Picture: Redwing at Darlington, 1st January
1st January, 2017 – Teesside
Steady start to the 2017 with best birds being Tundra Bean Goose (10), Eurasian White-fronted Goose (1), Short-eared Owl (1) and Common Buzzard (1) seen at Leamside. Green Sandpiper at Billingham Beck. Waxwings at Middlesbrough (16) and Darlington (11). No sign of Whooper Swans when I was at Saltholme, 1:15pm.
2nd January, 2017 – Hardwick Hall & Teesside
2 Brambling, 1 Chaffinch, 3 Bullfinch, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Redwing, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, etc. were seen in the grounds of Hardwick Hall. 1 Shorelark, 1 Meadow Pipit and 40+ Linnet were on waste ground close to the jewish cemetery. Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, Great-crested Grebe, Guillimot, etc. were in the fish quay at the Headland. Mediterranean Gull at Newburn Bridge. Grey Plover and Black-tailed Godwit at Salterns. 3 Scaup on East Saltholme. Teal, Pintail and Black Swan from the Phil Stead hide.
7th January, 2017 – Shropshire
Got an invite to go for the Pine Bunting in Shropshire early Friday evening and despite knowing it was going to be a difficult bird to pin down I decided to go. Arrived soon after 9:30am and spent most of the day scanning a single hedgerow at Venus Pool NR where good numbers of Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Brambling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Linnet were seen. Other birds in the area included Whooper Swan (3), Bewicks Swan (4), Mute Swan (30+), Common Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, etc. Unfortunately there was no sign of the target bird for me, but two members of the group were lucky enough to get brief views of the bird for 5-10 seconds. Still an enjoyable day : )
8th January, 2017 – Teesside
Early afternoon walk in the area of Newburn Bridge produced Mediterranean Gull (1), Purple Sandpiper (1), Rock Pipit (1), Meadow Pipit (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (10+) and good numbers of the more regular waders such as Redshank, Turnstone, Knot, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, etc. Birds at Seaton Common included 15 Grey Partridge and 9 Pink-footed Geese.
14th January, 2017 – Etherley Moor
Three Waxwings were seen mid-morning, which was a patch first for me. Light was very poor for photographs, but so pleased to see them before the developers start to build on the land.
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).
28th January, 2017 – Dunnington
Our first visit for the reported 'Pine Bunting' on Sunday (22nd) was very cold and dull, resulting in any birdwatching being very hard work. The second visit on the following Saturday (28th) was cold, wet and just as frustrating. Both visits were hard going before eventually seeing the target bird for 4-5 minutes in good light at about 1pm. No photographs, but really pleased to have seen it. Other birds seen during the two visits included Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, Wren, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Common Buzzard, Red Kite, etc.
29th January, 2017 – Eagland Hill, Lancashire
Red-breasted Goose and at least four Eurasian White-fronted Geese were with 800+ Pink-footed Geese in fields at Eagland Hill mid-afternoon. Other birds in the area of 'Pilling' included Whooper Swan (6), Brent Goose (1), Barnacle Goose (1), Little Egret (10+), Common Buzzard (3), Peregrine Falcon (1), R.L.Partridge (5+), etc.
Picture: Lesser Redpoll at Low Barns, 5th February
4th February, 2017 – Etherley Moor & RSPB Saltholme
Late attempt at an hours garden watch from 0830 - 0930 in our garden at etherley Moor produced 16 species seen. Grey Heron (1), Black-headed Gull (2), Woodpigeon (2), Wren (1), Dunnock (2), Robin (1), Blackbird (3), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (2), Magpie (1), Jackdaw (7), Carrion Crow (1), House Sparrow (2), Tree Sparrow (7), Chaffinch (3) and Greenfinch (1). An afternoon visit to RSPB Saltholme produced Long-eared Owl (in its usual location) and a drake Pintail from Phil Stead hide.
5th February, 2017 – Escomb, Low Barns & Barnard Castle
30 different species seen during a quick walk around Escomb Lake. Pick of the birds included Dipper (1), Goldeneye (2), Willow Tit (2) & Song Thrush (1). Visited Low Barns soon after Escomb with 19 species seen from the west hide, which included Redpoll (5), Siskin (2), Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Nuthatch (1), etc. Other birds included Goldeneye (5), Little Grebe (2), etc. A mid-afternoon drive around the south of Barnard Castle produced Red Grouse (10+), Red-legged Partridge (2), Common Buzzard (1), Raven (2+), etc.
18th February, 2017 – Escomb
36 different species were seen during a 2 hour morning walk around Escomb lakes. Best birds included Greylags (84), Goldeneye (1 drake), Dipper (2), Grey Wagtail (2), Song Thrush (1), Mistle Thrush (1), Common Buzzard (2), Goldcrest (1), etc.
18th February, 2017 – RSPB Saltholme
Highlight during this quick early afternoon visit to RSPB Saltholme has to be four Waxwings in the car park. Never get tired of seeing these little beauties.
19th February, 2017 – Low Barns
Enjoyed a late afternoon walk around the reserve. Nothing different other than a lower than usual water level (1-2 feet drained from Marston Lake) and more trees being felled. Not too surprised about this. I just hope they know what they're doing.
19th February, 2017 – Darlington
Nine Waxwings were seen at Skinnergate late morning.
26th February, 2017 – Low Barns
Lesser Redpoll and Siskin were showing very well during a morning visit to Low Barns NR. Other birds seen included Kingfisher, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, etc.
Picture: Goldeneye at Escomb, 12th March
5th March, 2017 – Etherley Moor
2 Common Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Curlew, 7 Lapwings, 20+ Linnet, 8 Tree Sparrows and 3 Greenfinch were among the usual birds, up to 10:30am.
11th March, 2017 – Hartlepool
Quick visit to try and see the reported Black Redstart in Hartlepool Docks. No joy with the Redstart, but did get good views of Iceland Gull (1), Great Northern Diver (1), Eider (10+), Guillimot (3), etc. Mediterranean Gull still at Newburn Bridge.
12th March, 2017 – Escomb
Had a very relaxing walk round Escomb lakes between 8:30 and 11:30 with 36 different species seen. Best birds included Whooper Swans (67 north), Goldeneye (8 displaying), Willow Tit (2), Common Buzzard (2), Oystercatcher (2), Curlew (1), Dipper (1), etc. Frogs were very active. Two Smooth Newts were seen at Knitsley Fell (early afternoon).
25th March, 2017 – Low Barns & Shibdon Pond
No sign of any early Ring Ouzels for me at Bollihope (early am). Definitely one in the area (one reported late morning). Afternoon visit to the metro centre gave me the opportunity of seeing the two drake Garganey's that had been reported at Shibdon Pond earlier in the day (both showed well in front of the reeds).
Picture: Meadow Pipit at Zinc Road, 1st April
1st April, 2017 – Teesside
A Black-necked Grebe and 4 Avocets were the pick of the birds at Saltholme. that was reported earlier in the day. Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were seen during a quick drive down Zinc Road (no sign of any Wheatears). Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrows, Bullfinch, etc. at Cowpen Bewely.
2nd April, 2017 – Escomb
Willow Warbler (3), Blackcap (5+), ChiffChaff (10+), Sand Martin (10+), Dipper, Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Tree Sparrow were best birds out of 41 different species seen.
7th April, 2017 – Escomb & Weardale
Common Sandpiper (1), Oystercatcher (2), Grey Wagtail (2), Dipper (1), Willow Tit (1), Willow Warbler, ChiffChaff, Blackcap, Sand Martins, Great Crested Grebe, etc. were pick of the birds during an early morning walk around Escomb. The sandpiper is the earliest I've seen (previous was 12/4/09). 3 Ring Ouzels, 2 Northern Wheatears, 2 Raven, 2 Common Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk, 20+ Red Grouse, etc. were seen during a mid-afternoon visit to Weardale
8th April, 2017 – Etherley Moor
ChiffChaff (1), Skylark (2), Lapwing (2) and Curlew (2) were with all the usual birds seen. Best was the ChiffChaff that came to within 3 feet of where I was stood and two Skylarks that were singing directly above me (typical that I didn't have the camera for the skylarks).
9th April, 2017 – Bishops Park & Teesside
Common Redstart (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Nuthatch (1), Willow Warbler (1), ChiffChaff (1), Treecreeper (1), etc. were seen during an early morning visit to Bishops Park. My first butterfly of the year was a very worn Small Tortoiseshell. Marsh Harrier (2 over Dormans), Spoonbill (1), Little Ringed Plover (1) and Ruff (1) were at Saltholme. A Sparrowhawk was seen to the south of Seaton Common.
9th April, 2017 – Etherley Moor
Wildlife pond now beginning to take shape. Not even a year old and it is already looking good. ChiffChaff put in another appearance, but didn't come as close as its previous visit. The same can be said for the Skylarks, which were about a third further away.
15th April, 2017 – The Batts & Teesside
Swallow, Sand Martin, Goosander (4m & 2f), Tree Sparrow, Blackcap, ChiffChaff, Willow Warbler, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, etc. during a quiet (early morning) visit to The Batts. Best birds during a mid-afternoon visit to Teesside included Northern Wheatear (1) from road to North Gare and another from Zinc Road), Golden Plover, Kestrel, Little Egret, etc.
29th April, 2017 – Stanhope, Frosterley & Etherley Moor
Common Sandpiper (1), Dipper (1), Grey Wagtail (2), Pied Wagtail (2), Goosander (2), Grey Heron (1) and Mallard (2) with young on the river wear at Frosterley. 4-5 Common Buzzards seen. No sign of Wood Warbler, Tree Pipit or Cuckoo.......yet. A Grey Partridge was heard on Etherley Moor at dusk (9:30pm-ish)
Picture: Caspian Tern at Hickling Broad, 20th May
1st May, 2017 – Teesside & Hetton Lyons C.P.
Wood Sandpiper (1), Common Whitethroat (1), Sedge Warbler (2), Reed Warbler (1), Blackcap (1), Willow Warbler (2) and ChiffChaff (2) were seen from the path that views the fire station field at RSPB Saltholme. 30+ Northern Wheatear and a male Whinchat were the pick of the birds on Seaton Common. 2 Black Terns, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Little Grebe and a Great Crested Grebe were seen during a relaxing 30-40 minutes at Hetton Lyons C.P. late afternoon.
9th May, 2017 – Low Barns
Nice sunny evening, so went for a slow walk around the reserve to catch up on summer visitors. Birds included Pied Flycatcher (1 male), Garden Warbler (1), Sedge Warbler (1), Reed Warbler (2), Blackcap (5), Willow Warblers (5+), ChiffChaffs (2), Common Sandpiper (1), Oystercatcher (2), recently fledged Long-tailed Tits, etc.
13th May, 2017 – Teesside
1 Red Kite, 2 Whimbrel and several Northern Wheatears were on Seaton Common. Approximately 10 Common Terns were on the islands at RSPB Saltholme. 13 Little Terns, 1 Sandwich Tern, 10+ Sanderling, 3 Dunlin and 5 Ringed Plovers were at Crimdon.
14th May, 2017 – Knitsley Fell
Tree Pipit (1), Spotted Flycatcher (1), Cuckoo (1), Woodcock (1), Jay (1), Common Buzzard (1) and Green Hairstreak (2+) were at Knitsley Fell. Still no sign of Wood Warbler at a nearby site (possibly another site lost).
14th May, 2017 – Osmotherly, North Yorkshire
Red Kite (1), Common Buzzard (2) and Tree Pipit (1) were the pick of the birds at a site near Osmotherley. Duke of Burgundy (10+), Dingy Skipper (2) and Green-veigned White (2) butterflies were seen.
20th May, 2017 – Hickling Broad & Kelling Heath, Norfolk
A Cuckoo was heard calling on Etherley Moor before departing for Hickling Broad at 4:30 in the morning and a Barn Owl was seen quartering Gaunless Flats soon after. Grasshopper Warbler (1), Savi's Warbler (1), Cetti's Warbler (2) and Marsh Harrier (1) were the pick of the birds at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad. At least three Swallowtail butterflies were also seen in this area. The target birds of Caspian Tern (1), Black-winged Stilt (3) and Spoonbill (5) were seen at Potter Heigham Marshes. Egyptian Goose (4), Whimbrel (1) and Hairy Dragonfly (1) were also seen here. Stopped off at Kelling Heath on the return journey and managed to get good views of Dartford Warbler (1), Woodlark (2), Lesser Whitethroat (1) and Stonechat (2).
25th May, 2017 – Sawdon, North Yorkshire
Decided to spend a few hours in North Yorkshire looking for Turtle Dove, Beautiful Demoiselle and orchids. No joy with the doves or orchids, but did get good views of Beautiful Demoiselle (1m & 1f). Plenty of butterflies, which included Brimstone (4-5).
Picture: Blyth's Reed Warbler at Siddick, 15th June
3rd June, 2017 – Bassenthwaite & Workington, Cumbria
Osprey (1), Pied Flycatcher (1), Tree Pipit (1), Marsh Fritillary (10+), Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (1) and Common Lizard (1) were seen. Small Blue (4+), Common Blue (10+), Small Heath (10+), Dingy Skipper (2), Large Skipper, (2) Painted Lady (10+) and Speckled Wood (1) butterflies were seen at Workington.
7th June, 2017 – Bowesfield Marsh, Teesside
The reported Marsh Warbler showed briefly 3-4 times, but only once without anything obstructing the view (wind kept the bird out of sight for most of the time I was there). Other birds in the area included Grasshopper Warbler (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Common Whitethroat (2), Reed Warbler (4), Sedge Warbler (2), Reed Bunting (2), Swifts (10+), House Martins (10+), Swallows (10+), etc. Butterflies included Speckled Wood (4), Orange Tip (2), Small Heath (4) and Common Blue (1).
10th June, 2017 – Etherley Moor
Plenty of young Tree Sparrows and House Sparrows in the garden. As well as the odd Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Robin & Blackbird.
13th June, 2017 – Billingham, Teesside
Spent an enjoyable 2-3hrs viewing and photographing my first adult Rose-coloured Starling in the back garden of number 45 Cayton Drive this afternoon.
15th June, 2017 – Siddick, Cumbria
First stop was Siddick for the reported Blyth's Reed Warbler, which was seen and heard well. After seeing the Blyth's, I decided to head for a well known site for Mountain Ringlet. I didn't fancy my chances in the dull and windy conditions, but one showed itself for 1-2 minutes when the sun came out for 2-3 minutes (very lucky). 3 Raven and 1 Common Buzzard were also at this location.
26th June, 2017 – Etherley Moor
Regulars over the past week or two in our garden have included Song Thrush (1), Blackbird (2), Tree Sparrow (2), House Sparrow (4+), Dunnock (2), Robin (2), Linnet (6), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (2), Chaffinch (2) and Greenfinch (3). Swifts (10+), House Martins (10+) and Swallows (10+) have been flycatching over the meadow (the field behind the garden hedgerow). Lapwings (2), Skylarks (2), Curlew (1), Oystercatcher (2), Pheasant (1) and Grey Partridge (1) were regularly seen/heard.
Picture: Gannet at Boulmer, 20th July
2nd July, 2017 – Teesside
Great White Egret was seen at Dormans (thanks to Tom Francis for putting out the news). Grayling (1), Small Skipper (2) and Large Skipper (5) butterflies were also in the area.
9th July, 2017 – Etherley Moor & Wingate
A juvenile Siskin was visiting the feeders all weekend at Etherley Moor. A common frog was in the wildlife pond, which will hopefully reduce the number of backswimmers that appear to be eating everything that moves. Visited Wingate Quarry on Saturday, where a juvenile Little Owl showed itself for 10-15 minutes. Butterflies here included Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Heath, Small Blue and Small Skipper.
12th July, 2017 – Escomb
Common Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Common Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, ChiffChaff, Willow Warbler, Brown Hawker, Blue Damsels, Skippers, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, etc. were seen during a 1 hour walk round Escomb ponds from 5pm to 6pm.
16th July, 2017 – North Yorkshire
White-letter Hairstreak (4), Comma (10+). Meadow Brown (10+), Ringlet (10+), Red Admiral (5+), Large White (1) and Small White (5+) were seen at a site near Guisborough. Dark Green Fritillary (2), Red Admiral (1), Small Heath (10+), Small Tortoiseshell (5+), Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Keeled Skimmer (15+) and Golden-ringed Dragonfly were seen at a well known site off the A169. No sign of any Large Heath, which was what I was hoping to see.
17th July, 2017 – Nottinghamshire
Weather was perfect for watching butterflies, so I went to a site near Nottingham for Purple Emperor, Silver-washed Fritillary & more. Species seen included Purple Emperor (2-3), Silver-washed Fritillary (2), Gatekeeper (10+), Purple Hairstreak (10+), White-letter Hairstreak (1), Brimstone (3), Comma (10+), Small Tortoiseshell (10+), Red Admiral (10+), Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Common Blue, Large Skipper (3), Large White (10+) and Small White (10+). Birds seen included Red Kite (seen from the car in Yorkshire), Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, ChiffChaff, Robin and Wren.
20th July, 2017 – Northumberland
First stop was Linton Lane NR where Slavonian Grebe and Marsh Harrier were seen with the more common birds. Next was the short drive to Boulmer, which gave me good views of an injured Gannet, Whimbrel, Arctic Tern and Northern Wheatear (no sign of the previously reported Long-billed Dowitcher). Stopped off at 2-3 coastal locations on the way back seeing Puffin, Guillimot, Razorbill, Roseate Tern, Arctic Tern, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Fulmar, etc.
21st July, 2017 – Teesside
Best birds during an early morning visit to Saltholme included Water Rail, Great White Egret and Little Egret. Visited Seaton Snook before going home, which produced 3 Arctic Skuas (one of which was dark phase).
24th July, 2017 – Escomb
A Hobby was seen flying directly over me, but soon flew high in an easterly direction (no pictures as I was more interested in watching the bird). Other birds seen during two visits included Little Egret (1), Barn Owl (2), Little Owl (1), Kestrel (1), Buzzard (2), Swift (1), House Martin (1), Sand Martin (10), Swallow (2), Dipper (1) & more.
Picture: Wilson's Petrel off Penzance, 12th August
2nd August, 2017 – Etherley Moor
Managed to sit in the garden for 10-15 minutes this evening and managed to get a few pictures of birds that may be pushed away from the garden when the new housing development starts. Here's hoping they won't start the build for a few years!
12th August, 2017 – Penzance
Planned a camping trip to Penzance in Cornwall in the hope of seeing some new birds and doing a bit of photography on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th August. The early morning pelagic from Penzance on Saturday morning produced 2-3 Wilson's Petrel, 20-30 Storm Petrel, 15+ Great Shearwater, 2-3 Balearic Shearwater, 10+ Sooty Shearwater, 100+ Manx Shearwater and 2 Great Skua were seen with the more common Gannet (20+), Fulmar (10+), Kittiwake (10+), Herring Gull (20+), etc. Sunfish (1) and Common Dolphins (20+) were also nice to see. The dull light and movement of the boat made viewing & photography difficult, but it did not spoil the occasion with 3 new birds seen (Wilson's Petrel being the best). After the mornings boat trip I decided to spend the afternoon in the area around Pendeen and Botallack, where I was hoping to see Chough and get a few photographs of the very scenic coastline. Five Chough were seen, but they were flyovers and weren't close enough for decent photographs. I did manage to view & photograph Raven (2+) and Peregrine (1).
15th August, 2017 – Teignmouth & Gloucester
Set off from the campsite in Penzance at 8am with the intention of stopping off at a couple of sites during the return journey. First stop was at a site near Teignmouth, where 10-20 Cirl Bunting and a Peregrine were seen with common species such as Blackcap (1), Willow Warbler (2), ChiffChaff (2), Wren (1), etc. Next stop was at a site near Gloucester, where I was hoping to see Adonis butterfly. By this time the weather didn't look good for watching butterflies, but was pleased to see up to 6 Adonis Blue (new species of butterfly for me), 10+ Common Blue, 1 Brown Argus and 1 Gatekeeper during 1-2 bright spells.
20th August, 2017 – Murcar, Aberdeenshire
Visited family in Maud and stopped off at Murcar for one of my breaks (both to and from Maud). On Saturday (19th), a single Surf Scoter was seen among Velvet (20+) and Common Scoters (1000c). A handful of Red-throated Divers (5+) and Guillemots (4) were also seen. Sunday (20th) was also hard going with no sign of the Surf Scoter, but did add Black-throated Diver (1), Red-breasted Merganser (3) and Northern Wheatear (2) to the birds seen at Murcar. No views of the American White-winged Black Scoter during my two visits. An Osprey was seen at a fishery near Auchnagatt on both days. Wrong settings on my camera and couldn't change in time before it flew off.
27th August, 2017 – Lancashire
Lancashire: Brown Hairstreak (1 male & 1 egg found), Brimstone (3), Gatekeeper (10+) and Red Admiral (10+) butterflies were seen at a site near Silverdale (early afternoon). Purple Heron (1), Little Egret (2), Marsh Harrier (3), Greenshank (2), Kingfisher (1) were at Leighton Moss (late afternoon).
Picture: Eurasian Scops Owl at Ryhope, 30th September
23rd September, 2017 – Escomb, Low Barns & The Batts
3hr walk round Escomb during the morning was very quiet. Pick of the birds included Goosander, Willow Tit, singing ChiffChaffs, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Dipper, etc. Visited The Batts and Low Barns late afternoon. Nothing out of the ordinary.
24th September, 2017 – Leighton Moss
At least six Bearded Tits were seen on the grit trays after a thirty minute wait. Other birds on the reserve included Purple Heron, Cetti's Warbler (2), Marsh Tit (1), Snipe (4) & more. First time I've visited Leighton Moss without seeing a Marsh Harrier, but did get at least two Buzzards. Enjoyed a couple of hours in the Eric Morecombe hide after leaving the reserve. Best birds here were Curlew Sandpiper (1), Little Stint (3), Dunlin (10+), Ringed Plover (10+), Black-tailed Godwits (50+), Merlin (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Raven (1), etc. 59 different species seen during the visit.
28th September, 2017 – Ryhope
Was forced to drop all of my plans for the evening when a Scops Owl was reported at Ryhope. Finished work, quick change of clothes and a thirty minute drive to get a bird that was the first for County Durham. Didn't check for anything else (two meetings to attend), but went home happy.
30th September, 2017 – Etherley Moor, Ryhope & Teesside
ChiffChaff (1), Tree Sparrow (4+), House Sparrow (10+), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (1), Coal Tit (1), Dunnock (2), Robin (1), Wren (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Rook (10+), Jackdaw (10+) and B.H.Gull (2) were seen before heading off to Ryhope. Also two frogs in the pond. The Scops Owl showed very well. Nothing else of interest seen by me, but others did get Spotted Flycatcher and Barred Warbler. Birds of interest at Hartlepool Headland included 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 ChiffChaff and 5 Sandwich Tern. A Tawny Owl was hear calling at dusk, Etherley Moor.
Picture: Rock Thrush at Blorenge in Gwent, 22nd October
7th October, 2017 – Seaton Snook, Teesside
Enjoyed an early afternoon visit at Seaton Snook for an hour watching the tide come in. Pick of the birds were Bar-tailed Godwit and Twite.
8th October, 2017 – Goswick, Northumberland
Visited Goswick for the reported Long-tailed Skua, which showed very well. My first sighting of this species since two flew north at Hartlepool Headland on 26th July 2007. On the return journey I stopped off at Budle Bay in the hope of seeing the Richardson Canada Goose that had been reported earlier in the day. No sign of the Cackling Goose, but did pick out Pink-footed Geese, Brent Geese and Pink-footed Geese among the 1000+ Barnacle Geese. Spotted Redshank and Grey Plover were among the regular birds to be found here. There was also a steady passage of Barnacle Geese throughout the visit with dozens of skeins seen, each having between 50 and 500 birds in them. Impressive!
8th October, 2017 – Escomb
Managed to have a steady and enjoyable walk around Escomb before dusk with Great Crested Grebe, Goosander, Wigeon, Teal, Kingfisher, Dipper and Lesser Redpoll being the best birds seen.
21st October, 2017 – Escomb
Highlights during this mornings walk around Escomb included Redwing (300+), Mistle Thrush (3), Song Thrush (5), Blackbird (10+), Nuthatch (1), Little Egret (1), Wigeon (1), Siskin (10+) & more.
22nd October, 2017 – Blorenge, Gwent
The adult male Rock Thrush showed very well for 5-10 minutes before the rain arrived and wasn't seen again for the following two hours. Red Kites (6+), Common Buzzards (10+), Ravens (8+), Northern Wheatear (1) and Meadow Pipit (2) were also seen.
28th October, 2017 – Weardale
Had a quick run up to Weardale early afternoon with the highlights being Black Grouse (10 males) and a large mixed flock of Fieldfare, Redwing & Starling (all near Rookhope).
29th October, 2017 – Saltholme
Early afternoon visit to Saltholme for the reported Cattle Egret, which was seen soon after arrival. Other birds in the area included Water Pipit, Whooper Swan, Sparrowhawk & more.
November & December 2017
Black Grouse in Weardale, 5th November 2017
5th November, 2017 – Seaton Snook, Teesside
The weekend was spent visiting Etherley Moor, Escomb, Low Barns, Teesside and Weardale. Fieldfare (100+), Redwing (1), Mistle Thrush (1), Reed Bunting (1), Linnet (1), etc. at Etherley Moor. Goldeneye (3f), Little Owl, etc. were at Escomb. Marsh Tit (1), Willow Tit (1), Siskin (15+), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Nuthatch (2), etc. were at Low Barns. Up to four Stonechats were on roadside wires at Zinc road and there were good numbers of waders at Newburn Bridge. Black Grouse (10+), Red Grouse (4), Grey Partridge (11), Pheasant (20+), Fieldfare (200+), etc. were in Weardale.
10th November, 2017 – Croxdale
Not much birding done over the past week. Best birds included Hawfinch (2-3), Kingfisher (1), Nuthatch (6+), Mistle Thrush (10+), GSWoodpecker (1), etc.
19th November, 2017 – Escomb
Redpoll (10+), Siskin (10+), Willow Tit (1), Nuthatch (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Tree Sparrow (6+), Kingfisher (1), Dipper (1), Goldeneye (3 females), Goosander (1), Tufted Duck (20+), Barn Owl (1), etc. were seen during a morning walk around the lakes.
19th November, 2017 – North Gare
Managed to see the reported Shorelarks (3) before the light went (not much else about during the hour long visit).
25th November, 2017 – Weardale
Fourteen female Black Grouse, two Red Grouse and a Snow Bunting were seen in the Stanhope area of Weardale (early afternoon).
26th November, 2017 – Teesside
Green Sandpiper (1), Common Redshank (1), Black-tailed Godwit (3), Common Snipe (2), Marsh Harrier (1) and Water Pipit (1) were seen from the Phil Stead hide at Saltholme. Curlew (20+), Wigeon (100+) and Stonechat (5) were seen from the road leading to North Gare.
1st to 28th December 2017 – Etherley Moor
The start of December has been very quiet with very few outings being made (family bereavement). Only birds to report during this time include Fieldfare (30+), Redwing (10+), Mistle Thrush (1), Reed Bunting (2), Linnet (1), Goldfinch (7+), Chaffinch (4), Yellowhammer (5+), Kestrel (1) and Sparrowhawk (1).
28th December 2017 – Newburn Bridge
The reported Lapland Bunting was seen with a flock of Linnets (70+) between Newburn Bridge and Seaton Carew.