Picture: Twite at Seaton Snook, 3rd January
1st January, 2019 – Etherley Moor
First bird of the year was Blackbird (1), followed closely by Woodpigeon (1), Tree Sparrow (3), House Sparrow (6+) and Chaffinch (2).
1st January, 2019 – Teesside
Visited Teesside for 2-3 hours during the afternoon. Spent an hour looking for Waxwings in Middlesbrough with no joy, but I did get good views of a Redwing whilst waiting. Two Green Sandpipers were at Billingham Beck. 40+ Pink-footed Geese were near Cowpen Bewley. 6 Tiaga and 2 Tundra Bean Geese were in the field to the north of Zinc Road. A Green-winged Teal was on Dormans. A Short-eared Owl was seen briefly at Cowpen Marsh.
2nd January, 2019 – Middlesbrough & Teesside
Had another visit to Middlesbrough for the Waxwings and this time managed to get half decent views of up to 12 birds. Other birds seen included Mistle Thrush (1), Blackbird (5+), Goldfinch (10+) & Magpie (2). Two Short-eared Owls were seen on the way home.
3rd January, 2019 – Hartlepool & Seaton Snook
Visited Hartlepool and worked my way down to Seaton Snook seeing all the birds I set out to see. Ring-necked Parakeet (5+) and a surprise Water Rail (1) was seen at Ward Jackson Park. Red-throated Diver (10+), Great Crested Grebe (20+), Guillimot (10+), Common Scoter (100+), Rock Pipit (1), Purple Sandpiper (2), Snow Bunting (13), etc. were at Hartlepool Headland. A single Mediteranean Gull was at Newburn Bridge. Taiga Bean Goose (6) and Short-eared Owl (1) were seen to the north of Zinc Road. Twite (100+), Grey Plover (10+), Common Redshank (30+), Dunlin (80+), etc. were at Seaton Snook. Golden Plover (200+), Lapwing (50+), Black-tailed Godwit (20+) and Short-eared Owl were seen from the bridge at Greatham Creek.
4th January, 2019 – Saltholme (am)
Barn Owl (1), Long-eared Owl (1), Short-eared Owl (2), Merlin (1) & Barnacle Geese (60+) were best birds for me at Saltholme and surrounding area.
4th January, 2019 – Escomb (pm)
Late afternoon visit to Escomb for Little & Tawny Owl (not seen or heard). A Goldeneye (drake), a Little Grebe and 7 Goosanders (5 drakes & 2 females) were on Escomb Lake. Two Dippers were on the River Wear.
Picture: Common Newt at Etherley Moor, 21st February
2nd February, 2019 – Hartlepool
A Glaucous Gull was seen flying from Newburn Bridge towards Fish Quay
9th February, 2019 – South Durham
Common Buzzard (6+), Raven (2), Black Grouse (12+), Red Grouse (6+), Grey Partridge (2), Goshawk (1 possible), Golden Plover (14+) and Lapwing (6+) were seen in upper Weardale
9th February, 2019 – Escomb
Two Little Owls were seen.
10th February, 2019 – Fishburn
3hrs at Fishburn and was eventually rewarded with half decent views of Pallas’s Warbler and Firecrest.
15th February, 2019 – Escomb
Gadwall (5), Goldeneye (1 female), Goosander (9), Little Grebe (1), Dipper (2) & Barn Owl (1) were the best birds seen during a late afternoon visit to Escomb.
16th February, 2019 – South Durham
Five Crossbill were seen at The Stang and two Red-legged Partridges were near Brignall. Otherwise, it was surprisingly quiet.
21st February, 2019 – Etherley Moor
Bit of activity around the garden pond during the evening with at least one frog and a common newt being seen. Not very often I get the chance to photograph newts, so got the lamp out and enjoyed playing with camera settings and lighting for 20 - 30 minutes.
Picture: Common Redpoll at Lockwood Beck, 24th March
23rd March, 2019 – Seaton Snook
Wheatear (3), Twite (30+), ChiffChaff (1 heard), White Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (15+), Meadow Pipit (5+), Skylark (2), Peregrine (1), Ringed Plover (1), Curlew (2), etc. during a two hour visit to the snook, 1:30 - 3:30pm.
24th March, 2019 – Lockwood Beck & Scaling Dam
Whooper Swan (1) and Goldeneye (3) were on the Lockwood Beck Reservoir with Brambling (1), Lesser Redpoll (4+), Common Redpoll (2+), Siskin (2+), Marsh Tit (1), Crossbill (1 over), etc. on the feeders. A Little-ringed Plover was at Scaling Dam.
30th March, 2019 – Escomb
Sand Martin (10+), ChiffChaff (5+), Lesser Black-backed Gull (1), Great Crested Grebe (2), Oystercatcher (2), Kingfisher (2), Nuthatch (1 heard), Goldeneye (1), Buzzard (1), Jay (2), etc. were seen betweeen 3 & 5pm.
Picture: Spotted Crake at Saltholme, 17th April
6th April, 2019 – Sleightholme and The Stang
Good 2-3hrs around the south of the county. Raven (2 pair), Common Buzzard (3), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (2+), Red-legged Partridge (5), Grey Partridge (2), Red Grouse (20+), Golden Plover (40+), Oystercatcher (30+), Redshank (2), Redpoll (3), Siskin (1), Nuthatch (1 heard), Chiffchaff (2) and Wheatear (3).
12th April, 2019 – Escomb
Blackcaps & Willow Warblers have joined the ChiffChaffs all in full song. Meadow Pipit (1), Oystercatcher (2) and Song Thrush (1) were also amongst the regulars.
15th April, 2019 – The Batts
Mid-morning walk around The Batts produced Sand Martin (10+), Blackcap (1), ChiffChaff (3), Willow Warbler (2), Tree Sparrow (2), Grey Wagtail (2), Pied Wagtail (1), Goosander (2), Kingfisher (1), Dipper (1) and Green Woodpecker (1 heard). 30 species seen between 10 - 11am.
15th April, 2019 – Bollihope
Ring Ouzel (2), Wheatear (6+), Meadow Pipit (10+), Red Grouse (20+), Raven (2), Common Buzzard (1), Mistle Thrush (4), Lapwing (6+) and Curlew (1) were seen at Bollihope, 1-2pm
15th April, 2019 – Bollihope
A Great White Egret was at Holme Fleet. Then a Spotted Crake, at least two Water Rail and a Water Vole were seen from the wildlife watchpoint at Saltholme. Twite (5+), Reed Bunting (2+), Chaffinch (2+), Goldfinch (1) and Meadow Pipit (2+) were seen from the car at Zinc Road.
18th April, 2019 – Bishop Middleham & Hurworth Burn
A Bewick's Swan was with twelve Whooper Swans on Castle Lake. A Yellow Wagtail was close to the hide. Green Sandpiper (1) and Ruddy Shelduck (1) were at Hurworth Burn.
19th April, 2019 – Teesside
A Great White Egret was near the pipeline at Holme Fleet. Several Twite were still at Zinc Road. At least one Whimbrel was with 10-12 Curlews behind the tidal pool with Avocet & Little-ringed Plover in pools. Also first Reed Warbler (1) at Haverton and Swallow (4) on the wires at Seaton Common.
20th April, 2019 – Teesside
Grasshopper Warbler (1), Common Whitethroat (2), Reed Warbler (2), Sedge Warbler (1), Peregrine Falcon (1), Marsh Harrier (2), Linnet (2), Skylark (3+), Blackcap (1), ChiffChaff (4+), Willow Warbler (4+), etc. were at Haverton.
22nd April, 2019 – Teesside
A Greenshank and five Dunlin were on West Saltholme. A female Goldeneye was on East Saltholme. No sign of Little Gull. A Whinchat was seen along the fence line at end of Zinc Works Road.
24th April, 2019 – Bishop Middleham & Teesside
Two Wood Sandpipers and a Temminck’s Stint were on Castle Lake. Also House Martin (1), Sand Martin (80+), Little-ringed Plover (4), Snipe (1) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (2) with the regulars. A Little Stint and a Greenshank were on West Saltholme causeway, but no sign of the reported Spoonbill or Little Gulls.
28th April, 2019 – Escomb
Common Whitethroat (3), Garden Warbler (1), Blackcap (4), Willow Warbler (6+), ChiffChaff (4+), Green Woodpecker (1 heard), Common Sandpiper (2), Curlew (1 heard), Goosander (2) & Oystercatcher (4).
Picture: Corncrake at North Uist, 20th May
1st - 3rd May, 2019 – Suffolk, Norfolk & Cambridgeshire
Very good three days in the south-east of the country with Baikal Teal (1), Great Spotted Cuckoo (1), Savi's Warbler (1), Turtle Dove (2), Woodlark (2), Nightingale (6+), Cetti's Warbler (7+), Hobby (50+), Common Crane (1), Great White Egret (1) & Bittern (1 seen with 7+ booming) being the pick of the birds (click here to read the full report & view the gallery).
6th May, 2019 – Teesside
A Ruff and a Green Sandpiper were on the Fire Station pool at Saltholme.
9th May, 2019 – Escomb
Approx 150 Swallows, 100 House Martins, 50 Sand Martins & 30 Swifts were seen over the main lake and river during an early evening walk around Escomb. Also Goldeneye (1m & 1f), Reed Warbler (1), Common Whitethroat (3), Garden Warbler (1) & Blackcap (5+).
10th May, 2019 – Escomb
No repeat of the good numbers of herundines tonight, but I did get Lesser Whitethroats (2), Goldeneye (1m & 1f), Swallow (10+), House Martin (10+), Sand Martin (3), Swift (2), Little Grebe (3) & Oystercatcher (2).
11th May, 2019 – Tunstall
At least seven Pied Flycatchers were seen in Tunstall wood early afternoon. Common Sandpiper (1), Great Crested Grebe (2), Swallow (2) and House Martin (1) were also seen. Surprisingly no Redstarts seen or heard.
17th - 23rd May, 2019 – Outer Hebrides
An excellent trip working my way down through Lewis, Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra. Best sightings include White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Corncrake, Dotterel, Corn Bunting, Great Northern Diver, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Purple Heron, Red-necked Phalarope, Rock Dove, Storm Petrel, Manx Shearwater, Great Skua, Minke Whale, Bottle Nose Dolphin & more (click here to read the full report & view the gallery).
29th May, 2019 – Escomb
38 species during a 2 hour visit to Escomb this morning. Sedge Warbler (2), Reed Warbler (4) and Common Whitethroats (3 pairs) were best birds seen. Butterflies included Dingy Skipper (1), Wall Brown (1), Small Copper (1), Common Blue (2) and Green-veigned White (6).
June & July 2019
Picture: Large Heath at Duddon Moss, 23rd June
15th June, 2019 – Etherley Moor
A Green Woodpecker was heard yaffling from the trees in Etherley Dene.
20th June, 2019 – South Lakes
First stop was Duddon Moss where at least 25 Large Heath butterflies were seen. Next was Irton Fell, where 6 Mountain Ringlet and numerous Small Heath. Two Common Buzzard, one Raven and two Lesser Redpoll were the best birds seen.
23rd June, 2019 – Knitsley Fell
Common Hawker (1), Azure Damselfy (10+) & Large Red Damselfy (10+) were seen. Green Hairstreak site desimated with chopped down trees covering their favoured plants.
12th July, 2019 – Wingate & Bishop Middleham Quarries
Marbled White (10+), Small Skipper (2), Willow Tit (1) & Kestrel (family of at least six in the quarry face) were at Wingate, 8 - 10am. The weather was cloudy at Bishop Middleham with not much flying. Best included Northern Brown Argus (1) and Six Spot Burnet Moth (20+), 10 - 12am.
15th July, 2019 – Guisborough & RSPB Saltholme
White-letter Hairstreak (10+) were in the tree tops at Guisborough with only one coming to the lower branches for a photograph in a two hour wait. At least ten Grayling were at the southern end of the Long Drag. An Emperor Dragonfly, a Black-tailed Skimmer, a Four-spotted Chaser and an Essex Skipper were at Saltholme.
24th July, 2019 – RSPB Saltholme
The reported Spotted Redshank and a Common Sandpiper were viewable from Phil Stead hide.
25th July, 2019 – Smardale
Approximately ten Scotch Argus and at least ten very worn Northern Brown Argus were in the area of the viaduct with the more common butterflies. Birds included Raven (2), Common Buzzard (2), Spotted Flycatcher (2), Swift (3), Green Woodpecker (1 yaffling), etc.
26th July, 2019 – Scorton
At least one Small Red-eyed Damselfly at Scorton in Catterick (a first for me). Also two Black-tailed Skimmer and three Emperor Dragonflies. A nice surprise was a Kingfisher, which flew across the pond and into one of the bushes (not seen again).
August, Sepember & October 2019
Picture: Common Darter at Etherley Moor, 3rd August
3rd August, 2019 – Etherley Moor
Approximately 25 Painted Ladies were on the Budlea in our garden. Other butterflies seen included Holly Blue (1), Peacock (10+), Small Tortoiseshell (2+), Comma (1), Large White (4+), Small White (3+) & Green-viened White (1) in the garden today. Also a Common Darter, which had just emerged from the nymph stage of its life in the geden pond.
11th August, 2019 – Saltholme
Spent 20-30 minutes in Phil Stead hide and was pleased to see the water level was just about perfect for waders. On this occasion Ruff (7), Green Sandpiper (1), Greenshank (4), Lapwing (1), Dunlin (1), Water Rail (1) and Little Egret (1) were seen.
5th October, 2019 – Etherley Moor
Decided to spend 30-60 minutes in the garden to try and photograph a Willow Tit, which has been visiting the feeders for the past week or two (the first Willow Tit seen here in the 15 years we have been at the address). Other birds seen included Great Tit (2), Coal Tit (2), Blue Tit (2), ChiffChaff (1), Willow Warbler (1), Dunnock (2), Robin (1), Chaffinch (3), Tree Sparrow (4), House Sparrow (2), Woodpigeon (2), Magpie (2), etc.
12th October, 2019 – Hartlepool Headland
Enjoyed watching a Grey Phalarope at Middleton Beach near Hartlepool Headland on saturday afternoon. A very confiding bird and not shy of posing for plenty of photographs. A Stonechat was seen on Zinc Road before going to Hurworth Burn Reservoir for the reported American Wigeon.
28th October, 2019 – Escomb
Twelve Whooper Swans were on Escomb Lake. Also at least 20 Redwings passing through. Other birds included Tufted Duck (10+) Buzzard (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Goosander (1), Cormorant (3), Bullfinch (3), etc.
November & December 2019
Picture: Pallas's Warbler at Hartlepool Headland, 10th November
9th November, 2019 – Hartlepool Headland
Barred Warbler at the outer bowling green. Pallas's Warbler at the Putting Green. Long-tailed Duck in the Fish Quay. Red-throated Diver (6), Great Crested Grebe (4), Razorbill (2), Guillimot (2), Kittiwake (10), etc. on the sea.
8th December, 2019 – Etherley Moor
30+ Fieldfare seen flying west over Etherley Moor. Tree Sparrow (2), House Sparrow (3), Greenfinch (1), Chaffinch (2), Robin (1), Dunnock (2), Wren (1), Blackbird (1), Coal Tit (1), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (2), etc. regularly seen in and around the feeding station. Bonus today was two Roe Deer, which were seen in the field behind our feeders.