Sightings 2020

Welcome to my sightings page for 2020, 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 2020

Picture: Long-tailed Duck at Middleton, 2nd January

1st January, 2020 – Etherley Moor
Two Tawny Owls were heard from the back garden before it got light (first birds of the year), which was when the feeders became active. Birds seen during a one hour spell included Golden Plover (20+ over), Herring Gull (3), Starling (1), Magpie (2), Carrion Crow (6+), Rook (4), Wood pigeon (2), Collared Dove (1), Dunnock (3), Tree Sparrow (4), House Sparrow (6), Greenfinch (1), Goldfinch (1), Chaffinch (3), Coal Tit (1), Long-tailed Tit (2), Blue Tit (3) & Great Tit (1).

1st January, 2020 – Nosterfield
A single Smew (probable 1st winter drake) and a Scaup were the best birds seen during a mid-afternoon visit to the reserve.

2nd January, 2020 – Hartlepool
Enjoyed a late morning visit to Hartlepool Headland watching Woodlark (1) and Snow Bunting (2) on waste ground to the north of Jewish Cemetery. Then made the short journey to Middleton for the reported Black Redstart with no joy. Consolation was a very confiding Long-tailed Duck, which was by the lifeboat station.

3nd January, 2020 – Teesside
The Black Redstart I missed yesterday was seen soon after arrival at Middleton, Hartlepool. Mediterranean Gull (1), Rock Pipit (1), Purple Sandpiper (1), Sanderling (15+), Dunlin (10+), Turnstone (20+), Ringed Plover (20+) & Oystercatcher (10+) were at Newburn Bridge. White-fronted Goose (1), Tundra Bean Goose (2) & Pink-footed Goose (1) were with Greylags and Canada Geese at Cowpen Tip pool.  A Merlin was seen on Seaton Common. Two Long-eared Owls were close to the viewpoint at Haverton.  A Common Sandpiper was with the regular Green Sandpiper at Billingham Beck.

4th January, 2020 – Prestwick Carr & South Tyneside
Nice trip out of the county for the Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Prestwick Carr, which showed very well with Pied Wagtail (15+) and Meadow Pipit (10+). At least one Willow Tit was close by. Visits to Thornley Woods, Far Pasture & Shibdon Pond produced Willow Tit (2+), Bullfinch (2), Goldcrest (4+), Red Kite (2), Siskin (2+), Treecreeper (1), Jay (1), etc. A Whooper Swan was at Stoneybeck Lake (Bishop Middleham) with a Peregrine giving close views in perfect light (no camera with me at this time).

5th January, 2020 – Lockwood Beck
Enjoyed 30 minutes at the Lockwood Beck feeding station watching Brambling (50+ in the area), Siskin (2+), etc. Despite gamekeepers burning heather on Commondale, we still managed to see Raven (4), Common Buzzard (2) & Peregrine (1).

12th January, 2020 – Greatham Creek
Spotted Redshank (1), Greenshank (1) & Marsh Harrier (2) were pick of the birds during a short visit to Seal Sands.

18th January, 2020 – Seaton Snook
50-60 Twite were seen on the fence wires.

1st February, 2020 – Escomb
A late evening visit to check for owls. 2 Little Egrets were seen flying up the river wear before dusk. A Tawny Owl and a Little Owl were heard, but not seen.

18th January, 2020 – Seaton Snook
50-60 Twite were seen on the fence wires.

February 2020

Picture: Red Grouse at The Stang, 8th February

2nd February, 2020 – Nosterfield & Bolton-on-Swale
Decided to go and visit Nosterfield for some birds, which have been seen in the area over the previous 2-3 weeks. Lesser Yellowlegs was the main target birds, which was seen in front of the hide soon after arrival. Other birds here included Peregrine (1), Common Buzzard (2), Kestrel (1), Ruff (1), Golden Plover (50+), Curlew (10+), and Oystercatcher (10+). Two drake Pintail were with Goldeneye (10+), Teal (30+) at the nearby Lingham Lake.

Bolton-on-Swale nature reserve on the outskirts of Catterick was my next stop, where Ring-necked Duck (1), Red-crested Pochard (1), Scaup (1) and Little Egret (6) were seen before the Cattle Egret came into roost at 4pm.

8th February, 2020 – The Dales & The Stang
A very quiet 3-4 hours visiting locations in Weardale, Teesdale and South Durham, which produced Black Grouse (2), Red Grouse (7), Common Buzzard (3), Kestrel (1), Redwing (30+), Fieldfare (150+), Song Thrush (1), Mistle Thrush (2) & Siskin (50+). With storm Ciara approaching, everything must have been keeping low to the ground?

16th February, 2020 – Escomb
Early afternoon visit to Escomb for 1-2 hours. Water level was high (Storm Dennis), which prevented me doing my usual route.
Birds seen included Little Grebe (1), Goosander (1), Goldeneye (2), Goldcrest (1), Treecreeper (1), Siskin (10+), Bullfinch (2), etc.

23rd February, 2020 – Teesmouth
Mid to late afternoon visit to Teesmouth. Ruddy Shelduck and Marsh Harrier were at Cowpen Marsh. Failed to connect with the reported Glaucous Gull at Saltholme. Plenty of Curlew and Wigeon on Seaton Common.

27th February, 2020 – Etherley Moor
Tawny Owl with a damaged wing spent the morning in our garden before the RSPCA arrived early afternoon.  They confirmed the wing was broken and took the owl to the vet for X-ray.  Hope it survived.

29th February, 2020 – South Durham
Crossbill
(1), Common Buzzard (5+), Red Grouse (3), Red-legged Partridge (2), Raven (9), Mistle Thrush (7), Redwing (50+), Fieldfare (30+), etc. were seen during an afternoon visit to the south of the county.

March 2020

Picture: Great Grey Shrike at Trimdon, 11th March

1st March, 2020 – Teesmouth
The Ruddy Shelduck was still with Canada Geese (50+) and Greylag Geese (20+) on Cowpen Marsh. A third winter Glaucous Gull was on Back Saltholme.

7th & 8th March, 2020 – Trimdon
Two failed attempts to see the reported Great Grey Shrike. Birds seen during the two visits included Grey Partridge (2), Fielfare (30+), Stonechat (1), Yellowhammer (50+), Bullfinch (5) and Common Buzzard (1).

11th March, 2020 – Trimdon & Teesmouth
After two attempts at the weekend it was third time lucky for the Great Grey Shrike at Trimdon, which was seen soon after arrival at 08:45. A Short-eared Owl and at least fifty Fieldfare put in a brief appearance before setting off for Hartlepool.  First stop on Teesside was Ward Jackson Park where three Ring-necked Parakeets were seen. Kestrel (1), Little Egret (2), Wigeon (30+), Curlew (20+) and Lapwing (3) were the only birds seen during a quick stop at Seaton Common. Marsh Harrier (2), Shoveller (10+), Tufted Duck (30+) and Wigeon (50+) were at Holme Fleet. Avocet (3) and Water Rail (1) were the pick of the birds at Saltholme. Bar-tailed Godwit (15+) were on Seal sands before the tide came in.

15th March, 2020 – Scaling Dam & Lockwood Beck
Water Pipit (1), Pied Wagtail (4) & Grey Wagtail (2) were at the east end of Scaling Dam reservoir early afternoon. A Brambling was with the usual visitors at the Lockwood Beck Reservoir feeding station.

17th March, 2020 – Etherley Moor
Common Newt (2) and Common Frog (1) in the garden pond (late evening).

21st March, 2020 – Escomb
Mid-afternoon walk around Escomb produced 27 different species of birds including my first ChiffChaff of the year (3), Sparrowhawk (1), Barn Owl (1), Curlew (1 heard), etc.

22nd March, 2020 – Low Barns
Decided to work the wooded area on the opposite side to the river to Low Barns, doing a speculative search for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. No joy with the woodpecker, but I did manage to see Goosander (3), Mallard (2), Grey Wagtail (2), Blackbird (3), Fieldfare (10+), ChiffChaff (4 heard) and Grey Heron (2).

22nd March, 2020 – Etherley Moor
First butterfly of the year for me today. A Small Tortoiseshell in our garden.

23rd to 29th March, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Working from home during this first week of partial lockdown, so I set the workstation up so I was viewing the garden feeders and the views of the fields/sky behind.  24 species seen with Reed Bunting (3), Long-tailed Tit (2), Common Buzzard (1), Kestrel (1), Greenfinch (2), Curlew (1), Skylark (2+) and Tree Sparrow (7+) being the pick of the birds.  A pair of magpies causing a bit of disturbance in and around the garden.

April 2020

Picture: Long-tailed Tit at Etherley Moor, 4th April

30th March to 5th April, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 2 of the Covid19 partial lockdown and the garden list for the fortnight is at 30.  The three Reed Buntings appears to have moved on and the two Long-tailed Tits are still visiting the feeders several times a day suggesting they may be nesting closely.  New additions to the list included Grey Heron (2), Mallard (1), Sparrowhawk (1).  The second species of butterfly was seen on the 5th, when two Peacock flew into the garden for about 5 seconds.

6th to 12th April, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 3 of the Covid19 partial lockdown and the garden list is now at 34.  Highlight for this week was watching a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel have a bit of come together above the garden (unfortunately, no camera).  Species added to the lockdown list included Grey Partridge (one calling at dusk), Tawny Owl (2 calling at dusk), Collared Dove (2 flew over the garden) and Common Gull (10+ over the garden).  Butterfly species also increased by one with Orange Tip (3) being added to the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies being seen from week 2.

13th to 19th April, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 4 of the Covid19 partial lockdown and the garden list is now at 38.  Best birds this week included Barn Owl (1 hunting the back field shortly after midnight), Red Kite (1 flew westwards), Swallow (over the house and back field) and ChiffChaff (1).  A Holly Blue butterfly was visiting the garden from 19th onwards and at least two Speckled Wood were added to the butterflies seen in the garden since lockdown.  Two Frogs and at least two newts were in the garden pond.

20th to 26th April, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Bishops Park
Week 5 of the Covid19 partial lockdown and the garden list is reached forty different species of birds with Black-headed Gull (1) and Lapwing (1) being seen.  A Green-veigned White butterfly visited the garden taking the total species of butterflies seen to 6 (unfortunately, the Holly Blue got eaten by our pet dog on the 24th). The two frogs and newts appear most nights after dark.

The guidelines on lockdown was relaxed during the week, so I had a walk around Bishops Park making sure social distancing guidelines were followed.  Thirty one different species of birds were seen during the 1-2 hour visit on 26th including Green Woodpecker (2+), Common Redstart (1), Garden Warbler (1), Common Whitethroat (2), ChiffChaff (2+), Willow Warbler (4+) and Common Sandpiper (2).  Not included in my lockdown list.

May 2020

Picture: Greylag Geese at Escomb, 19th May

27th April to 3rd May, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Escomb
Week 6 of the Covid19 partial lockdown and the garden list looked as though there was going to be no additions this week until the last afternoon (Sunday, 3rd).  I was watching two Common Buzzards when a Common Swift flew into the same view.  Soon after watching the swift go out of view, three Sand Martins and a Lesser Black-backed Gull taking the lockdown list to forty three.   The frogs and newts are still showing most nights after dark.  No more sightings of Holly Blue so there must have only been the one.

The guidelines on lockdown are still relaxed, so this weeks exercise walk was at Escomb (2nd May), again making sure social distancing guidelines were followed.  Best birds during the two hours I was there included Common Whitethroat (2), Garden Warbler (2+), Blackcap (3+), ChiffChaff (2+), Willow Warbler (2+), Sedge Warbler (2), Oystercatcher (4), Sand Martin (1) and Great Crested Grebe (2).

4th to 10th May, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Escomb
Week 7 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list.  Best birds during the week included two Common Swifts and at least three Swallows. The frogs and newts are still showing most nights after dark.

The guidelines on lockdown are still relaxed, so this weeks exercise walk was at Escomb (10th May), making sure social distancing guidelines were followed.  Best birds during the two hours I was there included Reed Warbler (1), Common Whitethroat (2), Garden Warbler (2+), Blackcap (1+), ChiffChaff (2+), Willow Warbler (2+), Sedge Warbler (2) and Swallow (1).

11th to 17th May, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Escomb
Week 8 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list and other than a juvenile Robin visiting the garden, there are no obvious highlights to speak about over the past week.

The guidelines on lockdown were relaxed a bit further this week, but I am still only visiting local sites until we know there isn't going to be a second spike.  Two visits to Escomb and one at The Batts, each lasting between 1-2 hours with a selection of the usual birds seen and heard.  Best birds of the week were a pair of Mandarin on the river wear at Escomb, 14th May (a first for me at this location).

18th to 24th May, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Muggleswick
Week 9 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list and no obvious highlights to speak about over the past week.

I've been working half days over the past week and with the partially relaxed rules on lockdown continueing throughout the week, I decided to have a couple of walks round Escomb and a quick drive to Muggleswick (apart from a group of photographers at the wood warbler site, the social distancing rules were mostly being observed). Highlights for the past week included Mandarin (1), Wood Warbler (1) , Pied Flycatcher (3+), Ring Ouzel (3), Wheatear (2), Green Hairstreak (1+) and Four Spotted Chaser (5+).

25th to 31st May, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Bishop Middleham
Week 10 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list during the past week, although the brief appearance of a female Holly Blue was nice to see.

Annual leave was taken this week and with the partially relaxed rules on lockdown continuing, I once again decided to have a couple of trips out with one visit to Bishop Middleham (25th) and one visit to Escomb (30th). The only concern I had was at Bishop Middleham Quarry where groups of familieis with their dogs were getting a bit close (other than that, the social distancing rules were mostly being observed). Highlights at Bishop Miidleham included Yellow Wagtail (2), Little Ringed Plover (1), Black-necked Grebe (1) and Common Sandpiper (2). Also Northern Brown Argus, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Heath and Wall Brown butterflies in the quarry. Highlights at Escomb included a drake Mandarin and a pair of Black Swans on the river. Another good day for butterflies and dragonflies with Large Skipper (1), Holly Blue (1), Small Copper (2), Orange Tip (10+), Four-spotted Chaser (10+) and hundreds of blue damselflies (mainly common, azure and blue-tailed).

June 2020

Picture: Grey Partridge at Etherley Moor, 26th June

1st to 7th June, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 11 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with Oystercatcher added to the garden/lockdown list during the past week, putting the total of species seeen upi to 44.  Also had the bonus of a Brimstone flying through the garden (a first for me in garden).

8th to 14th June, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Teesside
Week 12 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list during the past week. With the relaxed rules and being able to travel, I decided to have my first visit to Teesside since lockdown began (13th) and a walk round Escomb (14th).

My first Little Tern (10+), Common Tern (1) and Great White Egret (1) of 2020 were seen at Teesside on 13th. Reed Warbler (3), Sedge Warbler (2), Willow Warbler (2) Garden Warbler (1), Whitethroat (1), Blackcap (1) & ChiffChaff (3) were at Escomb on 14th. Large Skipper (2), Small Tortoiseshell (3 fresh), Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (5+), Ringlet (3), Azure Damselfly (10+), Common Damselfly (5+) were also seen at Escomb.

15th to 21st June, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 13 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list during the past week and only one walk around Escomb on the 14th. Very quiet bird wise with nothing out of the ordinary seen.

22nd to 29th June, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & The Batts
Week 14 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list during the past week. There was a bit of activity in the back field, where the local farmer began to harvest the field. Grey Partridge (3) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (2) were the best birds seen visiting the field in this time. A visit to the Batts was very quiet on the 29th bird wise, but I did see 4-5 Banded Demoiselle on the banks of the River Wear.

July 2020

Picture: Sedge Warbler at Zinc Road, 3rd July

30th June to 5th July, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Teesside
Week 15 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list during the past week. Best activity was from the garden pond where Common Toad (1), Common Frog (3) and Common Newt (2) were seen. I had 2-3 hours at Teesside on 4th getting good views of White-rumped Sandpiper (1), Great White Egret (1) and Sedge Warbler (1). Also got my first Sandwich Tern (2+), Gannet (1) and Grayling (2) of the year.

6th to 12th July, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 16 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the garden list during the past week. No trips out this week.

13th to 19th July, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Portland
Week 17 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with two new additions to the garden list, which were Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 over) and Greylag Goose (9 over) taking the lockdown garden list to 46.

The relaxed guidelines now allows us to travel and stay overnight anywhere in the UK.  I was not planning to travel anywhere, but when Large Tortoiseshells were being seen close to where Lulworth Skippers were, I decided to make the effort and go to Portland in Dorset for 2-3 nights.  Click here to view the report of my trip to Portland, where Large Tortoiseshell, Lulworth Skipper, Chalkhill Blue, etc. were seen.

20th to 26th July, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 18 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with nothing different to report.

August 2020

Picture: Peacock at Etherley Moor, 7th August

27th to 2th August, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Low Barns
Week 19 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions bird wise to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor. My first Painted Lady for 2020 was seen on the 1st, which was a very worn individual. The budlea was in flower, but due to the colder than usual weather there weren’t too many butterflies visiting. Best Included Comma (1), Small Tortoiseshell (2+), Peacock (3+), Large White (2+), Small White (3+) and Holly Blue (1).

On the 2nd we had a quick visit to Low Barns where Little Egret (7+) and Lapwing (50+) were the best birds seen out of 20 species. This was my first visit to the reserve in over two years and it was nice to see the water levels were back to were they should be with plenty of wildfowl on the lake with a one way system in place with fencing to help with boundaries. Big thumbs up to the trust.

3rd to 9th August, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 20 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions bird wise to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor.

10th to 16th August, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 21 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with Song Thrush added to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor bringing the total to 47 different species seen.

17th to 23rd August, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Chevington
Week 22 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor. There had been 2-3 nice birds seen in Northumberland during the week, so I decided to have a day off work on Friday to hopefully see them. The Pacific Golden Plover was a new bird for me, so I was well pleased to get half decent views of it at Newbiggin. A Curlew Sandpiper was at East Chevington and the White-winged Black Tern (the second target bird) was seen at Druridge Bay Country Park. No joy with the Caspian Gull at Amble (third target bird).

24th to 30th August, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Teesside
Week 23 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor. There were strong north-westerlies towards the end of the week, which meant there was pleny of good Skua & Shearwater movement at the coast including Arctic, Pomarine, Long-tailed and Great Skua. Also Manx, Sooty and Belearic Shearwaters. I reluctantly made the decision to avoid the crowds and leave the visit until the wind changed managing to see Arctic Skua (1), Long-tailed Skua (1) and Great Skua (1) in a two hour sea watch.

September 2020

Picture: Common Buzzard at Greenabella, 6th September

31st August to 6th September, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Teesside
Week 24 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor. Highlight of the week was on the Sunday 6th when four Common Buzzards were seen from the garden after returning from a few hours on Seaton Common. Pick of the birds at Seaton Common included Willow Warbler (1), Northern Wheatear (1), Stonechat (2), Goldfinch (50+), Linnet (10+), Sparrowhawk (2), Buzzard (1 at Greenabella), Kestrel (1), Swallow (30+), Meadow Pipit (4), etc. No luck with the Whinchats I was hoping see.

7th to 13th September, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Low Barns
Week 25 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with Cormorant added to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor. Weather has definiately turned, which is showing in the garden with Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Sparrowhawk (1) and Common Buzzard (4) being seen.  Coal Tit (2), Great Tit (1), Blue Tit (2), Robin (1), Blackbird (2+) Chaffinch (1), Tree Sparrow (2), House Sparrow (4), Dunnock (3), Wren (1) Woodpigeon (2) & Magpie (2) were also regularly seen during the week.

A typical walk around Low Barns on the Saturday produce Little Egret (3), Lapwing (80+), Wigeon (4), Gadwall (10+), Siskin (2) & more.  The last visit I mentioned the fencing and one way system, which was a plus.  No-one was in the west pasture hide this week, so managed to go in and have a look around. Was disappointed to see the trees from the waterline on the far side of the pond had been cleared.  This used to be very good for the kingfishers and can only hope it doesn't effect the once regular visits of this species to the pond (is/was a big attraction for visitors).

14th to 20th September, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Teesside
Week 26 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with Blackcap added to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor (seen on the 16th). The garden feeders continues to be busy with Tree Sparrow numbers growing to at least nine individuals.  A Little Stint was with Dunlin (2), Golden Plover (25+) and Lapwing (50+) on West Saltholme. Six Barnacle Geese were on Back Saltholme. No sign of any Whinchat along Zinc Road. No sign of anything unusual in the area of the Jewish cemetary at Hartlepool Headland.

21st to 27th September, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Teesside
Week 27 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with no new additions to the lockdown list at Etherley Moor. The garden feeders continues to be busy and the hirundines are now very few with only two Swallows seen during the week.  At least sixty Barnacle Geese were on Back Saltholme. No sign of the reported Pectoral Sandpipers or Ruff at Saltholme and no sign of any Whinchat along Zinc Road.

October 2020

Picture: Red-flanked Bluetail at Whitley Bay, 17th October

28th September to 4th October, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Teesside
Week 28 of the Covid19 partial lockdown started with increased measures to reduce the increasing spread of Covid19. With two confirmed cases at my place of work and a good few cases reported in local towns means our families approach to keeping distanced will hopefully be worthwhile.

A quick visit to twitch the Masked Shrike (3rd) in the trees opposite the Jewish Cemetery at Hartlepool Headland was worthwhile, but at the same time very frustrating.  Despite the very poor conditions, there were too many people, too close together and not wearing masks (this is why I'm not doing too much birding these days).  Got a glimpse of the bird with some of the key features within 5 minutes of being there and then started to search the surrounding trees for anything else that might show.  Couple of ChiffChaff and four Goldcrest were best.

Kept away from the crowds on the morning of the 4th, spending 3-4 hours searching the area at the end of Zinc Road.  Robin (10+), Goldcrest (8+) and ChiffChaff (3) were best.

5th to 11th October, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 29 of the Covid19 partial lockdown.  The increased measures to reduce the increasing spread of Covid19 continued into the second week of October making it difficult to decide on going for any rarities. Confirmed cases increasing all the time and any twitch for me will have to be safe and worthwhile.  Despite plenty of good birds seen up and down the country, nothing for me to report here.

12th to 18th October, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Tyneside
Week 30 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with continued restrictions in place for Covid19.   Plenty of good birds still being seen up and down the country and was watching the reports of behaviour with interest.

I resisted the inevitable mad rush to view the reported Taiga Flycatcher at Trow Quarry (South Shields) during the week and went to view the bird on Saturday (17th). Only 20-30 max at any one time who mostly followed the Covid guidelines. I stood away from them and waited for the bird to move towards me before changing position. The Taiga Flycatcher was watched for 15-20 minutes before searching the rest of the quarry with Goldcrest (4), Blackbird (2), Dunnock (2), Stonechat (2) and Chaffinch (1) seen.

A Red-flanked Bluetail was reported in the cemetery at Whitley Bay, so I then decided to make the short journey. Apart from one togger (who simply didn't care for the safety of others), the distancing was quite good.

There was a report of a Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin at Stiffkey in Norfolk early in the morning, which is a first for the UK in 40 years. I knew there would be a good number of birders visiting the area for this bird and decided not to go. Judging by the reports and photographs, the correct decision had been made. If it stays a while, I will go when the rush is over.

19th to 25th October, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & Escomb
Week 31 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with continued restrictions in place for Covid19. A Redwing visited the garden during the week taking the lockdown list to 50.  A Little Egret and four Common Buzzard were the best birds seen during an early afternoon walk around Escomb on the 25th.

November 2020

Picture: Black Grouse in Weardale, 26th October

26th October to 1st November, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor & The Dales
Week 32 of the Covid19 partial lockdown with Goldcrest and Yellowhammer added to the Etherley Moor lockdown list.  A quick check through the list I found House Martin had been missed, which means the the list now stands at 53 different species seen.  Three days off work gave me the opportunity to have a drive around the dales on the 26th with Black Grouse (25m & 2f), Red Grouse (28), Grey Partridge (11), Common Buzzard (9), Raven (1), Fieldfare (100+), Mistle Thrush (1), Starling (150+), etc. seen during the afternoon.  Other than news of upcoming tighter Covid restrictions, the rest of the week was very quiet.

2nd to 8th November, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 33 of the Covid19 partial lockdown, which was increased to a national lockdown stopping us going out for anything but essential travel. Frustratingly, some are still abusing the guidelines, so can't see us coming out of this one on the forecasted end date of 2nd December. Nothing new or different seen or heard this week.

9th to 15th November, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 34 of the Covid19 partial lockdown. The national lockdown and request for us not to go out for anything but essential purposes is being followed. Nothing new or different seen or heard this week.

16th to 22nd November, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 35 of the Covid19 partial lockdown. The national lockdown and request for us not to go out for anything but essential purposes is being followed. Movement of at least thirty Greylag Geese over Etherley Moor each morning. At least twenty House Sparrows visiting the garden feeders during the week, which makes a change from the Tree Sparrows that visit each day (maximum this week has been 2).  Greenfinch (1), Chaffinch (1), Coal Tit (2), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit, Wren (1), Dunnock (2), Robin (1) and Blackbird (3) also seen during the week.

23rd to 29th November, 2020 – Covid19 Lockdown, Etherley Moor
Week 36 of the Covid19 partial lockdown. The national lockdown and request for us not to go out for anything but essential purposes is being followed. Nothing new or different seen or heard this week.