Thursday, 20 November 2014


I've just done something I've not done before. Checked the statistics and whatnot on Blogger. Now no bugger reads my posts much, thats fair enough but its interesting that one post has more views than any others.
A post I titled "A Quikie" . I'll need to spice things up a bit perhaps..haha


A day in the estuary, I tried to cover as much as I could. The tide was high but there was still plenty of exposed mud.
I didn't count anything but Golden Plover numbered easily in excess of 1000 and with the tide rising they were lifting and wheeling around, fabulous just to follow them with the binoculars. The highest sand banks were occupied by groups of larger Gulls, Herring and Great Black Backed.

Single Grey Plover and approximately 12 Knot were among the highlights. There were plenty of birds to look through though. Four Goldeneye were on the river above the wier towards The Butts.
A short check of the sea from Cliff House was unproductive apart from a single Red Throated Diver flying south between Coquet Island and the mainland.

View from Cliff House
 Next I had a slow wander around The Braid car park, checking bushes for late migrants, Blackbirds were all over the leaf litter flicking and rummaging, Robins were numerous, a single female Blackcap and a fine Male Brambling were good to see.
Braid Car Park
 Warkworth Picnic Site was quieter, a male Blackcap was seen here.

Track of the Day, field edge from Warkworth Picnic Site
A bag of chips for lunch then a 1 hour seawatch from Birling which was dissapointing. A stroll around Seton Point to finish the day off, again quiet but dead Puffin and Little Auk were evidence of the weather conditions that had been prevailling over the previous days.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Full Day Foray

Recalling the days when we would be up at first light and out until last light, whatever the time of year, we took advantage of the joys of flexible working and headed out for a full day 'up the coast'.

Our plans were adjusted somewhat when the weather forecasters changed their mind at the last moment and decided we would have a band of rain in the north of the county. We were due to start in Tweedmouth and work the coast southward.

We made Holy Island our first stop, just south of the dark skies.

Not Rutters Way, Pilgrims Way
Quiet and cold we spent  a couple of hours around the village and straight lonnen. Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbird present in small numbers. Chiff Chaff and Blackcap were enjoying the morning sun in a sparsely leafed Sycamores. 

Spot the Leaf Warbler

Rainbow over Goswick
A brief call at Spindlestone woodland nature reserve was a break from the coast, Marsh Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker among the visitiors to the feeders.

On to Budle Bay, a Peregrine was hunting just off the layby as we pulled up, we had missed a fabulous photo opportunity. Thousands of birds were gathering as the tide flooded in..

Budle Bay from the layby
Lunch at Stag Rocks, Purple Sandpiper on the rocks with a nice late Sandwich Tern and Slavonian Grebe offshore.
Stag Rocks
I couldn't not take Bamburgh Castle

Flowering Ivy

Track of the day, Bamburgh Links

We finished the day at Low Newton and finally succumbed to the rain, Long Tailed Duck and Red Throated Divers in Beadnell Bay on our way finished the day off nicely

Monday, 3 November 2014

Late start and a full English

A short wander from Howick to Craster this morning. A nice bright morning with a breeze increasing as the morning gave way to mid day.

We were walking north so the sunlight was behind us and birds seen were all in good light. Oystercatcher, Redshank and Turnstone were seen along the rocky shore as we approached Craster.


I did try to identify this but failed, one of many similar which is often the case
The Arnold Reserve and The Heughs were generally quiet, a few small tit flocks, Blue Tit, Coal Tit and Great Tit as well as a good few Goldcrests. Easy to see these birds as the scrub is now almost leafless, photographing them however is a different and more frustrating matter.
Blackbird Robin and Wren were common and the odd Redwing would fly from cover to cover.

We stopped for a few minutes at Craster Harbour before calling in at the cafe (see post title), a group of Turnstone were working the tidal weed, a single but fabulous Redshank was photographed and a Grey Wagtail was wheeling around calling, landing and taking flight again.

Redshank, how red are those legs
Heading back south we watched a group of 27 Golden Plover sat out on one of the small but close rocky headlands, Red Throated Diver and Razorbill seen close offshore.

Golden Plover
Two Rock Pipits were nice on the cliff top path as we made our way back to Howick and a flock of Long Tailed Tits sped past us.

Track of the day, Howick cliff top path
A nice short walk on a nice fresh November morning, this path is one of my favourites, I can remember walking this in the early eighties looking through Goldcrests and looking seaward just we have done this morning, things never change but they are always different..

Monday, 22 September 2014

Late Arrival

Yes, Late!
Following some excellent weather and a week full of good migrant birds it was my turn to get out and see what could be found.
I met up with Stewart and headed first for Craster and then for Newton. We had enjoyed the first clear night for a few weeks and it was likely many of the birds seen through the week would have moved on. I hoped for a few stragglers, it would be nice to see a Red Breasted Flycatcher when so many have been on the coast.

First stop, a bit of sea watching off Craster. Hundreds of Gannet and Kittiwake were moving north. Soon we began picking up Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater and Arctic Skua.
Brent Geese, Red Throated Diver, Wigeon, Golden Plover, Common Scoter, Great Skua and Red Breasted Merganser were also seen.

Track of the Day, a civilised one too, Low Newton Church 
Next we parked up on the roadside near the small tin church at Low Newton, we would explore the scrub adjacent to the road that runs to Newton Point, there had been 3 Red Breasted Flycatchers in this area as well as other migrant birds during the week.
We drank tea and crunched on biscuits for a few minutes, listening and watching. Many calls were heard but birds seen were only a resident Tit flock and the odd Chiff Chaff.

Now I know for some a butterfly is once seen hardly noticed but I love these insects and they are always worth a snap shot. They will be gone for another year soon and its my blog so here goes.

This Red Admiral looks fabulous with the bright yellow lichen

Speckled Wood, that dew looks almost frosty


Parasol Mushrooms, (I think) in varios stages of fruition, if thats the correct term

Monday, 15 September 2014

Green Party

We met up at Alnwick this morning and headed north. Stewart had an idea that Holy Island might be worth a visit as there have been gentle but persistent easterly winds during the last couple of days or so. It was nicely overcast.
We called in at a small flooded field near South Charlton that has been attracting some good waders recently. A few Lapwing, 2 Snipe and 5 Ruff were all we saw. 15+ Pied Wagtails were nice running around the mud and short grass, various different ages and sexes.
We called in at Hoppen Kiln, Budle Bay and Monks House Pool on our way north to Holy Island. Some nice birds to enjoy as we stopped off at these spots, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Med Gull, Ruff. I think the cheese pasties and tea at Budle Bay may have been the highlight of the morning though.
Lindisfarne Castle

Straight Lonnen, track of the day
There were migrant birds on Holy Island, Wheatear on the causeway as we drove on. We parked up, drank tea and headed off for Straight Lonnen, Crooked Lonnen and The Lough.
We spent alittle time searching the Willows at the head of Straight Lonnen, male and female Redstart, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler and Pied Flycatcher were seen.
We headed to the Lough to check out a Red Backed Shrike, we failed to see this bird but had seen photographs earlier on the camera of one of the areas patch birders. It doesn't count does it?...

A nice Whinchat was seen along the fence line to the north of the Lough and a Merlin sat up on a stone wall as a family group of Kestrels wheeled noisly overhead.

We headed back to the car, another Whinchat en route and a flock of feeding Goldfinches were nice. Exploring Virtually the last group of bushes before reaching the car I noticed a movement, another warbler. I lifted my binoculars and and when it hopped into view I saw a lovely long eye brow and a neat lemony coloured wing bar. We enjoyed this Greenish Warbler as it busily flitted around a Hawthorn bush feeding on insects. Photographs were taken before it eventually flew to another group of bushes.



Greenish Warbler

Monday, 1 September 2014


I've not felt I've had much for a good blog post this month but I thought I'd post now the month has ended.

It has been really good when I look back through my notebook. Coquet Estuary has been my main area of observation. Highlights included, hundreds of Redshank and Dunlin, Ringed Plover numbers steadily increasing, Turnstaone, Knot, including some fabulous summer plumage birds earlier in the month. Ruff, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Little Egret and Marsh Harrier.

Red Admiral, Peacock, Wall Brown, Speckled Wood and Common Darter.

Of course Caspian Gull has been very much the star of the show.

I'll just post a series of snaps and leave it at that...

Bushes at Coquet Picnic Site
Track of the Day

Marsh Harrier


Song Thrush, sunbathing

Sedge Warblers

Aln Estuary
Young Robin

Birling Carrs

Autumn Show
Speckled Wood

Sea Aster
Wall Brown
Sea Buckthorn
Caspian Gull