Common Scoter (8+). A Mediteranean Gull was seen between the two break waters (probably last weeks individual), along with at least twenty Purple Sandpipers. A Merlin was seen on the road to North Gare and a Little Egret was seen on the tidal pool at Greatham Creek. A single Curlew Sandpiper was seen here with several Dunlin. A pair of female Scaup were on East Saltholme Pool. Spotted Redshank (1), Black–tailed Godwit (10+), Common Snipe (1) and two Little Egrets were also there. A second Merlin was kindly pointed out to me by one of the local birders, ‘thank you’. A Pink–footed Goose was amongst the many Greylag and Canada Geese. The Yellow–legged Gull was at Tees Barrage.
26th October, 2007 – Low Barns
Small groups of Fieldfare (10+) and Redwing (40+) flew over the reserve late morning, along with Golden Plover (70+) and Lapwing (7+). Two Water Rails were heard, but not seen. Three female Goosanders, a Dipper and at least two Grey Wagtails were on the river. The feeding station and surrounding woods held it’s usual selection of birds including Carrion Crow (1), Hooded Crow (1 hybrid), Jay (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (possibly 2), Nuthatch (2+), Blue Tit (4+), Great Tit (6+), Coal Tit (4+), Marsh Tit (3+), Willow Tit (1), Long–tailed Tit (2+), Chaffinch (3+), Dunnock (2), Robin (1), Siskin (15+) and Blackbird (2). Little Grebe (1+), Grey Heron (1), Cormorant (2+), Mute Swan (5), Greylag Goose (2), Pochard (2m and 3f), Tufted Duck (10+), Mallard (5+), Teal (10+), Moorhen (10+), Coot (5+), Herring Gull (5+), Common Gull (30+) and Black–headed Gull were on the ponds.
27th October, 2007 – Etherley Moor
Two seperate groups of thrushes flew over Croftside this morning containing at least seventy Fieldfare and fifty Redwing. Several Blackbirds were also in the area. At least five Tree Sparrows were visiting the feeders along with House Sparrow (15+), Dunnock (3), Robin (2), Wren (1), Starling (10+), Blue Tit (3) and Great Tit (3+). Carrion Crow (10+), Rook (30+), Jackdaw (10+), Common Gull (10+) and Black–headed Gull were also seen.
28th October, 2007 – South Gare & Teesside
At South Gare there was at least ten Bar–tailed Godwits were amongst Turnstone (100+), Common Redshank (10+), Ringed Plover (5) and Dunlin (3). Three Goldcrest, a Robin and a Dunnock were in the Shrike Bushes. Back on Saltholme Pools, Little Stint (1), Golden Plover (100+), Lapwing (50+) and three Little Egrets were on the back pool. Several Black–tailed Godwit were on the east pool. At least sixteen Brent Geese were on the field behind the power station. Two Razorbill and four Guillimot were seen in the estuary.
Picture: Short-toed Lark at Long Nanny, 25th November
3rd & 4th November, 2007 – Local & Teesside
The Etherley Moor feeding station is busy, with good numbers of House Sparrow (40+) visiting regularly. Tree Sparrow numbers are down, with only a maximum of four visiting. Starling numbers have also reduced from the 350+ to approximately 50. At least one Sparrowhawk is still attacking the feeders on a daily basis. A morning visit to Witton Castle (Saturday, 3rd) produced Redwing (5+), Blackbird (2), Chaffinch (10+), Bullfinch (2), Goldfinch (5+), Robin (2), Wren (1), Siskin (10+), Blue Tit (1), Pheasant (1) and Grey Wagtail (1 over). An afternoon visit to Tees Barrage produced the regular Yellow–legged Gull and a single Cormorant. On Sunday, a visit to Hartlepool Headland proved to be very relaxing and rewarding. Approximately nine Pomarine Skuas were seen off the Headland, along with at least five Little Auks. At least one White–fronted Goose was seen amongst a group of Pink–footed Geese (80c) heading south. Great Northern Diver (3 south), Puffin (1 close in–shore) and Velvet Scoter (2) were a small selection of the other birds seen here. No sign of the Mediterranean Gull on the rocks, but there was at least twenty Purple Sandpiper and a single Rock Pipit there. At least twenty Twite were at Seaton Snook. Female Merlin, four Brent Geese, a Great Northern Diver and at least three Razorbill were also in the area. A juvenile Merlin was seen to the north of Zinc Road. Female Scaup was amongst the usual wildfowl on East Saltholme.
6th November, 2007 – Bishops Park, The Batts
A Little Grebe was on the River Wear. Several Redwing, three Blackbirds and a Song Thrush were close–by. A group of at least ten Tree Sparrows were found at a new site, situated to the north of Binchester Roman Fort.
10th November, 2007 – South Tyneside
A very quiet visit to Far Pasture produced a single Little Grebe and four Teal. Several Redwing and two Red Kites were seen flying over Thornley Wood. Thornley Wood car park and feeding station proved much more rewarding. Excellent views of Jay (5+) and the usual woodland birds including Nuthatch (2+), Bullfinch (2+), Chaffinch (10+), Wren (1), Robin (2), Dunnock (2), Blue Tit (3+), Great Tit (2+), Long–tailed Tit (3+) and Coal Tit (5+). Carrion Crow (1), Magpie (1), Woodpigeon (5+) and Stock Dove (3+) were other birds seen. A Fox put in a brief appearance before departing. A quick stop at Hetton Bogs produced at least three seperate Water Rails. At least ten Moorhens, two Willow Tits, eight Siskins, two Reed Buntings, two Mallards and Sparrowhawk (1) were also seen here. A Kingfisher was heard but not seen.
23rd November, 2007 – Escomb
Eight Goosanders were on the main lake, four males and four females. Two Pochard and two Mute Swans were also there on this late afternoon view from the top road.
24th November, 2007 – Etherley Moor
Two Fieldfares visited the bushes behind the feeding station.
25th November, 2007 – Long Nanny, Northumberland
A Sparrowhawk visited the Etherley Moor feeding station shortly before departing for the Short–toed Lark that had been reported in Northumberland. At least five Stonechat were seen on the walk to the location where the bird was last seen (footbidge at Long Nanny). A group of Twite (20+) showed well, but there was no sign of the lark in a 30 minute wait. A Grey Heron and a selection of the usual gulls and waders were seen whilst scanning for the lark. The Short–toed Lark was relocated to the south–east of the bridge and showed well enough for a few record shots before it was disturbed by three other photographers who wouldn’t stop stalking the bird. A quick stop in High Newton for a Firecrest that had been seen earlier proved difficult. The Firecrest was not seen, but Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (1 seen catching a small mammal), Blackbird (2), Great Tit (5+), Blue Tit (3+), Robin (2), Dunnock (2+), Chaffinch (1), Wren (3) and Goldcrest (2+) were present.
28th November, 2007 – Croxdale
Not too much happening here today. Highlight being at least a 150 Redwing covering the tree tops and fields around Croxdale Hall. At least one Hawfinch was reported as being seen here today.
Picture: Black-throated Diver at Jacksons Landing, 1st December
1st December, 2007 – Teesside
Four Bewicks Swans (including one juvenile) were on Dormans and a brief view of what could have been a Whooper Swan at the same location. A Little Egret was taking shelter from the weather at East Saltholme. A wide variety of wildfowl was also on Saltholme Pools, the highlight being three superb male Pintails. Lapwings (150+), Golden Plover (150+) and a small selection of other waders occasionally took to the air, indicating the presence of raptors (none seen here today). The reported Black–throated Diver was at Jacksons Landing, along with at least four Red–breasted Mergansers and a couple of Cormorants. No sign of the regular Mediterranean Gull at Hartlepool Headland, but there was the usual selection of waders including Oystercatcher (10+), Knot (50+), Sanderling (2), Turnstone (20+), Common Redshank (10+) and Purple Sandpiper (2). At least 150 Common Scoters and a Red–throated Diver were off Marine Drive. Four Ring–necked Parakeets were at Ward Jacksons Park with other common garden birds such as Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit, etc.
2nd December, 2007 – Cromer Point, Burniston
The reported Desert Wheatear was found between the coastal path and the water works station. A pair of Stonechat were close–by. Very wet today, so I decided to head for home soon after viewing the bird. Poor weather prevented me taking the camera which was a let down as the views were sometimes as close as 10–15ft.
9th December, 2007 – Teesside
A single Mediterranean Gull was amongst the usual gulls on the rocks between the two sea walls. Cormorant (10+), Eider (10+), Oystercatcher (10+), Turnstone (20+), Common Redshank (10+), Knot (30+), Curlew (1), Purple Sandpiper (3+), Pied Wagtail (1) and House Sparrow (10+) were also there. A Red–throated Diver was off marine drive, along with a large flock of at least 150 Common Scoter. A Merlin was seen off Zinc Road and a second Merlin was observed hunting at Seaton Snook (later seen resting on a post opposite the power station). There was just enough time to see a pair of Stonechat before the rain arrived. Three Pintails were amongst the usual wildfowl at Saltholme Pools with no sign of the reported female Scaup. Lapwings were in good numbers, with at least 400 present.
13th & 14th December, 2007 – Escomb
An early afternoon visit to Escomb Lake on the (13th at 1230pm) produced twenty seven Tufted Duck, fifteen Mallard, three female Goldeneye and a pair of Wigeon. Two Mute Swan, ten Coot, three Moorhen, c50 Black–headed Gulls, c10 Common Gull and three Herring Gull were also on the main lake. At least thirty Siskin flew over the footpath that runs along the south side of the lake. Wren (1), Robin (2), Dunnock (2), Great Tit (3+), Blue Tit (4+), Starling (30+), House Sparrow (20+), Blackbird (2+), Song Thrush (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 heard), Magpie (4), Bullfinch (3), Chaffinch (1) and Reed Bunting (4+) were also seen around the lake side.There was no sign of the Wigeon on the 14th (late afternoon, 1500pm) and the Tufted Duck numbers had reduced to ten. However, three more Goldeneyes (females) and a pair of Teal had joined the wildfowl on the lake. A Fieldfare was on the northern side of the lake, along with at least five Reed Buntings. Seven Goosanders were on the River Wear, with a pair of Little Grebe. A Little Owl was seen on the return to the car.
15th December, 2007 – Etherley Moor
Sixteen Fieldfare, four Redwing, a Herring Gull and a Common Gull flew over the feeding station this morning whilst I was topping up the feeders. The feeding station itself is still attracting good numbers of House Sparrows (30+) and Starlings (10+). Tree Sparrow (2), Chaffinch (1), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (2), Woodpigeon (2), Carrion Crow (1), Jackdaw (2), Magpie (1), Blackbird (3), Wren (1), Dunnock (2) and Robin (2) were also seen during a half hour watch. Kestrel (1) and Sparrowhawk (1) have been seen on an almost daily basis during the past week. Song Thrush (1), Linnet (1) and Goldfinch (1) were also seen during the past week.
23rd December, 2007 – Bishops Park, The Batts
An early afternoon visit to the batts area of Bishops Park produced it’s usual variety of birds. A mixed flock of Finches & Tits were seen shortly after leaving the car and a female Sparrowhawk was circling over the area. Three Grey Herons and a Little Owl were seen in the valley. A female Goosander was on the River Wear. Thrushes included Mistle Thrush (2), Song Thrush (1), Fieldfare (1), Redwing (2) and Blackbird (10+).
26th December, 2007 – Low Barns
A late afternoon visit to the reserve proved to be very quiet, probably due to the ponds still being mostly frozen over. The only notable birds was the return of the leaucistic female Goldeneye with four other Goldeneyes (1m & 3f) and a small flock of at least twenty Siskin.
28th December, 2007 – Teesside
First stop was Tees Barrage where the regular Yellow–legged Gull was seen amongst other gulls. Cormorant (1) was also there. A Water Pipit (possibly two) was seen in the field opposite the pipeline at Haverton Hole. A single Ruff and at least ten Golden Plovers were amongst several hundred Lapwings at Back Saltholme. Two Barnacle Geese (possibly more) were with Canada Geese (30+) at the same location. Four Bewicks Swans and at least ten Pintails were the pick of the birds at Dormans. Great Black–backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull and Black–headed Gulls were everywhere this afternoon, with varied numbers at each location.
30th December, 2007 – Etherley Moor
Two Tawny Owls calling close to the feeding station at approximately 8pm (1 seen at close range).