Sightings 2016

Welcome to my sightings page for 2016, 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 2016

Picture:  Mandarin at Low Barns, 30th January

1st January, 2016 – Etherley Moor
First bird(s) of the year were three Tree Sparrows on the feeders at Etherley Moor. Other birds seen before setting off for Teesside included Robin (1), Blackbird (1), Blue Tit (1) and Great Tit (1).  Scaup (1), Goosander (6m & 1f), G.C.Grebe (1) & Kingfisher (1) were seen at Charlton's Pond.  Smew (1 redhead), Pintail (1), Goldeneye (2), Sparrowhawk (1) & Water Pipit (1) were at Dormans.  1 Snow Bunting (dipped Shorelark) was at Hartlepool Headland. 1 Shag & 2 Pink-footed Geese (dipped Velvet Scoter) were off Seaton Carew. Fox, Rat, Grey Squirrel and Common Seals were also seen.

2nd January, 2016 – Low Barns & Haverton
Birds seen included Mandarin ( drake), Common Teal (20+), Wigeon (4), Pochard (6), Goldeneye (4+), Nuthatch (2), Marsh Tit (1), Siskin (6+) & more.  Mid-afternoon visit to Haverton was worthwhile with good views of Long-eared Owl (Haverton Scrub) and Green Sandpiper (Billingham Beck).

3rd January, 2016 – Teesside
Ring-necked Parakeet
(10+ at Ward Jackson Park), Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Rock Pipit & more. Missed some good birds, which included Slavonian Grebe, Red-necked Grebe and Green-winged Teal.

10th January, 2016 – Hartlepool
Visited Hartlepool twice over the weekend. Pick of the birds included Shorelark (3), Grey Partridge (4), Glaucous Gull (1), White-fronted Goose (9 on Seaton Common). Missed the opportunity of seeing G.N.Diver, Red-necked Grebe & Twite at Seal Sands.

16th January, 2016 – Escomb
Morning visit to Escomb produced 35 different species of birds including Gadwall (3), Goosander (2), Goldeneye (5), Barn Owl (2) and Dipper (2).

14th January, 2017 – Hartlepool
An early to mid-afternoon visit to Hartlepool provided us with good views of Glaucous Gull (1), Iceland Gull (2) and Mediterranean Gull (1).

16th January, 2016 – Seaton Snook
Red-throated Diver
(1), Great Northern Diver (3+), Red-necked Grebe (1), Great-crested Grebe (2), Guillimot (1) and Twite (25+) were the pick of the birds during an afternoon visit to Seaton Snook with the family.

27th January, 2016 – Teesside
My birthday weekend.  Saturday was a visit to Sizergh Castle, Warton Crag and Leighton Moss. Sunday was RSPB Saltholme, Monday was Hartlepool Headland and Tuesday was a run up to Northumberland (Cresswell, East Chevington, Queen Elizabeth C.P. & Killingworth).  No luck with a number of target birds, but did catch up with Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Smew (redhead), Marsh Harrier, Long-billed Dowitcher (1st winter), Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Snipe, Purple Sandpiper, Med Gull (2nd winter & adult).

30th January, 2016 – The Batts & Low Barns
A Common Buzzard was seen during an early afternoon visit to The Batts. 2 Kingfishers, 3+ Goldeneye and a drake Mandarin were the pick of the birds at Low Barns later in the day.

31st January, 2016 – Etherley Moor
20 different species during this morning garden watch, which included Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Linnet (5), Goldfinch (2), Chaffinch (2), Tree Sparrow (2), House Sparrow (8), Stock Dove (1 over) & Golden Plover (6 over) between 10am and 11am.

31st January, 2016 – Far Pasture & Gibside
Mid-afternoon visit to Far Pasture (Gibside) produced the usual species of birds, which included Little Grebe (1), Mallard (10+), Common Snipe (3), Moorhen (1), Coot (1), Red Kite (1), C.Buzzard (1), Kestrel (1), Mistle Thrush (1), Willow Tit (1+), Blue Tit (10+), Great Tit (10+), Coal Tit (1), Long-tailed Tit (3+), Treecreeper (2), Nuthatch (1), Wren (1), Robin (1), Dunnock (2) and Reed Bunting (1).

February 2016

Picture:  Fulmar at Tynemouth, 28th February

6th February, 2016 – Escomb
Had a walk round a very wet Escomb this morning, which proved to be very rewarding.  Due to the rain, I decided to leave the camera at home. A very wise, but at the same time regretful decision because I got good views of an Otter on the River Wear. It was watched for 1-2 minutes before it came close enough for a video and then went out of site.  It was just as rewarding bird wise with Barn Owl (2 in their usual location), Goldeneye (3m 4f), Goosander (1f), Tufted Duck (5), Tree Sparrow (2), Lesser Redpoll (2) and Bullfinch (4) being the pick of the birds.

14th February, 2016 – Bishops Park & The Batts
Two quick visits to Bishops Park and The Batts today. The only bird of interest was a probable Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at The Batts. Flight pattern and size of the bird looked good, but didn't hear it call or get better than a single 10-15 second view of the bird (in flight).

27th February, 2016 – Teesdale & Weardale
Had a run over to Teesdale and Weardale today, checking a selection of Black Grouse sites.  32 in total.  Teesdale had five groups of 12, 9, 1, 4 & 1.  Weardale had groups of 4 and 1. No birds at 3-4 sites that usually have them?  Good numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plovers. Others included Red Grouse (2), Mistle Thrush (10+), Song Thrush (3+), Great Spotted Woodpecker, etc. No raptors?

28th February, 2016 – Tynemouth
Visited Tynemouth today and got decent views of the long staying Black Redstart at the pier (much better than last Sunday, but still too distant for decent photo's). Other birds seen during the two visits included Guillemot, Fulmar, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Rock Pipit & more.

March 2016

Picture:  Barn Owl at Etherley Moor, 11th March

5th March, 2016 – Low Barns
Nice afternoon visit to Low Barns, quickly walking round the reserve and spending a bit of time in the hides between showers.  Feeding stations were active today with Lesser Redpoll (4+), Siskin (5+), Greenfinch (2), Goldfinch (2+), Nuthatch (2) and Marsh Tit (1) being the pick of the birds.  The lakes were quiet with 4 Goldeneye's still present, but no Mandarin. A Curlew flew over the reserve before leaving.

6th March, 2016 – Teesdale & Weardale
Had a drive to the south of the county today in the hope of finding Goshawk, Crossbill and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. No joy with any of the target birds, but did get good views of Red Grouse, Red-legged Partridge, Fieldfare, Redwing and Siskin.  Had a quick walk round one of my patches and found that two Common Buzzards were on the patch (most likely the same birds that were there last year). Hope they have a successful year.

15th March, 2016 – Etherley Moor
Barn Owl
in the field behind our feeding station.

19th March, 2016 – Mockerkin Tarn, Cumbria
Had a trip over to Cumbria today for the Demoiselle Crane at Mockerkin Tarn (south of Cockermouth), which was seen soon after arrival.  Other birds of interest seen during the day included Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Goldeneye, Oystercatcher, Lapwings, Curlews, Snipe, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk (1 probable), Kestrel, Black Grouse, Red Grouse and one dead otter (road kill).

20th March, 2016 – Bishops Park & The Batts
Green Woodpecker
, Goosander, Skylark (heard), Curlew (heard), Redwing and two Mistle Thrush were pick of the birds at Bishops Park today.  Three Roe Deers were at The Batts.  Skylark, Curlew, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Linnets were observed on Etherley Moor during a twenty minute view of the feeders. Checked two sites for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker with no joy.

25th March, 2016 – Tillery Wood & Saltholme
Early morning visit to Tillery Wood produced 5-6 Crossbill (flight only), 2+ ChiffChaff (first of the year), 2+ Common Buzzard, 10+ Fieldfare, 2+ Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, etc.  Next was a quick visit to Saltholme. Missed the opportunity of photographing the two Penduline Tits by minutes, but they were still nice to see (cracking little birds). A Little Egret was very close to the wildlife watch point hide.  The redhead Smew was on the lake in front of the visitor centre.

27th March, 2016 – Low Barns
Had an hour at Low Barns late afternoon. Pick of the birds included 4+ Siskin, 3+ Lesser Redpoll, GSW, Nuthatch, C.Buzzard and Great Crested Grebe.

28th March, 2016 – Low Barns
Another late afternoon visit to Low Barns and got good view of Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and a Weasel from the west hide. Weasel was seen moving its prey from vole's nest to its own (approx. 5-6 kills).  A 1st winter drake Scaup was on Marston Lake and an Osprey was seen flying across the reserve in a westerly direction. Two Treecreepers and a Green Woodpecker were in the Elder wood.

29th March, 2016 – Escomb & Low Barns
Pick of the birds at Escomb included Swallow (2), Oystercatcher (2), Great Crested Grebe (1), Curlew (2) and ChiffChaff (5+). No sign of the Scaup at Low Barns, but did get Mandarin (1 drake), Grey Wagtail (3), Buzzard (3) and Goldeneye (4).

30th March, 2016 – The Batts
Morning visit to The Batts with Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goosander, Tree Sparrow, ChiffChaff, etc. being seen.

31st March, 2016 - Greenabella
10+ Avocet, 1 Greenshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10+ Black-tailed Godwit, etc. seen during a quick walk round Greenabella on Thursday afternoon (31st March).

April 2016

Picture:  Kentish Plover at Audenshaw Reservoir, 26th April

1st April, 2016 – The Batts & Etherley Moor
Three Sand Martins flew over the construction site at The Batts mid-morning. Barn Owl, 50+ Linnet, 4 Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Chaffinch, 2+ Tree Sparrows, 3 Herring Gull, 4 Common Gull, etc at Etherley Moor.

2nd April, 2016 – Low Barns
Pair of Goosanders came very close to the west hide (drake Mandarin still there). Lesser Redpolls, Siskins, Reed Buntings, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, etc. still visiting the feeders. Three Goldeneye and two Great Crested Grebe were on Marston Lake.

3rd April, 2016 – Escomb
3 Common Buzzard, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Willow Tit, 2 Oystercatcher, 10+ ChiffChaff, Dipper, Sand Martin, 2 Barn Owl, etc. during a 2hr late morning walk around Escomb.

4th April, 2016 – The Batts
1 Little Egret, 2 Swallows, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Oystercatchers and 1 Meadow Pipit amongst the regulars at 'The Batts' this afternoon (first time I've recorded a Little Egret at this site).

5th April, 2016 – Weardale
2 Ring Ouzel, 2 Northern Wheatear, 2 Common Buzzard, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, 7+ Red Grouse, etc. during a quick visit to weardale this afternoon.

6th April, 2016 – Low Barns
Late afternoon visit to Low Barns produced Scaup (1), Goldeneye (4), Mandarin (1 drake), Goosander (2), Dipper (1), Grey Wagtail (2), Greenfinch (2), Lesser Redpoll (2+), Siskin (2+), Nuthatch (1), Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 over), etc.

8th April, 2016 – Bishops Park
Had a good hour or so at Bishops Park this afternoon. No sign of any Redstarts, Willow Warblers, etc., but did get 3 Green Woodpecker, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Common Buzzard, 4+ Jay, 1 Dipper and 3 Pied Wagtail with the regulars.

9th April, 2016 – Bishops Park
Another visit to Bishops Park and managed to see my first Common Redstart (male) for the year. Think this is the first time I have seen one of these before Willow Warbler.  Also got Treecreeper, G.S.Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, C.Buzzard, etc.

10th April, 2016 – Escomb & Low Barns
Had a walk around local patches and a couple of wooded areas today before returning to work tomorrow.  40+ Sand Martin and 2 Great Crested Grebes at Escomb.  2 Willow Warbler and a male Blackcap at Low Barns.  Otherwise, much of the same.

16th April, 2016 – The Batts & Low Barns
2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 150+ Sand Martin, 10+ Swallow, a good number of ChiffChaff during a 20 minute walk around The Batts (4:30pm).  Nothing too different during 30 minutes at Low Barns late pm.

17th April, 2016 – Low Barns
Lesser Redpoll
, Siskin, Jay, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker (heard only) amongst the regular visitors to the west hide feeding station. Water Rail, Little Grebe, Greylag Geese (with 3 young) from Northumbrian Hide. Scaup, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, etc. from south hide. 40+ Sand Martin and 5+ Swallow from the north hide.

21st April, 2016 – Low Barns
Had a walk around Escomb and The Batts this afternoon with good numbers of Blackcaps and Willow Warblers back at both sites. Three G.C.Grebes, two Gadwall, one Goldeneye and a Dipper were at Escomb. Otherwise, quiet.

23rd April, 2016 – Teesside
A Garganey and a Little Gull were at the north end of East Saltholme (11:30am). Grasshopper Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, ChiffChaff and Willow Warbler were at Dormans soon after (between 11:30 and 12:00).  Other birds included a White Wagtail (Seaton Common), a Whimbrel (Cowpen Marsh) and a Common Swift (West Saltholme).

26th April, 2016 – Audenshaw Reservoir, Manchester
Took a day off work to go for the reported Kentish Plover at Audenshaw Reservoirs. The target bird was seen soon after arrival and got a few photo's before walking back to the car. Other birds at this location included Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Swift, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swallow, Northern Wheatear, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat & more.  Returned home via Leighton Moss and surrounding area where Peregrine Falcon, Raven & Cetti's Warbler were seen among the regulars.

May 2016

Picture:  Pied Flycatcher at Tunstall, 15th May

8th May, 2016 – Knitsley Fell & Saltholme
Started Sunday with an early visit to Hamsterley and Knitsley Fell and got excellent views of Wood Warbler (1), Tree Pipit (2) and Cuckoo (2m 1f). Other birds of interest in the area included R.L.Partridge & Red Grouse.  A mid to late afternoon visit to saltholme produced Spoonbill (5), Black Tern (1) & Whiskered Tern (2).

10th May, 2016 – Zinc Road
Took the afternoon off to photograph the Flying Scotsman as it travelled through Bradbury during the afternoon and used the time between north and southbound shoots to go and see the Citrine Wagtail at Zinc Road. The target bird moved around the flooded area at the bottom of Zinc Road proving to be very hard to find every time it flew. Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtails, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Swallows, Sand Martins, Shelducks, Redshanks, Lapwings and Kestrel were also in the area.

12th May, 2016 – Escomb
Birds included Common Sandpiper (2 pairs), Garden Warbler (2), Common Swift (10+), Swallow (10+), Mute Swan (1 on the River Wear) and Canada Geese (4 with goslings).

14th May, 2016 – Bishops Park, The Batts & Teesside
Started the day with an early morning visit to The Batts 'Bishops Park' and was rewarded with good views of a female Northern Wheatear (first for me at this site) as well as Swifts, Swallows, Sand Martins, House Martins, Common Whitethroat and Roe Deer among the usual.  We then went to Hartlepool Headland and got excellent views of a red spotted Bluethroat.  Next stop was RSPB Saltholme were we got Marsh Harrier, Great Reed Warbler, Spoonbill (3), Whiskered Tern, Common Tern & more.

15th May, 2016 – Tunstall Reservoir & Low Barns
Pied Flycatcher (3 singing males), Spotted Flycatcher (2), Common Redstart (1 heard), Cuckoo (at least one heard), Nuthatch (1), Treecreeper (2) and Grey Wagtail (1) were the pick of the birds during an early afternoon visit to Tunstall Reservoir.  Pied Flycatcher (1), Garden Warbler (2), Reed Warbler (2) and Sedge Warbler (1) were among the usual at Low Barns late afternoon.

30th May, 2016 – Belhaven Bay, Dunbar
Visited Belhaven Bay for a Gull-billed Tern that had been reported over the previous two days, arriving at 9am and leaving at 6pm. The target bird wasn't seen during the day, but we did see 55 different species including Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Gannets & more.

June 2016

Picture:  Sparrowhawk at Etherley Moor, 27th June

22nd June, 2016 – Norfolk Twitch
A Corn Bunting was seen on roadside wires to the south of Choseley Drying Barns before 8am (always nice to see and hear this declining species).  Titchwell (8:00am to 11:15am) produced Bearded Tit, Cetti’s Warbler, Bittern, Egyptian Goose, Red-crested Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Avocet, Grey Plover, Little-ringed Plover, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Tern, Little Gull, etc. Painted Lady butterfly on the path that leads to the beach.  I then walked to Scolt Head Island (11:45 to 12:15) in search for the Great Knot, only to find that it had flown to Titchwell.  Sandwich Tern was added to the day list before walking back to Titchwell (12:30 to 1:15pm), where I got good views of the Great Knot (only the fifth time this species has been seen in the UK).  I then went to Kelling (2:15pm to 5:00pm) where I got Dartford Warbler, Woodlark, Turtle Dove, Stonechat, Common Whitethroat and Silver-studded Blue butterfly. Not much photography during the day, just quality birding with the odd photo when the opportunity presented itself. Thoroughly enjoyable day.

26th June, 2016 – Etherley Moor, Bishop Middleham & Wolsingham
Very quiet weekend with highlights being ChiffChaff, Curlew & Oystercatcher on Etherley Moor.  Small Heath, Northern Brown Argus and Common Blue Butterflies. Bee Orchid, Dark Red Helleborine, Common Spotted Orchid and Common Twayblade plants at Bishop Middleham.  Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redshank, Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker at Wolsingham.

27th June, 2016 – Etherley Moor
A Sparrowhawk landed on the neighbours fence for a good 4-5 minutes. Cracking bird.

July 2016

Picture:  Common Tern at Holme Fleet, 9th July

2nd July, 2016 – Low Barns
Very quiet visit to Low Barns this morning with nothing out of the ordinary seen. Best was a Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Swifts, Swallow and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

3rd July, 2016 – Escomb
Pick of the birds included Great Crested Grebe (2), Swift (4+), Swallow (5) and a singing Willow Warbler. Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Large Skipper butterflies were seen.  A single Azure Damselfly was seen among the Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies. Seems to be very quiet across the whole patch.

9th July, 2016 – Teesside
Water Rail
, Coot, Moorhen (2 broods with 1st brood feeding 2nd brood), Little Egret, Grey Heron, Gadwall, Mallard, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting were seen during a quick visit to the wildlife watch point at Saltholme.  Eleven Little Egrets were seen from Phil Steed hide.  Common Terns were showing well at Holme Fleet.

10th July, 2016 – Wansbeck Estuary & Wingate Quarry
Bonaparte's Gull
and 4-5 Roseate Terns were seen at Wansbeck Estuary early afternoon. Others included Sandwich Tern, Arctic Tern, Common Tern, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Curlew, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pied Wagtail, etc.  Despite the high winds, we stopped off at Wingate to see if any butterflies were to be seen. It was hard going, but we did eventually see 5-6 Marbled White among the more common Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Common Blues.

17th July, 2016 – Cleveland & North Yorkshire
Visited a number of sites looking for butterflies and dragonflies.  Butterflies included Grayling (2), Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (4+), Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Skipper and Large Skipper. Dipped Large Heath and Essex Skipper.  Dragonflies included Keeled Skimmer and Common Darter. Dipped Golden-ringed Dragonfly.

24th July, 2016 – Etherley Moor
Plenty of young Tree Sparrows, House Sparrows, Robin (1), Dunnocks, Great Tits and Blue Tits visiting the feeders. Other birds seen include Wren (2), Blackbird (2), Swift (2), House Martins, Swallows, Kestrel, Starlings, Woodpigeons, etc.  The pond is showing signs of life with at least four Common Black Diving Beetles and one larvae species (presumed Beetle species). Some of the plants are flowering and plenty of Saw Fly Caterpillars on Solomon's Seal, which is now almost fully stripped of its leaves.

August 2016

Picture:  Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere, 5th August

5th August, 2016 – Minsmere
Visited to see the Western Purple Swamphen and other wildlife to be found at the reserve.  Target bird was seen soon after arrival, but was a bit distant for decent photographs (nice to see this potential first for Britain though). Other birds included Bittern (in flight), Ruff, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits, Bar-tailed Godwits, Spotted Redshanks, Avocets, Stone Curlew and a minimum count of 23 Little Gulls.  Butterflies seen were Gatekeeper, Grayling, Painted lady, Red Admiral, Comma, Peacock, Large White, Small White and an unidentified Skipper species.

9th August, 2016 – Escomb
Little Stint
, Spoonbill, Ruff, Avocet, Dunlin & L.R.Plover were seen during a very quick visit to Saltholme hide.  Long-tailed DuckShelduck, Avocet, Dunlin & L.R.Plover were seen during a walk along the Long Drag.

20th August, 2016 – Low Barns
Nice couple of hours at a very wet Low Barns this afternoon (didn't stop raining). Pick of the birds were 2 G.S.Woodpeckers, 1 Nuthatch, 5+ Swift, 10+ House Martin & 10+ Swallow from west hide. Also Grey Wagtail & 2 Kingfishers on the R.Wear.

27th August, 2016 – Etherley Moor & Saltholme
First dragonfly species to visit our new Etherley Moor wildlife pond happened today (male and female Common Darters). Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small White, Large White & Wall Brown butterflies. Willow Warbler, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, House Martin & Swallows were also seen.  A late afternoon visit to Saltholme to see the reported Black-necked Grebe and Ruddy Shelduck. Good views of the Grebe, but didn't get to see the Shelduck. Other birds of note included 9+ Ruff, 1 Greenshank and 20+ Barnacle Geese.

28th August, 2016 – Low Barns
Two quick visits to Low Barns today with Kingfisher, Water Rail, Shoveller and Willow Tit being the pick of the birds.

29th August, 2016 – Etherley Moor & Escomb
Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Tree Sparrows, House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit
& Wren at Etherley Moor. Also Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White, Small White, Speckled Wood and Wall Brown butterflies.  Afternoon visit to Escomb produced Kingfisher, 3 Common Buzzards and Green Woodpecker were the pick of the birds (very quiet bird wise).  Common Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Common Darters and Blue Damsels just about everywhere. First Small Copper butterfly for two years (getting quite hard to find this species).

September & October 2016

Picture:  Siberian Accentor at Easington, 14th October

1st September, 2016 – Etherley Moor
on the neighbours fence.

3rd September, 2016 – Low Barns
Didn't stop raining all day, so only managed an hour in the west hide (4-5pm). Two kingfishers were seen, one of which showed for five minutes or so. Other than that, it was very quiet.

4th September, 2016 – Saltholme & Escomb
Very quiet early afternoon visit with a distant Garganey (Phil Steed hide) and a Black Swan (Dormans) being the pick of the birds.  A bit more activity during a late afternoon to Escomb. Plenty of Willow Warbler, ChiffChaff, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap in the hedgerows. A dodgy white goose was with swans (probably the same one that was at the Batts a few weeks ago) on the lake. Still a few Swallows and House Martins about. Butterflies included Painted Lady and Speckled Wood.

17th September, 2016 – Hartlepool Headland
Yellow-browed Warbler
at the outer bowling green.  Northern Wheatear between the two breakwaters. Otherwise quiet.

18th & 19th September, 2016 – Whittle Dean Reservoir (Northumberland)
Common Buzzard
, Greenshank (3) & Kingfisher were the pick of the birds whilst looking for Franklins Gull (2 visits).

8th October, 2016 – Etherley Moor & Saltholme
Two Common Buzzards were seen circling close to Escomb School.  Also Willow Warbler & Grey Heron (Sunday, am).  Pick of the birds during an afternoon visit to Saltholme included Black-necked Grebe, Northern Wheatear & Merlin.

9th October, 2016 – Hartlepool Headland
Yellow-browed Warbler
(1), Goldcrest (10+), Willow Warbler (1) and a Song Thrush (1) were pick of the birds during our visit. Red Admiral (6+), Painted Lady (1) and Large White (1) butterflies were also seen. Missed Woodcock and Red-breasted Flycatcher that were reported earlier in the day. Also missed Red-flanked Bluetail that was reported after we arrived back home.

14th October, 2016 – Easington, Kilnsea
Visited Easington for the Siberian Accentor this morning, which showed very well (cracking bird). 1-2 Firecrests were amongst Goldcrests in surrounding trees (others reported a Yellow-browed Warbler, which wasn't seen by me). Redwings, Fieldfares and Song Thrushes were also there.  A Shorelark was seen at Kilnsea, but failed to connect with other birds that had been reported (Pallas's Warbler, Dusky Warbler & Olive-backed Pipit).

15th October, 2016 – Hartlepool Headland
Interesting 3-4 hours at Hartlepool Headland today with Shorelark, Lapland Bunting, Woodcock, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Common Redstart being best birds seen. Plenty of Redwings, Meadow Pipits, Goldcrests and ChiffChaffs.

16th October, 2016 – Newburn Bridge
The rising tide was a bit higher than usual and enjoyed watching the waders being pushed closer towards me. Waders included Purple Sandpiper (2), Dunlin (30+), Sanderling (20+), Turnstone (20+), Ringed Plover (20+) and Oystercatcher (20+).  A Mediterranean Gull was also there.

23rd October, 2016 – Etherley Moor & Low BarnsEtherley Moor (am): Redwing (200+), Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Linnet, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Kestrel, etc. during 30 minutes viewing from the back garden.  Low Barns (pm): Spent most of the afternoon keeping out of the rain in the west hide watching the Kingfishers. G.S.Woodpecker, Willow Tit, Common Snipe, G.B.B.Gull, Goldeneye and Gadwall were with other birds seen.

23th October, 2016 – Escomb
7 female Goldeneye, 3 Wigeon, Gadwall, Goosander, 15 Tufted Duck, Jay, etc. at dusk.

29th October, 2016 - Skinningrove & South Shields
Eastern Black Redstart showed well between 9:30 and 11:45am at Skinningrove. Other birds seen here included Rock Pipit, Robin, Dunnock and 300+ Pink-footed Geese (over).  A Daurian Shrike was watched for most of the afternoon at The Leas in South Shields. Other birds here included Little Owl, Stonechat, Whinchat, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird & Reed Buntings.

30th October, 2016 - Redcar
The reported Pied Wheatear was watched and photographed at a distance until the rising tide and dog walkers eventually pushed the bird within range for half decent photo's. Last Pied Wheatear for Cleveland was 1994 (my previous was the Newbiggin bird in 2004).

November & December 2016

Picture:  Blue Rock Thrush at Stow on the Wold, 30th December

6th November, 2016 – Teesside
Eastern Black Redstart
and Glaucous Gull were the pick of the birds at Hartlepool Headland. Good numbers of Wigeon on Seaton Common. Common Buzzard and Long-tailed Duck were best birds at Saltholme.

6th November, 2016 – Etherley Moor
Good numbers of Fieldfare, Redwing, Starling, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Woodpigeon & Magpie visited the feeding station. Best birds of the day were nine Grey Partridges in the field to the south of Croftside (nine is the highest number I have seen for a while).

13th November, 2016 – Low Barns
Managed a quick walk around the reserve as the light was fading at dusk. Best birds were 20 Pied Wagtails, 2 Little Egrets and a Dipper. Too wet and dull for photography, but nice to be out.

10th November, 2016 – High Shincliffe
Enjoyed 30-60 minutes watching Waxwings, Redwings, Mistle Thrushes, Blackbirds and Bullfinches visiting a rowan tree in High Shincliffe mid-afternoon. Other birds included Goldfinch, Willow Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Robin, etc.

20th November, 2016 – Hardwick Hall & Saltholme
20+ Bramblings were seen in the trees behind 'Hardwick Hall Hotel'.  Eleven Whooper Swans were on Back Saltholme.  Didn't stop raining for most of the day, so wasn't good for birdwatching and/or photography.

26th November, 2016 – Escomb
Best birds during a late afternoon visit to the lakes at Escomb included 1 Grey Wagtail, 7 Goldeneye (1 drake), 15 Tufted Duck and a murmuration of 250+ Starling. The dodgy (farmyard) goose was still on the lake with a single Canada Goose to keep it company.

10th December, 2016 – Beeley
Arrived close to 1030am and waited patiently for the Dusky Thrush at point 1 on the map.  At 11:15, the bird was reported in the nearby orchard (point 2 on the map), where I got decent enough views of the Dusky Thrush. Other birds in the area included Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird, Starling, G.S.Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Wren. etc. Red Kite seen close to Wetherby on the return journey.

20th December, 2016 – Escomb & Low Barns
40 different species of birds were seen during a 2hr morning walk around Escomb. Pick of the birds included 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Nuthatch, 5 Tree Sparrow, 2 Dipper, 2 Barn Owl and Treecreeper.  A quick early afternoon visit to Low Barns produced Kingfisher, Siskin, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Goldeneye, etc.

22nd December, 2016 – Saltholme
Good numbers of Barnacle Geese, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Wigeon, etc. were on East Saltholme (no sign of the reported White-fronted Goose for me). Other memorable sightings included Common Kestrel (watched hunting at close distance in poor light), Fieldfare (50+ by the Wildlife watch point) and Stonechat in good light.

28th December, 2016 – Low Barns & Escomb
The water at Low Barns was mainly frozen over with nothing out of the ordinary seen.  Best birds were Shoveller and Pochards on Marston Lake. Quite a few Robins seen from the pathways.  In contrast to Low Barns, no fewer than 40 different species seen at Escomb.  Pick of the birds here included Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Teal, Tufted Duck (30+), Goldeneye (3), Kestrel, Buzzard, Lapwing, Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Nuthatch, Robin (10+), Tree Sparrow, etc.

30th December, 2016 – Stow-on-the-Wold
Arrived at approximately 9:30am and located the 'Blue Rock Thrush' at 11:30 (with help from one of the local residents). Showed well for us before the crowd arrived, which allowed me to get a few decent photo's.  Other birds seen during the day included Buzzard, Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird, Starling, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Jackdaw, C.Crow, etc.