Sightings 2010

Welcome to my sightings page for 2010, where I aim to display a compilation of my birding and wildlife sightings and experiences from that year.  For up to date reports of sightings, please consider following me on my Facebook, Twitter and Flickr pages.

January 2010

Picture:  Black-throated Thrush at Newholm, 17th January

1st January, 2010 – Etherley Moor
Poor weather conditions persuaded me to do some local birding today (4 inches of snow with snow showers throughout the day).  Two Blackbirds were the first birds of the year, soon followed by Robin (2+) and Great Tit (2+). Several House Sparrows, four Dunnocks, four Tree Sparrows, one Wren and a female Chaffinch were other visitors to the feeding station.  Five Jackdaws, twenty Starlings, two Carrion Crows, ten Common Gulls and a Colared Dove flew over Croftside. A male Bullfinch was in the hedgerows.

1st January, 2010 – Low Barns
The feeding station was very active with two Moorhens, a female Pheasant, three Robins, two Dunnocks, three Nuthatches, ten Chaffinches, four Great Tits, four Blue Tits, six Coal Tits, three Marsh Tits, five Blackbirds, four Jackdaws, two Carrion Crows, two Magpies and a single Jay visiting during a twenty minute observation.  A group of at least thirteen Siskin were seen whilst walking around a fully frozen Marston Lake. A second group of approximately one hundred Siskin were in the trees on the opposite side of the River Wear.  Two Grey Herons, two Mute Swans, a Moorhen, four Common Teal and at least twenty Mallards were on the only unfrozen part of the west pond.

2nd January, 2010 – Hartlepool Headland
Woke up to clear skies, so I decided to go to Teesside in the hope of seeing some of the recently reported birds. Managed to view a handfull of decent birds before the heavy snow showers arrived, forcing an early return home.  A Peregrine Falcon and a Ring–necked Parakeet were seen before reaching Jacksons Landing, where the reported Great–northern Diver was seen with approximately fourteen Red–breasted Mergansers and twenty Cormorants.  I then decided to do a bit of seawatching and a single Slavonian Grebe was seen from the seawatching point before heavy snow forced an early return home (better safe than sorry).

3rd January, 2010 – South Gare
Another night of heavy snow meant a late start, eventually leaving for South Gare at 1230.  No sign of the Yellow–legged Gull at Tees Barrage. Four Fieldfares and a single Redwing were seen close to the Riverside Football Stadium.  The reported Black Redstart was seen from the board walk at the pilot station. Robin (2), Dunnock (1), Wren (1) and Cormorant (10+ in the estuary) were also seen from this location.  Approximately one hundred Snow Buntings were on the seaward facing beach. Dunlin (10+), Oystercatcher (20+), Golden Plover (4), Common Redshank (7), Starling (40+), Skylark (10+), Meadow Pipit (10+), Pied Wagtail (2) and Reed Bunting (4) were also there.

8th January, 2010 – Low Barns
Snow and freezing temperatures has so far, made travelling very hard this year and despite only light overnight snow showers, today was no exception. I was going to head for the coast, but with temperatures hitting minus 10 and very slippy roads, I decided to visit Low Barns.  Six Common Teal, four Moorhens and a single Mallard were on the only unfrozen part of the West Pond (approximately 6 x 4 foot in size). Two Grey Herons were close to the waters edge and a Cormorant flew over the pasture, heading towards the fishing lakes.  A Little Grebe and at least five Mallards were on a partially frozen River Wear.  Wren (2), Greenfinch (5), Goldfinch (2 with Siskins), Bullfinch (2), Siskin (2 singles and a group of at least twelve), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Long–tailed Tit (10+), Coal Tit (4+), Blue Tit (6+) and Great Tit (4+) were seen whilst walking around a very cold Low Barns.  The feeding station was quite active with at least five Robins, two Dunnocks, two Nuthatches, ten Chaffinches, two Great Tits, four Blue Tits, four Coal Tits, two Marsh Tits and four Blackbirds visiting during a ten minute observation. Several Greylag Geese, four Jackdaws, a Magpie and a Carrion Crow were also seen whilst watching the feeders.

16th January, 2010 – Newholm & Teesside
The reported Black–throated Thrush was seen at first light, but the heavy rain and a cold southerly wind stopped a number of good photograph opportunities in a two hour stay. Still a considerable amount of soft snow at Scaling Dam. A big thank you to the birder that helped me get out of the car park. The reservoir was fully frozen, so birding was not good at this location.  Approximately twenty Brent Geese were in fields on the way to Cowpen Bewley. Brambling (2), Tree Sparrow (50c), Yellowhammer (10+), Reed Bunting (10+), Greenfinch (3), Goldfinch (2), Chaffinch (5), Dunnock (3), Robin (2), Woodpigeon (3, including one juvenile), Pheasant (1), Great Tit (3), Blue Tit (4) and Coal Tit (2) visited the car park feeding station whilst I was there. Also one Brown Rat. A Mediteranean Gull was at Newburn and the Great Northern Diver was still at Jacksons Landing.

17th January, 2010 – Newholm
The weather was much better today, so I decided to have a second look at the the reported Black–throated Thrush at Newholm, North Yorkshire. The bird was not seen for almost an hour but when it did show, it made the journey well worthwhile.

22nd January, 2010 – Etherley Moor
A male Sparrowhawk caught a female House Sparrow on the feeding station. Tree Sparrow (2), Dunnock (2), Great Tit (1) and Blue Tit (2) returned to the feeders soon after. Strangely, no House Sparrows (I wonder why).

23rd January, 2010 – Tees Barrage
A family trip to Teesside Park gave me the opportunity of visiting Tees Barrage, where the regular wintering Yellow–legged Gull was seen at it’s usual location.

24th January, 2010 – Teesside
The first stop was for the reported first winter Glaucous Gull at Saltburn, which was seen soon after arrival. The weather was poor and there was a dozen or so dog walkers in the area, so I decided to stand under the pier and wait for the bird to come to me. It dropped within shooting distance for about two minutes before being disturbed and flying further up the beach. It continued to be disturbed for a further twenty minutes before flying out to sea. A Rock Pipit came to within five feet of me, but it was simply too dark to get anywhere near a decent photo.  Two Pink–footed Geese were at Haverton. Twenty Brent Geese (one dark–bellied) were in a field close to the tip. An immaculate drake Ring–necked Duck was at Cowpen Bewley. The feeding station was quite busy, so I decided to stay for 10 – 15 minutes hoping to see Brambling (no joy).  Saltholme Pools held the usual variety of birds. A Little Egret, a Smew (red–head), several Pintails, two Redwings and a Sparrowhawk were the pick of the birds. The recently reported Hooded Merganser was also seen.  A Long–tailed Duck, a Velvet Scoter, at least fifty Common Scoter, a Guillimot and at least forty Eider were off Parton Rocks. Great Crested Grebe (1), Rock Pipit (1), Pied Wagtails (2), Turnstone (10+), Knot (5), Redshank (10+), Purple Sandpiper (1), Ringed Plover (2), Curlew (2), Oystercatcher (7) were seen between the two water breaks at Hartlepool Headland.  There was no sign of the Great Northern Diver or any Red–breasted Mergansers at Jacksons Landing (possibly caused by a small powerboat that was being put through it’s paces). The regular Mediteranean Gull was seen at Newburn.  A Short–eared Owl, a female Red–breasted Merganser and at least seventy Twite were seen at Greenabella. Bar–tailed Godwit (7), Black–tailed Godwit (10+), Grey Plover (5) and Dunlin (40+), were the pick of the birds at Seal Sands. Good numbers of Common Seal with the odd Grey Seal were also seen here. All the usual gulls seen throughout an excellent days birdwatching.

30th January, 2010 – Silksworth
The reported Black–necked Grebe showed very well at Silksworth, Sunderland. Tufted Duck (20+) and Pochard (1) were with good numbers of Mallard (30+). Herring Gull (4+), Common Gull (10+), Black–headed Gull (40+), Coot (10+) and Brown Rat (1) were also seen.

31st January, 2010 – Teesside
The long staying Great Northern Diver and at least five Red–breasted Mergansers were at Jacksons Landing.  A Black Redstart, two Stonechats, two Pied Wagtails, a Robin and at least one Rock Pipit (40+) were seen at Newburn.  Red–throated Diver (3), Cormorants (20+), Shag (2+), Slavonian Grebe (1), Velvet Scoter (1), Common Scoter (50+), Long–tailed Duck (1), Eider (50+), Rock Pipit (1), Pied Wagtail (1), Curlew (1) and Turnstone (10+) were seen whilst walking round Hartlepool Headland.  The tide was well and truly in now, so I decided to have a second visit to Newburn. No sign of the Black Redstart, but in addition to this mornings birds I did see Mediteranean Gull (1), Knot (10+), Purple Sandpiper (20+), Sanderling (3), Ringed Plover (30+), Turnstone (10+) and Common Redshank (10+).

February 2010

Picture:  Rose-coloured Starling at Kendal, 14th February

7th February, 2010 – Escomb
A very dull day with low cloud making it wet and miserable. Four Mallards, a Coot and a Tufted Duck were on Escomb Lake. Two Mute Swans, three Common Gulls and approximately twenty Black–headed Gulls were on the small pond (a group of approximately eighty Siskins flew over whilst I was there). At least ten Moorhen were on the banks of the River Wear.

7th February, 2010 – Etherley Moor
A male Sparrowhawk had an unsuccessful attack on the feeding station. Tree Sparrow (2), House Sparrow (10+), Great Tit (1), Blue Tit (2), Coal Tit (1), Dunnock (2), Robin (1), Blackbird (3+), Magpie (2), Carrion Crow (1), Greylag Goose (1 over) and Mallard (1 over) were also seen.

7th February, 2010 – Escomb
A late afternoon visit to Escomb Lake (dusk) produced seventeen Goosanders (3 males & 14 females), two female Goldeneyes and a single Grey Heron.

10th February, 2010 – Ferryhill
At least six Grey Partridges were in a field to the south of Ferryhill.

14th February, 2010 – Kendal
The juvenile Rose–coloured Starling showed very well on occasions, sometimes disappearing for 20 – 30 minutes between appearances.  Grey Heron (1 over), Starling (10+), Song Thrush (2), Fieldfare (1), Blackbird (10+), House Sparrow (10+), Dunnock (2), Robin (1), Collared Dove (4+), Chaffinch (2+), Greenfinch (4+), Black–headed Gull (2+) and Jackdaw (4+) were seen between visits.  The return journey provided reasonable views of Common Buzzard (1), Kestrel (6+), Red Grouse (5+), Black Grouse (1) and Red–legged Partridge (2).

17th February, 2010 – Escomb
Escomb Lake was almost fully frozen with Greylag Goose (5 in the field between the lake and the fishing club), Coot (2), Mallard (2), Black–headed Gull (30+), Common Gull (5), Blue Tit (5+), Great Tit (2) and Siskin (10+) being the only birds seen whilst walking around the lake. Approximately twenty Yellowhammers, a Great–spotted Woodpecker and at least two Reed Buntings were seen on the way back to the car.

28th February, 2010 – Bishops Park
A very poor visit to Bishop Park and The Batts with only a handfull of birds seen.

28th February, 2010 – Low Barns
The feeding station was very active with all the usual birds seen (no Marsh Tits). At least two Lesser Redpolls were amongst a group of approximately 150 Siskins in trees leading to the West Pond. Two Common Teal, two Moorhens, one Coot and several Mallards were on West Pond.  The river was quiet (high water level). Marston Lake was also quiet with Goldeneye (5 females), Tufted Duck (5), Mallard (2), Mute Swan (1), Canada Goose (2), Greylag Goose (1 over) and Cormorant being the only birds seen.

March 2010

Picture:  Greenfinch at Cowpen Bewley, 18th March

4th March, 2010 – South Tyneside
First stop was Thornley Woods where all the usual birds were seen including Mallard (2), Red Kite (1 over), Pheasant (1), Woodpigeon (6+), Blackbird (2+), Dunnock (2), Robin (2+), Wren (1), Magpie (2+), Carrion Crow (2), Jay (1), Great–spotted Woodpecker (1), Chaffinch (4+), Greenfinch (1), Bullfinch (4), Nuthatch (1), Great Tit (4+), Coal Tit (4+), Blue Tit (6+), Willow Tit (1), Long–tailed Tit (10+) and Yellowhammer (2+). Several Grey Squirrels and a Roe Deer were also seen before moving on to the Far Pasture.  The Far Pasture was reasonably quiet when I first arrived. Four Mallards, two Coots, two Moorhens, a Common Snipe and a Grey Heron were seen from the hide.  At least six Moorhens and another Common Snipe were in the flooded field a short walk from the car park. The car park itself proved to be the best part of this visit. I put a bit of food out and a good variety of woodland birds soon started to visit. These included Blackbird (2), Dunnock (2+), Robin (2+), Willow Tit (2), Blue Tit (1), Great Tit (2), Coal Tit (1), Bullfinch (3) and Chaffinch (2+). A Vole was also seen.

5th March, 2010 – Escomb
A Great–crested Grebe, two Coots, two Goldeneyes and two Tufted Ducks were on the only unfrozen part of Escomb Lake. Lesser Black–backed Gull (1), Common Gull (10+) and Black–headed Gull (20+) were on the ice. Two Mallards, two Coots and two Mute Swans were on the small pond. Two Oystercatchers, a Curlew, forty two Greylag Geese and four Canada Geese were in adjacent fields.  Magpie (2), Carrion Crow (4), Woodpigeon (7+), Blackbird (2+), Dunnock (2), House Sparrow (4+), Robin (1), Wren (2), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (4+), Bullfinch (2), Chaffinch (2) and Moorhen (1) were also seen.

10th March, 2010 – Bishops Park
Another poor visit to Bishops Park and The Batts. A two hour visit to the area produced Dipper (2 on the River Gaunless), Chaffinch (1 female), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (2), Long–tailed Tit (2+) and Mallard (3).

14th March, 2010 – Teesdale
Black Grouse were quite sparse with only three seen (1 at harwood and 2 further up the valley). Mallard (2), Red Grouse (5+), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (1), Lapwing (pairs and small groups throughout the visit), Mistle Thrush (2), Fieldfare (50+), Magpie (2), Jackdaw (20+), Carrion Crow (10+), Woodpigeon (50+), Stock Dove (7) and Long–tailed Tit (1) were the only other birds seen.

18th March, 2010 – Teesside
The wintering Cetti’s Warbler was in the reeds behind Archer’s Law, Bowesfield Marsh (9am). Fifteen Mute Swans were on the main lake, but no sign of yesterdays whoopers. Tufted Duck (4+), Pochard (2), Goldeneye (4), Mallard (2), Coot (4), Shoveller (6+), Teal (10+), Lesser Black–backed Gull (7), Herring Gull (5), Common Gull (6), Black–headed Gull (10+), Long–tailed Tit (4+) and Reed Bunting (4+) were also seen.  A Green Sandpiper was at Billingham Beck. Saltholme Pools held all the usual birds. Zinc Road and Seaton Common were quiet (highlight here was a group of approximately 250 Starlings off Zinc Road). I decided not to stop at Greenabella for the reported Avocets as I knew they would be seen when visiting the site on another day.  Cowpen Bewley feeding station was quite active. Brambling (1), Chaffinch (3+), Greenfinch (8+), Goldfinch (4), Great Tit (6+), Blue Tit (10+), Coal Tit (1), Blackbird (2), Magpie (2), Tree Sparrow (20+), Reed Bunting (4+) and Yellowhammer (4+) were seen before deciding to leave after a Sparrowhawk made an unsuccessful attack.  Stopped off at Tillery Wood on the return journey. No sign of any Crossbills, but the car park became quite active once I put some food out. Birds seen here included Chaffinch (10+), Greenfinch (2), Goldfinch (1), Goldcrest (2), Treecreeper (1), Robin (1), Dunnock (1), Collared Dove (2), Woodpigeon (1), Great Tit (10+), Blue Tit (10+), Coal Tit (1), Marsh Tit (1) and Willow Tit (1).

20th March, 2010 – Bishop Middleham
Decided to stop off at Bishop Middleham on the way to Teesside (pm). Three Ruff were seen amongst a group of approximately seven Common Redshank and a Common Snipe was in the rough grass close–by. All the usual wildfowl, but no sign of the Whooper Swans that had been there the previous two days. Nothing unusual at Teesside other than a group af at least seven Avocets at Greenabella.

25th March, 2010 – Spennymoor
First Chiffchaff of the year (1 heard in trees, close to the old B&D entrance).

28th March, 2010 – Teesside
Purple Sandpiper (10+), Ringed Plover (7), Knot (3+), Oystercatcher (2), Common Redshank (3) were on the beach at Newburn. Cormorant (3) and Great Crested Grebe (2) were on the sea.  Greylag Goose (4), Canada Goose (2), Wigeon (40+), Mallard (2), Merlin (1), Curlew (50+), Lapwing (10+), Common Redshank (7), Dunlin (3), Great Black–backed Gull (20+), Herring Gull (10+), Common Gull (10+), Black–headed Gull (5+), Starling (20+), Carrion Crow (10+), Meadow Pipit (1) and Skylark (2) were seen from the road leading to North Gare. Zinc Road was quiet, but at least seven Northern Wheatears were seen in one of the field to the north of the road during a quick visit yesterday (27th).  Several Barnacle Geese were at Back Saltholme. Two Little Egrets, a Grey Heron and two Pintails were on Dormans. No sign of the reported Great White Egret at Saltholme or Dormans (pm). Three Sand Martins were seen at Dormans during a quick search for yesterdays Great White Egret (27th).  A female Brambling was at Cowpen Bewley feeding station. Greenfinch (2+), Goldfinch (4), Blackbird (2), Blue Tit (4+), Great Tit (6+), Tree Sparrow (20+), Reed Bunting (4+) and Yellowhammer (3+) were also there.

April 2010

Picture:  Common Whitethroat at Dormans, 30th April

1st April, 2010 – Escomb
A male Goosander, two Mallards and four Coots were on Escomb Lake. At least ten Sand Martins, a Swallow and two Greylag Geese were also seen. Two Chiffchaffs were heard (1 seen).

4th April, 2010 – Low Barns
A male Reed Bunting was amongst the usual visitors at the feeding station which included Nuthatch (2+), Coal Tit (1+), Great Tit (2+), Blue Tit (4+), Blackbird (2), Chaffinch (6+), Dunnock (1), Robin (1), Starling (1) and Siskin (10+ over).  Three Mallards, two Tufted Ducks, a Coot and a Moorhen were on the west pond. Five Greylag Geese and two Canada Geese were on the West Pasture.  Several Mallards, ten Tufted Ducks, one Goldeneye, one Little Grebe, two Mute Swans, two Canada Geese and three Black–headed Gulls were on Marston Lake.  Oystercatcher (2 on the floating island), Sand Martin (10+), Swallow (5+), Jackdaw (30+), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon (2), Wren (1), Long–tailed Tit (2), Chiffchaff (2 seen and at least six heard calling) and Mistle Thrush (1 seen sitting on it’s nest). At least four Grey Heron nests were occupied at a nearby heronry.

7th April, 2010 – Northumberland
A mid–week family holiday to Haggerston Castle offered me the opportunity to check a few of the locations in the area. Highlights included twenty two Whooper Swans (north of Budle Bay) and the first Willow Warbler of the year (calling from trees in Haggerston Holiday Park). We had a quick look for the reported Hoopoe at Dunglass, which did not show during my 60 minute visit.

10th April, 2010 – Escomb
A late afternoon visit to Escomb Lake produced a nice selection of birds. Highlights during this visit included Blackcap (2 males), Willow Warbler (3+), Chiffchaff (1), Willow Tit (2) and Yellowhammer (2).  Other birds seen included Great–crested Grebe (2), Coot (6+), Mallard (2), Pheasant (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (1), Woodpigeon (10+), Stock Dove (4), Sand Martin (3), Blackbird (10+), Dunnock (2+), Robin (2+), Wren (1), Treecreeper (1), Blue Tit (4+), Great Tit (2+), Long–tailed Tit (2), Great–spotted Woodpecker (1 heard), Jackdaw (4+), Carrion Crow (2), Magpie (6+) and Starling (5+).

11th April, 2010 – Bishops Park & The Batts
A male Common Redstart was seen towards the lower end of the park. Several Willow Warblers and at least two Chiffchaffs were back on territory. Green Woodpeckers were calling towards the top of the park (2 seen). A surprise find was a single Redwing.  Other birds included Canada Goose (5 flying towards the golf course), Mallard (2), Pheasant (1), Woodpigeon (10+), Stock Dove (1), Lesser Black–backed Gull (2), Sand Martin (5+), Blackbird (3+), Robin (1), Wren (1), Blue Tit (4+), Great Tit (2+), Great–spotted Woodpecker (1), Jackdaw (4+), Carrion Crow (4+), Magpie (4+) and Reed Bunting (2).

12th April, 2010 – Etherley Moor
A single Corn Bunting back on territory. Two pairs of Tree Sparrows are taking nest materials to three nest boxes in the back garden.

12th April, 2010 – Low Barns
Blackcap (2), Willow Tit (2), Willow Warbler (4), Chiffchaff (7+), Treecreeper (1), Robin (1), Wren (1), Nuthatch (3+), Blackbird (1), Jackdaw (2), Carrion Crow (1), Siskin (heard calling), Great Tit (6+), Blue Tit (10+) and Long–tailed Tit were seen whilst walking round the reserve.  A pair of Oystercatchers were on the Marston Lake raft. Two Mute Swans, four Mallards, one Teal, three Goldeneyes (2 males), four Wigeon and at least ten Tufted Ducks were on the lake.  The feeding station was fairly active with most of the usual species visiting and the Mistle Thrush was still sitting on it’s nest in a near–by tree. A pair of Goosanders were on the River Wear.

16th April, 2010 – Escomb
Shelduck (2 on the small pond), Great–crested Grebe (2 on Escomb Lake), Kingfisher (1 flying down the River Wear), Sand Martin (20+), Blackcap (3), Yellowhammer (20+ in the hedgerows leading to the lake) and Reed Bunting (5+) were the highlights.

18th April, 2010 – Teesside
First stop was Crookfoot reservoir where there was an earlier report of two Common Cranes. No joy with the target birds, but it was nice to have thirty minutes watching the usual birds to be found here. I then decided to have a quick look round the Tees marshes. No Whimbrels and no sign of the reported White–fronted Goose (Saltholme). Pick of the birds included Pink–footed Goose (4), Barnacle Goose (6), Little–ringed Plover (4), Yellow Wagtail (4+) and White Wagtail, all seen on Back Saltholme.

25th April, 2010 – Weardale
Highlights included Mandarin (1 drake at Bedburn), Goshawk (1 between Frosterley and Bollihope), Ring Ouzel (1 at Bollihope Quarry), Northern Wheatear (at least 2 at Bollihope Quarry) and Fieldfare (200+ near Hamsterley).

26th April, 2010 – Teesside
The target birds of American Wigeon (Saltholme) and Hooded Crow (Seaton Common) weren’t seen, but there was still plenty to be seen in a short space of time.  Four Pink–footed Goose, a Wood Sandpiper, a Greenshank, two Avocets and a Common Tern were at Saltholme. Two Grasshopper Warblers and a single Common Whitethroat were heard from the lower car park at Dormans. Three Wheatears were seen on Seaton Common and two Whimbrels were on Cowpen Marsh.

30th April, 2010 – Teesside
Three male Garganey, a Wood Sandpiper, a Greenshank, approximately thirty Dunlin, three Common Terns and a Yellow Wagtail were the pick of the birds at Saltholme.  Grasshopper Warbler (1), Common Whitethroat (5+) Sedge Warbler (10+), Reed Warbler (10+), Cettis Warbler (1), Willow Warbler (3+) and Chiffchaff (1) were at Dormans. At least twenty Northern Wheatears were seen on Seaton Common.

30th April, 2010 – Teesside
Three male Garganey, a Wood Sandpiper, a Greenshank, approximately thirty Dunlin, three Common Terns and a Yellow Wagtail were the pick of the birds at Saltholme.  Grasshopper Warbler (1), Common Whitethroat (5+) Sedge Warbler (10+), Reed Warbler (10+), Cettis Warbler (1), Willow Warbler (3+) and Chiffchaff (1) were at Dormans. At least twenty Northern Wheatears were seen on Seaton Common.

May 2010

Picture:  Yellow Wagtail at Frampton Marsh, 13th May

2nd May, 2010 – Bassenthwaite
Two Ospreys, five Ravens and the first House Martins of the year were the highlights of this family weekend in Bassenthwaite.

9th May, 2010 – Tunstall
A Cuckoo, a Meadow Pipit and two Linnets were the only birds seen during a quick stop at Blackbank Wood (en–route to Tunstall).  A Grey Heron, three Common Sandpipers, two Oystercatchers, several Swallows and two Pied Wagtails were seen from the dam. The second Cuckoo of the day was also heard.  The wood was quite quiet and finding the target birds proved to be quite hard. A pair of Pied Flycatchers were found after hearing their distinctive call. A further two hours passed before eventually seeing a pair of Common Redstarts (not heard). A single Wood Warbler was seen soon after (not heard).  Other birds in the wood included Sparrowhawk (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1+), Wren (1), Robin (2), Mistle Thrush (2), Blackbird (3+), Nuthatch (2), Chiffchaff (2), Willow Warbler (4+), Long–tailed Tit (4), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (4), Coal Tit (1), Chaffinch (3) and Bullfinch (2).

13th May, 2010 – Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire
A total of fifty three different species of birds were seen during a three hour stay at the reserve including Oriental Pratincole (1), Barn Owl (1), Brent Goose (16c), Little Gull (2), Greenshank (1), Little Ringed Plover (10+), Avocet (20+), Curlew Sandpiper (5, 3 in full summer plumage), Ruff (6+, 2 in full summer plumage going through courtship displays), Yellow Wagtail (1+) and Corn Bunting (3).  The rest of the day was spent in Norfolk, where Montagu’s Harrier (1 male), Dartford Warbler (1), Hobby (1), Marsh Harrier (2) and Barn Owl were seen (amongst others).

14th May, 2010 – Low Barns
The west pond was quite quiet with Mute Swan (1), Tufted Duck (2), Coot (1) and Mallard (2) being the only birds seen. A Pink–footed Goose was on the west pasture with three Canada Geese. Two Greylag Geese were also there.  A Grey Heron, two female Goosanders, a Mallard and a Pied Wagtail were on the river. Marston Lake was very quiet with the only dird of note being an Oystercatcher on the floating island.  Curlew (1 over), Linnet (2), Sedge Warbler (2+), Reed Warbler (1+), Reed Bunting (3), Common Kestrel (1), Treecreeper (2), Song Thrush (2), Sand Martin (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Chiffchaff (4), Willow Warbler (3), Common Whitethroat (1), Blackcap (1), Garden Warbler (2), Chaffinch (2) and Bullfinch (2) were seen whilst walking round the reserve.

15th May, 2010 – Escomb
A Great Crested Grebe and two Coots were the only birds on Escomb Lake. Two Tufted Ducks, a Black–headed Gull and a Moorhen were on the small pond. Two Common Sandpipers, two Oystercatchers and two Pied Wagtails were on the River Wear.  Sparrowhawk (1), Swift (5+), Swallow (10+) and Sand Martin (20+) were in the air.  Sedge Warbler (1), Common Whitethroat (1), Garden Warbler (1), Willow Warbler (4+) and Chiffchaff (3+) were amongst the usual birds to be found whilst walking round the lake & river areas.

16th May, 2010 – Bishops Park
A Common Sandpiper and a Dipper were on the River Wear. Two more Dippers were on the Gaunless. Still no Grey Wagtails this year (Bishops Park, Escomb or Low Barns)?  Two Common Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, three Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, five Linnets and a Yellowhammer were seen whilst walking round the area.  Swift (5+), Swallow (8+) and Sand Martin (5+) and House Martin (5+) were in the air.

16th May, 2010 – Etherley Moor
Two House Martins have returned. A Corn Bunting has been on the wires every other day for the last week or two (two were seen approximately 3 weeks ago). Tree Sparrows are nesting in two of our nest boxes.

23rd May, 2010 – Etherley Moor
Two Swifts, four House Martins and a Sparrowhawk were seen over Croftside. The Corn Bunting has been on the wires and trees very close to the feeding station. Tree Sparrows are now feding young in both nest boxes. House Sparrows and Starlings are also feedng young.

23rd May, 2010 – Teesside
A Marsh Harrier and a Cuckoo were at Dormans. Common Whitethroat (2+), Sedge Warbler (2+) and Reed Warbler (10+) were also in the area (very vocal).  A very good day for butterflies at Dormans. Dingy Skipper (10+), Large Skipper (4+), Common Blue (10+), Small Heath (4+), Small Copper (6+), Wall Brown (10+), Peacock (2), Large White (2+) and Orange Tip (2+) were seen on the path to the old hide at Dormans. Large Red Damselfly (10+), Common Blue Damselfly (10+) and Blue–tailed Damselfly (10+) were also seen.  After Dormans I had a quick drive up to North Gare and Zinc Road spending 20 – 30 minutes in both locations. Very quiet with Woodpigeon (2), Carrion Crow (7+) being the only birds seen.

30th May, 2010 – Straws Bridge NR, Derbyshire
The reported Great Reed Warbler was heard on arrival. The bird was then seen in the open providing superb views for approximately ten minutes, but was unfortunately out of reach of the camera. The following three hours proved to be very frustrating as the bird remained very vocal, but only showed itself for a few seconds on only 2 – 3 occasions. Common Buzzard (1) and Osprey (1) were seen shortly before arriving at the reserve.

June 2010

Picture:  Small Copper at Escomb, 3rd June

1st June, 2010 – Etherley Moor
Three Corn Buntings seen on the wires this evening (another was singing from the tree above the feeders).

2nd June, 2010 – Norfolk
Arrived at Walsey Hills, Cley shortly before daybreak. No sign of yesterdays Thrush Nightingale, but Willow Warbler (2), Common Whitethroat (2), Sedge Warbler (2+), Reed Warbler (2+), Chiffchaff (1), Dunnock (2), Goldfinch (2), Greenfinch (2), Chaffinch (1), Coal Tit (1), Long–tailed Tit (2), Blue Tit (2) and Wren (4+) were heard and seen. Two Roe Deers and several Pheasants were in surrounding fields. A Little Egret and a Grey Heron flew over and a Barn Owl was seen hunting the marshes.  Two Marsh Harriers were seen before finding the reported Trumpeter Finch (the bird appeared to be very flighty, so I decided not to get too close for photography. A male Red–backed Shrike, two Egyptian Geese, two Grey Partridges and a very vocal Nightingale were also in the area. A quick search for yesterdays Marsh Warbler was unsuccesfull.  By now it was 0830am, so I decided to try for Honey Buzzards at Great Ryburgh (Montagues Harrier and Dartford Warbler were seen on my last visit). Honey Buzzard (1), Common Buzzard (6+), Hobby (2+) and Sparrowhawk (2) were seen during a 90 minute watch.  I then decided to visit the areas of Weeting and Lakenheath (a Little Owl was seen en–route). Nothing much at Weeting, but two Stone Curlews were found at a site close to the reserve. Lakenheath proved to be most enjoyable with Golden Oriole (2 heard and 1 seen), Bittern (1 seen landing in the reeds), Hobby (6+), Marsh Harrier (6+), Turtle Dove (2), Bearded Tit (2+), Garganey (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1) and a Cetti’s Warbler being the pick of the birds. A Grass Snake was also seen.

3rd June, 2010 – Escomb
A very quiet visit with Willow Warbler (1 heard), Chiffchaff (1 heard), Sedge Warbler (1 heard), Common Whitthroat (2), Garden Warbler (1 heard), Chaffinch (1) being seen or heard from the hedgerows.  Mute Swan (5), Tufted Duck (2), Coot (3), Moorhen (2) and Great Crested Grebe (1) were on the lake / pond.  Plenty of damselflies / dragonflies around with Four–spotted Chaser (4+) being a site first for me. Not many butterflies out today with only Speckled Wood (1), Green–veigned White (3+), Small Copper (2+) and Orange Tip being seen.

4th June, 2010 – Knitsley Fell & Bollihope
A quick stop at Knitsley Fell produced Common Buzzard (2), Kestrel (1), Meadow Pipit (6+), Tree Pipit (2), Skylark (1 heard) and Willow Warbler (1). A single Green Hairstreak butterfly was seen at a nearby location.  A very good visit to Bollihope. At least three Ring Ouzels, six Mistle Thrushes, four Northern Wheatears and one Cuckoo were seen in the quarry (3 others heard). Bonus birds here included Dipper (1 juvenile), Grey Wagtail (first of the year) and Spotted Flycatcher (1).  Other birds included Lapwing (2+), Curlew (4+), Grey Heron (1), Swallow (4+), Willow Warbler (1) and Chaffinch (2).

20th June, 2010 – Bishop Middleham Quarry
An afternoon visit to the quarry looking for butterflies and orchids. Very few orchids seen, but there was a good selection of butterflies on display.  Butterflies included Common Blue (10+), Brown Argus (10+, 3 sub–species), Dingy Skipper (10+), Small Skipper (2+), Large Skipper (10+), Small White (4+), Orange Tip (2), Wall Brown (1) and Small Heath (10+).  Highlight of the afternoon was a Broad–bodied Chaser that was seen close to the quarry entrance. There was several Silver Y moths seen, A Common Whitethroat and at least three Sand Martins were also seen.

July 2010

Picture:  Dotterel at Crimdon Dene, 8th July

8th July, 2010 – Crimdon Dene
The reported female Dotterel was seen approximately 100yds north of the tern colony soon after arrival. Two adult Roseate Terns, a Common Tern and a juvenile Arctic Tern were amongst approximately 100 Little Terns close to the waters edge. A handfull of Ringed Plovers were the only waders seen.  Sandwich Tern (10+), Gannet (10+) and Herring Gull (2+) were the only birds seen over the sea. The walk back to the car produced Stonechat (2), Common Whitethroat (2), Swallow (5+), Swift (2+), Linnet (6+) and Yellowhammer (1 calling).  A quick stop at RSPB Saltholme’s Bottom Tank for the reported Temminck’s Stint proved worthwhile, as the bird showed well for the 5 – 10 minutes I was there. Avocet (2), Ruff (1), Common Tern (2), Moorhen (1), Swallow (2+) and Sand Martin (5+) were also seen.

9th July, 2010 – Low Barns
Three female Tufted Ducks, two Coots and at least eight Mallards were on the West Pond. Two Swifts and at least five Swallows were seen over the West Pasture.  Three Willow Warblers, one ChiffChaff (heard), two Reed Warblers (heard), one Sedge Warbler (heard) and two Reed Buntings were in the area of the board walk.  Four Common Sandpipers were on the River Wear. A fifth Common Sandpiper, a family of Mute Swans and two Coots were on the Marston Lake islands. Little Grebe (2), Tufted Duck (1 female) and several Mallards were on the lake.  Dunnock (1), Robin (1), Treecreeper (1), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (10+), Coal Tit (10+), Garden Warbler (2), Blackcap (4 males), Nuthatch (1 heard), Great–spotted Woodpecker (1 heard), Green Woodpecker (1 heard) and Song Thrush were also seen. Butterflies included Speckled Wood (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Meadow Brown (10+) and Ringlet (2).

9th July, 2010 – Etherley Moor
The Tree Sparrows are now in the process of starting their third brood (two nestboxes) and a Corn Bunting is still being seen and heard most mornings and evenings.

24th July, 2010 – Hartlepool Headland
A two hour seawatch produced Razorbill (10+), Guillimot (10+), Gannet (10+) and Whimbrel (15+). No Shearwaters or Skua’s during my visit.

25th July, 2010 – Bishops Park
Garden Warbler (2), Willow Warbler (2), ChiffChaff (3+), Goldcrest (1), Dipper (1) and Common Redstart (1) were the pick of the birds during this short visit to the park.

25th July, 2010 – Etherley Moor
Plenty of young Tree Sparrows, House Sparrows and Dunnocks visiting the feeders. Two Greenfinches have been visiting most days. A female Sparrowhawk has been seen twice during the past week. The regular Corn Bunting has not been seen or heard for over a week and may have departed.

30th July, 2010 – Saltholme Pools
The reported Whiskered Tern and Little Gull (both juveniles) were seen on the West Saltholme causeway soon after arrival. Several Grey Herons, a Little Egret, three Ruff, two Black–tailed Godwits and at least six Dunlin were also there. A Barn Owl was seen over East Saltholme / Dormans, working its way towards the tip. A Peregrine Falcon also put in a brief appearance over Back Saltholme. Two Greenshanks were on the calor gas pool.

August & September 2010

Picture:  Whiskered Tern at Saltholme, 15th August

3rd August, 2010 – Etherley Moor
The Tree Sparrows have succesfully fledged five broods out of two nest boxes this year. Two Yellowhammers, two Greenfinches and two Coal Tits have been amongst the regular visitors to the feeding station. Three Magpies have been attacking the feeders and todays finding of the scattered remains of a sparrow was a reminder of their flesh eating habits.

15th August, 2010 – Teesside
A visit to Hartlepool Headland for the reported Wryneck proved to be frustrating (I had also tried on 13th and 14th). I didn’t manage to see the Wryneck, but Pied Flycatcher (1), Willow Warbler (3+) and ChiffChaff (1) were seen whilst waiting.  A sixty minute seawatch was also poor with Arctic Skua (1), Gannet (10+), Common Scoter (7) and Guillimot (5) being the only birds of note. There was also very little seen when walking around the headland with Turnstones being the only birds seen.  A quick visit to saltholme pools produced a Black–necked Grebe and the long staying Whiskered Tern (both seen on the east pool). At least one Ruff was on the west pool.

15th August, 2010 – Etherley Moor
Tree Sparrow (7+), House Sparrow (20+), Starling (10+), Woodpigeon (2+), Collared Dove (2) and Magpie (2+) are regularly visiting the feeding station. Two Yellowhammers are still in the area, but no sign of the Corn Buntings (last seen on 9th July).

16th August, 2010 – Shibdon Pond
I was unable to go to see the reported Sykes’s Warbler in Northumberland, but did manage to get good views of the reported Spotted Crake at Shibdon Pond. Water Rail (2), Common Tern (3) and Little Egret (1) were also there.

19th – 28th August, 2010 – Boston & Great Yarmouth
A family holiday to Great Yarmouth provided me with the opportunity to visit a selection of locations in the areas of Boston and Great Yarmouth.  The first two nights of the holiday was spent at a certified location on the outskirts of Boston, which produced Collared Dove (10+), Woodpigeon (20+), Blackbird (2), House Sparrow (10+), Greenfinch (4), Goldfinch (6), Linnet (20) and Dunnock (1).  Evening (19th) and early morning (20th) visits to Freiston Shore produced Little Grebe (5), Little Egret (10+), Cormorant (2), Brent Goose (1), Canada Goose (20+), Tufted Duck (2), Mallard (5), Cape Teal (2 escapees), Marsh Harrier (1), Kestrel (1), Green Sandpiper (2), Common Sandpiper (1), Avocet (1), Black–tailed Godwit (10+), Curlew (20+), Whimbrel (1), Greenshank (1), Common Redshank (10+), Dunlin (100+), Ringed Plover (5), Grey Plover (50+), Golden Plover (100+), Lapwing (20+), Pheasant (4), Grey Partridge (2), Great Black–backed Gull (1), Lesser Black–backed Gull (2), Herring Gull (1), Black–headed Gull (10+), Tree Sparrow (2), House Sparrow (10+), House Martin (10+), Sand Martin (2), Swallow (10+), Mistle Thrush (2), Blackbird (5), Meadow Pipit (2) and Yellow Wagtail (4+).  A quick stop at Gibraltar Point on the 20th August produced Spoonbill (12), Little Egret (1), Grey Heron (1), Bar–tailed Godwit (10+), Avocet (1), Dunlin (10+), Greenshank (1), Green Sandpiper (1), Little Ringed Plover (2), Grey Plover (1), Sparrowhawk (1) and Common Tern (3).  The next day, we headed off to Yarmouth, which was the second part of this family holiday. Once the caravan had been set up, I headed off to Breydon Water (22nd) which produced Avocet (100+), Black–tailed Godwit (100+), Curlew (30+), Whimbrel (1), Ringed Plover (20+), Dunlin (20+), Greenshank (8), Common Redshank (10+), Golden Plover (50+), Little Egret (3), Grey Heron (1), Great Black–backed Gull (2), Lesser Black–backed Gull (10+), Herring Gull (2), Black–headed Gull (50+), Mediterranean Gull (2), Carrion Crow (2), Shelduck (10+) and Common Tern (3) at high tide.  A visit to the cemetery on the 23rd was poor with only Chiffchaff (1 heard), Wren (1), Blue Tit (6), Robin (1) and Blackbird (2) being the only birds found in a 30 minute stay. Two additional visits to Breydon Water (23rd & 24th) added Sparrowhawk (1), Sandwich Tern (1), Pintail (2), Mallard (5) Grey Plover (1), Dunlin (100+), Knot (5) and Bar–tailed Godwit (4) to the list of birds seen on the 22nd. Five Mediterranean Gulls were on Great Yarmouth Beach (24th) and a selection of Darters and Hawkers were seen & photographed at Vauxhaul Caravan Park.

29th August, 2010 – Low Barns
A Kingfisher gave good views in front of the hide at the West Pond. Two Tufted Ducks, several Moorhen, two Coot and a Common Snipe were also there. A Grey Heron, two Grey Wagtails, a Dipper and a Kingfisher were seen on the River Wear. At least 100 House Martins and 20 Swallows passed over just before one of two heavy rainfalls. Two Little Grebe, five Mute Swan, a Common Teal, four Tufted Duck and at least ten Mallard were on Marston Lake. A single female Sparrowhawk was seen from the South Hide.  The feeding station was reasonably active with Nuthatch (2), Great Tit (10+), Blue Tit (10+), Coal Tit (2), Marsh Tit (2) and Chaffinch being seen during a quick five minute watch. At least two Great–spotted Woodpeckers were heard.

30th August, 2010 – Escomb
Six Mute Swan, three Wigeon, nine Mallard, five Coot and a single Tufted Duck were on Escomb Lake. Five ChiffChaff were in the bushes on the waters edge.  At least ten Swallows were over the small pond. Three Blackbird, two Wren, a male Blackcap, two Common Whitethroat, a Willow Warbler, ten Goldfinch, a Linnet and a Yellowhammer were in the bushes at this location.  A Kingfisher, three Mallard and two Moorhen were on the River Wear. A Green Woodpecker was heard and two Great–spotted Woodpeckers were seen whilst walking back to the car.

1st September, 2010 – Etherley Moor
Five Curlews and at least two Linnets flew over the feeding station this afternoon. A Willow Warbler was seen early morning (31st August).

11th September, 2010 – Escomb
A quick late afternoon visit to Escomb produced Mute Swan (6), Great Crested Grebe (1), Wigeon (1), Tufted Duck (4), Mallard (6) and Coot (7+) were on the main lake. At least thirty House Martins arrived between showers.  Great–spotted Woodpecker (1), Goldfinch (10+), Chaffinch (2), Blue Tit (4), Coal Tit (2), Willow Warbler (5+) and Common Whitethroat (2) were in the hedgerows. A Moorhen was on the River Wear.

12th September, 2010 – Teesside
A Treecreeper, two Coal Tits and seven Blackbirds were the only birds seen in front of the Borough Hall, Hartlepool Headland (no sign of yesterdays reported Firecrests).  Black–headed Gull (20+), Herring Gull (10+), Oystercatcher (5+), Ringed Plover (10+), Sanderling (10+), Common Redshank (4), Knot (5+), Turnstone (5) were seen at Newburn Bridge.  A Kestrel, two Skylarks, several Meadow Pipits and a handfull of Goldfinch were seen on Seaton Common. Grey Partridge (1), Curlew (2), Meadow Pipit (10+), Goldfinch (10+) and Linnet (10+) were seen along Zinc Road.  Little Egret (1), Grey Heron (1), Great–crested Grebe (2+), Black–necked Grebe (1), Little Grebe (4+), Pintail (1), Teal (20+), Lapwing (40+), Golden Plover (3), Common Snipe (1), Common Redshank (10+), Spotted Redshank (4+), Greenshank (4+), Ruff (5+) and Dunlin (1) were just a few of the birds seen on Saltholme Pools.  The reported Wryneck was on cabin rocks at South Gare. A Lapland Bunting was amongst a decent sized group of Linnet (50+) and Goldfinch (20+).

27th September, 2010 – Etherley Moor
The hedge row behind the feeding station has been removed by the owner of the field (Holmes Garage). Not sure what effect this will have on the feeding station and the birds that visit / enter the field, but it did provide good cover, nesting habitat and food.  A total of 67 birds has been seen from the grounds of the feeding station. Main birds include Grey Partridge, Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Greenfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting.  The habitat for the whitethroats has been removed, so I don't expect to see them again. Cover for two of the Tree Sparrow nest boxes has been removed, so will they be used next year? Protection from the local sparrowhawk is no longer available, so will numbers of visitors fall? Time will tell.

October 2010

Picture:  Woodchat Shrike at Hartlepool Headland, 2nd October

1st October, 2010 – Etherley Moor
The removal of the hedge row has so far had little effect with House Sparrows (10+), Tree Sparrows (2+), Dunnock (2), Robin (1), Song Thrush (1), Starling (2+), Blue Tit (2) and Great Tit (2) visiting the feeders since its removal on 27th September.

2nd October, 2010 – Teesside
The reported juvenile Woodchat Shrike was seen soon after arriving at Croft Gardens, Hartlepool Headland. A Yellow–browed Warbler and at least four Willow Warblers were in the trees in front of Borough Hall.

8th October, 2010 – Etherley Moor
The removal of the hedge row might be starting to take effect with Starling (1), Magpie (1), Coal Tit (1), Blue Tit (1) and Dunnock (1) being the only birds seen at the feeding station during a two hour watch. On a plus note, two Tawny Owls were seen and heard in the field behind the feeders. A ChiffChaff was heard during the week.  The walk round the sea front was quiet. The only birds of note was a very approachable Snow Bunting close to the tennis courts and three Song Thrushes on the bowling green.  The regular wintering Mediterranean Gull was at Newburn Bridge. At least twenty Ringed Plovers, four Sanderlings, four Turnstones, three Common Redshanks, two Curlews and ten Oystercatchers were on the shoreline. Two large groups of Goldfinches were seen in the field to the north of Zinc Road, totalling approximatey two hundred birds.  A Little Egret, a Black–necked Grebe and two female Pintails were on East Saltholme. Two Little Stints and several Dunlin were on West Saltholme.

10th October, 2010 – North Tyneside
First stop was Tynemouth for the reported Dusky Warbler, which was seen in the cliff face soon after arrival. Bonus bird here was a Shorelark.  Next was the short drive up to St Mary’s Island for the reported Red–flanked Bluetail. The target bird proved to be quite elusive at first, but the Red–flanked Bluetail did offer good intermittent views when it eventually decided to show.  Other birds seen whilst waiting to view the Red–flanked Bluetail included Robin (15+), Goldcrest (20+), Dunnock (2), Greenfinch (10+), Chaffinch (2), ChiffChaff (3+), Willow Warbler (1), Blackcap (1 male), Lesser Redpoll (1), Redwing (10+), Mistle Thrush (2), Fieldfare (1), Blackbird (5+), Reed Bunting (4+), Magpie (2) and Curlew (1).

16th October, 2010 – Escomb
A late evening walk around the lake produced Mallard (7), Tufted Duck (3), Wigeon (2), Coot (10+) and Black–headed Gull (20+). The hedgerows produced Chaffinch (2), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (4+), Treecreeper (1), Redwing (25+), Song Thrush (1) and Blackbird (2).  A Kingfisher and a female Goosander were on the River Wear and a group of eighteen Greylag Geese were seen flying east.

24th October, 2010 – Low Barns
Fifteen minutes at the feeding station produced Pheasant (2), Redwing (1 over), Robin (2), Dunnock (2), Blue Tit (4), Great Tit (2+), Coal Tit (4+), Marsh Tit (2), Chaffinch (10+), Greenfinch (1), Nuthatch (2) and Siskin (3 over).  A very enjoyable and relaxing hour was spent watching 2 – 3 Kingfishers move around the west pond. A large bird of prey was seen in the wooded area behind the pond, which was probably a Buzzard.  Other birds seen from the west hide included Cormorant (1), Grey Heron (3), Moorhen (1), Teal (5), Wigeon (1), Mallard (10+), Tufted Duck (6), Kestrel (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Carrion Crow (4+), Jackdaw (2), Woodpigeon (10+), Long–tailed Tit (4+) and Blue Tit (2).  A quick scan of Marston Lake from the tower produced Cormorant (10+), Coot (15+), Tufted Duck (10+), Mallard (4+), Herring Gull (1) and Black–headed Gull (3).

16th October, 2010 – Escomb
A mid–afternoon walk around Escomb Lake produced Great–crested Grebe (1), Mute Swan (6 adults & 11 juveniles), Mallard (7), Tufted Duck (6), Wigeon (1), Pochard (1), Coot (10+) and Black–headed Gull (1). The hedgerows produced Sparrowhawk (1), Chaffinch (2), Goldfinch (10+), Blue Tit (4+), Willow Tit (1), Redwing (20+), Blackbird (2+), Magpie (2) and Yellowhammer (10+). Two Moorhens, seven Black–headed Gulls and a Pied Wagtail were on the small pond. Two female Goosanders were seen flying up the River Wear.

29th October, 2010 – Etherley Moor
At least twenty Redwings and thirty Fieldfares have been in the surrounding fields during the past week. Despite losing the hedge row, there is still a decent amount of activity on the feeders (although numbers are definitely down on what used to visit). At least four Tree Sparrows are still amongst the visitors to the feeding station (also nest boxes). A Barn Owl was seen hunting on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland.

31st October, 2010 – Sleddale
Two Rough–legged Buzzards were seen from the chevrons soon after arrival. Other birds in the area included Grey Partridge (9), Red Grouse (50+), Green Woodpecker (1), Stonechat (2) and Siskin (10+). No sign of yesterdays Great Grey Shrike or Hen Harrier whilst I was there. A Whooper Swan and a Long–tailed Duck were at Scaling Dam.

November & December 2010

Picture:  Whooper Swan at Escomb, 7th November

5th November, 2010 – Spennymoor
Approximately twenty Waxwings were seen flying over Tudhoe Moor Nursery (1030am).

6th November, 2010 – The Batts, Bishops Park
A rare visit to the park produced Grey Heron (3), Chaffinch (3), Redwing (10+), Fieldfare (1), Blackbird (10+), Blue Tit (6) and Long–tailed Tit (4). highlight was a Sparrowhawk, which successfully caught a Redwing.

7th November, 2010 – Escomb
A single Whooper Swan was on Escomb Lake, spending most of it’s time with eleven Mute Swans (1 adult and 10 juveniles). Other birds on Escomb Lake included Mallard (6), Tufted Duck (11), Pochard (1), Wigeon (2) and Coot (6).  Two Moorhens, twenty five Black–headed Gulls and seven Common Gulls were on the small pond.  The hedgerows produced a good variety of birds including Chaffinch (3), Goldfinch (20+), Bullfinch (1), Great–spotted Woodpecker (2), Blue Tit (4+), Great Tit (2), Robin (2), Dunnock (4), Wren (1), Redwing (20+), Blackbird (6+), Mistle Thrush (4), Magpie (5+), Yellowhammer (30+), Tree Sparrow (2), House Sparrow (30+), Woodpigeon (4), Collared Dove (2), Carrion Crow (2) and Siskin (6).

14th November, 2010 – Hollingworth Lake CP, Manchester
The reported Pied–billed Grebe was seen soon after arrival. The bird was resting on the far side of the pond, but did provide us with some excellent views once the bird began to fish.

19th November, 2010 – Spennymoor
At least forty five Waxwings were in trees near the Ash Tree Public House.

21st November, 2010 – Teesside Park
A single Waxwing between Comet and KFC.

27th November, 2010 – Etherley Dene
A group of approximately fifty Waxwings were seen flying over the college towards Bishop Auckland town centre. A further twelve were seen close to Gilesgate retail park later in the day.

5th December, 2010 – Escomb
The single Whooper Swan was still on the almost fully frozen Escomb Lake. Mute Swans (20), Mallard (10), Tufted Duck (18), Wigeon (1), Coot (6) and Moorhen (4) were gathered in and around the only unfrozen part of the lake (approximately 50ft in diameter).  At least thirty Black–headed Gulls and five Common Gulls were on ice in the centre of the lake. Ten Goldeneye and two Kingfishers were on the River Wear.  The hedgerows produced a good variety of birds including Bullfinch (1), Blue Tit (4+), Great Tit (2), Long–tailed Tit (4), Robin (2), Dunnock (4), Wren (1), Redwing (3), Blackbird (6+), Mistle Thrush (1), Song Thrush (1), Magpie (4+), House Sparrow (10+), Woodpigeon (2), Collared Dove (2), Carrion Crow (2) and Sparrowhawk (1).

6th December, 2010 – Low Barns
A Barn Owl was seen hunting the west pasture. Other birds seen from the west hide included Mute Swan (4 over), Greylag Goose (40+ over), Mallard (2), Common Snipe (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Woodpigeon (4) and Rook (2).  Ten minutes at the feeding station produced Pheasant (1), Robin (2), Dunnock (2), Blue Tit (4), Great Tit (2+), Coal Tit (4+), Marsh Tit (1), Willow Tit (1), Long–tailed Tit (10+), Chaffinch (1), Nuthatch (1), Treecreeper (1) and Tawny Owl (1 over).

17th December, 2010 – Etherley Moor
Working at home for most of the day gave me the opportunity of seeing how the feeders have been effected since the hedgerow was removed. It was very quiet for most of the morning before picking up a little close to dinner time when Blackbird (2), Robin (1), Dunnock (2), House Sparrow (2), Tree Sparrow (2), Starling (3), Woodpigeon (2), Collared Dove (1), Blue Tit (2) and Chaffinch (1) decided to visit in the space of fifteen minutes. At this time in previous years I have had to top up the feeders each day (at least the removal of the hedge is saving me money, as I no longer have to buy as much bird food or visit the garage who removed the hedgerow).

19th December, 2010 – Escomb
Part of Escomb Lake was still unfrozen (kept that way by the land owner) providing a good water hole for wildfowl, which included Whooper Swan (1), Mute Swans (18 adults and 7 juveniles), Mallard (48), Tufted Duck (16), Wigeon (1), Goosander (2 females), Coot (26), Moorhen (5) and Black–headed Gull (6). Six Goldeneye’s, two Teal and a single Kingfisher were seen flying up the River Wear.  The hedgerows produced a good variety of birds including Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Blackbird (15+), Song Thrush (2), Mistle Thrush (1), Blue Tit (6+), Great Tit (4+), Coal Tit (2), Long–tailed Tit (10+), Magpie (6+), Carrion Crow (2), Jackdaw (50+), Woodpigeon (10+), Bullfinch (2), Chaffinch (1), Dunnock (4) and Robin (1). A Lesser Redpoll (1) and a male Siskin were amongst a group of approximately fifty Goldfinch’s.

28th December, 2010 – Etherley Moor
A week off work with no real improvement on the birds visiting the feeders. The only addition from my report on the 17th includes Woodpigeon (100+), Stock Dove (1), Carrion Crow (4), Rook (1), Common Gull (10+) in surrounding fields. Also a very close fly over of a Grey Heron, which was being mobbed by a Carrion Crow.

29th December, 2010 – Saltholme
A Bittern, a Long–eared Owl and a Woodcock were seen just outside the reserve (Haverton).

30th December, 2010 – Rainton Meadows
Coues’ Arctic Redpoll (2 strong possibles), Common Redpoll (7+), Lesser Redpoll (10+), Siskin (4+) and Goldfinch (75+) were seen from the top of the hill. Other birds seen whilst walking to and from the car included Goosander (3 over), Pheasant (2), Blue Tit (6+), Great Tit (4+), Coal Tit (1), Long–tailed Tit (7), Willow Tit (4), Chaffinch (3), Bullfinch (5), Robin (2), Dunnock (2), Wren (1), Kestrel (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 over) and Reed Bunting (5+).