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Post Info TOPIC: Northumberland


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Northumberland


A full sextet of Oldham+ birders headed north of the wall today on a wild goose chase. Due to mis-heard directions some of us missed the 'warm-up' act but were all present when the star turn Richardson's Cackling Goose did its' party trick of appearing at the back of the flock, exiting stage left behind some (tree-sized!) conifer 'bushes' then reappearing in the same starting position to repeat the performance. The addition of a flock of sheep to the field provided better reference points to enable all of us to see the bird on its' second appearance.

We then headed up to Goswick Golf Club where the Long-tailed Skua was being watched on the 14th(?) green. The bird flew off east over the dunes just as we arrived, then apparently turned south and moved back round behind us. As we headed back towards its' reportedly more favoured haunts the bird re-appeared and settled on one of the track-side greens only to be flushed by some over-enthusiastic players trying to point it out. It then headed back north toward the furthest greens and out of view before re-appearing yet again heading back south along the links section of the course, mobbed by crows. We headed back to our original viewpoint and where treated to some more effortless flying displays at close range before it headed off on another circuit. As more and more golfers appeared the bird remained airborne for most of the time only settling once on one of the middle greens for a short while before heading north again. As we were leaving the bird was still heading towards the northernmost end of the course, presumably to continue its' patrols.

The 'dirty stop-outs ' in the group then took the coast route home, stopping for a quick scan of the Coquet estuary and picturesque views of Warkworth Castle before calling in at Druridge pools to watch the Red-necked Phalarope. Something had flushed all the wildfowl just as we entered the hide but they quickly returned, followed by the Phalarope, which seemed to be using the Shoveler to disturb small invertebrates, as it followed them into the junctus channels to the right of the hide. Like the Cackling Goose it was then re-found well to our left by the dad of a young family of birders who had failed to see their first ones on a trip to the Northern Isles earlier this year. Two Phalaropes on successive Sundays. smile What odds on a Wilson's next weekend? - Roughly 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 to 1 I think biggrin.Oh and a Pomarine for a quartet of Skuas would be nice.

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Monday 16th of October 2017 01:48:06 AM

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Sunday.
Next visit was to Budle Bay a mere 20mins away and on the way home.

- Richardson's Cackling Goose 1 (Lifer)

I pulled up at the lay-by overlooking the bay and I noticed a few familiar faces in the small crowd scanning the 100's of Barnacle Geese.
One guy suddenly said he was onto a Canada Goose but could only see the head popping up. I gave it a scan but I couldn't see anything.
A group of birders walked off up te road to try to get a better angle on this possible Goose as it was obscured by a tree.

At that point I suddenly picked out a Canada Goose type and it was nowhere near any trees. I shouted it up and everyone started getting on it.
A small Goose, barely the size of the Barnacle Geese, small rounded blunt face, short neck??? I'd only gone and found it. One guy came running over and shook my hand saying "cheers mate, I've been here all day looking".
Another birder then asked me to get him onto the bird, which I did, and after I recognised him as the birder from Spurn who doubted my Wryneck earlier in the year! confuse
A bit later, the original group came back over to the lay-by when they heard we were on it, that's the part when I spent 15 minutes repeating the directions to the Goose whereabouts!
Nice to have found or at least refound it from yesterday) for everybody else to enjoy.




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Sunday 15th October.

A 3hrs 20min drive from Denton saw me arrive at Goswick Golf Club at 9am.

- Long-tailed Skua 1 juv (Lifer)
Only 3 or 4 birders around looking for the Skua, and I soon picked up on the bird not far from the car park, but it was mobile due to one individual running around trying to get closer when it landed and in the process was driving it away. In the end I piped up and said something along the lines of I've not travelled all this way for you to keep scaring it off!

What happened then was crazy, one guy was walking along the path and he obviously hadn't seen the Skua landed on the path he was walking on, I said "stay still mate it's infront of you", he stopped in his tracks, looked down and finally clocked it. The Skua then started walking towards him and started drinking from a puddle just infront of his feet, the guy just looked up at us and started laughing as it wasn't phased by him at all.
Nice to see the Rochdale lot who turned up at that point, and after the Skua had a good drink and flew off, we had a walk round and refound it feeding on the 8th fairway, presumably on leatherjackets and other larvae, we sat down and it gained our trust for a good 10 minutes before flying off.
We believe (as we were told later in the day) that it wasn't seen much for the rest of the morning but we copped for some magical moments from a fantastic bird!

ps. The Golf Club staff were very hospitable with birders, and they do an excellent cup of Columbian Coffee for 1.20, and please knock 2 hours off any image times as it was still in last week's Corfu time.



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Golf & Geese in Northumberland, 10/10/2017

The chance to see what was originally a Lesser Canada Goose, that is now called a Richardson`s Cackling Goose (confusing isnt it?) at Budle Bay, Northumberland presented itself on Monday night. Mark from York called me and we had a chat about the goose and a Long tailed Skua that was up that way on a golf course in Goswick. So along with Darren from Leeds and Ellis from York we agreed to meet up on the A59 near Knaresborough at 8-00am. We made good time along the A1 as we headed north, even the traffic around Newcastle wasnt bad.

On the journey up Ellis gave us the news that the Hooded Merganser that we had seen at Kilbirnie Loch in Ayrshire, Scotland last year had been accepted by the rarities committee, happy days! Our first call was at Goswick golf club were a Long tailed Skua (pale phase, juvenile) had taken up residence and was affording very close views (to say the least). As we parked on the car park it appeared that a big tournament was in progress, would this spoil our chances of seeing the bird? At this point a gentlemen approached us, he outlined that the golfers would not be using the part of the course until the early afternoon where the Skua was and that the bird was still present. We thanked him for the information and headed for the 8th tee. The bird was soon found and for about an hour was watched and photographed by us all. All of us remarked that we will never have such a close encounter with such an enigmatic seabird as this again. Mark made us laugh when the Skua was about a yard away that we could have a selfie with it. All in all quite a fascinating hour!

No news from Budle Bay, near Warren Mill about the Richardson`s Cackling Goose as yet, but as we arrived around 10 birders were searching through about 5000 Barnacle Geese for the bird. We moved along the coast to Lime Kiln Lane at the south of Budle Bay and within 10 minutes had found the goose. A Todd`s Canada Goose was also present but when a Pink footed Goose was stood behind the Richardson`s Cackling Goose the size comparison and structure clinched the identification. Nice bird to see and a good challenge. We stopped near Bamburgh Castle at Stag Rocks and saw Purple Sandpiper, Red throated Diver and lots of Eider.

A Red necked Phalarope along with a Barred Warbler had been found at Druridge Bay pools near Widdrington, sort of on the way home, got to be worth a call. At the entrance to the reserve a few birders were waiting for the warbler to put in an appearance, so we headed off to see the distant phalarope. Still a nice bird to watch as it gave the impression of a whirling dervish (if you dont know what one of those is, google it) Back at the entrance the Barred Warbler showed really well along with a Garden Warbler, to which I remarked borin and got a few strange looks (Sylvia borin, Latin name for Garden Warbler) Time was pressing on as we headed for home, the traffic around Newcastle/ Gateshead was pretty bad. Really good day out with one of the lads having two new birds on his list.

Dave Ousey.



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Tuesday 1st August with David Morris

Following our Monday on Teeside, we pushed on to Northumberland to take the boat to Coquet Island. So 10am found us on the quayside at Amble in a state of keen anticipation. The trip was a total delight, we were lucky that the sea was calm and the sun even came out. Even though the majority of Puffins had dispersed there were still hundreds around, and we also saw some pristine juvenile Kittiwakes, adorable curious Seals and of course the Terns. As we headed in numerous Common and Sandwich Terns were bringing fish in, but I picked out 2 Roseate and a solitary Arctic adult. The havoc when we rounded the island at the Lighthouse end was amazing. With mostly fledged young squawking away and the corresponding parental dialogue it was massively loud and busy. The Roseate Terns were initially hard to pick out in the melee but eventually you could pick them up with a general paleness to the wings and upperparts and the dark bill. Of course some were in their little cubicles so that was easy at least. One thing that foxed me was that they largely didn't have long tail streamers; the Arctic Tern did. This is a bird I have wanted to see ever since I started birding so I was like a 6 year old on the way back into the harbour. What a magnificent experience!

We chatted to a couple of local birders and they told us about some Little Owls showing well nearby, so off we went, and were treated to some classic views of 3 young owls looking as furious as only owls can, perching on a wall and clashing with a Kestrel that seemed determined to cause trouble. Another new bird for David.

We were against the clock after the diversion to see the owls so had to be content with a quick look at Cresswell Ponds and then a departure. I ended up with a shortish list of 67 for the trip, but it was laced with quality and of course the unique experience of Coquet Island and what I think is one of my best lifers of all.

Thanks to Dave for driving and company.




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Yesterday, we were Exploring the area from Cresswell to Chevington reserve area. Highlights included Avocet, close encounters of meadow pipits, Jay, female blackcap, reed warbler, close encounters of house martins gathering mud, Marsh harrier and a little grebe, but the key bird was a grasshopper warbler that was reeling nearby, but was actually doing so in full view in the long grasses which was unexpected! Species total is now 89. Sadly all good things come to an end, but before we departed from Amble for the 1pm train, we hung around the harbour and was amused by an immature herring gull trying to swallow a flat fish. What an amazing 4 1/2 days! Key highlights overall was weds roseate tern lifer and Thursdays artic terns (one landed on my head), eider ducks, and the atmosphere of the day as a whole!). Ta!

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Seahouses 9am- 7pm, excellent trip to enjoy the seabirds on the farne all day trip. (My 3rd lifetime visit overall) and I still love it. My species total since tuesday now stands at 80 (unless I've forgotten to write any down as I usually do) Highlights for today was 2 red breasted mergansers on the harbour, along with the locally tame eider ducks (which behave just like city park mallard ducks -and I almost had one on my lap!), great black backed gull, kittiwakes, the mobbing artic terns, fulmar (which I've finally managed to photograph on his feet), gannets passing on the boat, and of course the other usual seabirds with plenty of dramatic action, especially when a herring gull gets too close to the other birds.... ta!

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An interesting last two days with fabulous brief close views of tree sparrows, linnets and eider ducks around Amble with the main highlight from yesterday morning with the roseate tern showing during a boat trip around coquet island, a long overdue lifer! It was difficult to spot them amongst the other terns whilst the boat was moving, which also ment any pictures were as tricky too but I managed a few record shots! I currently have 74 species over 2 days with a hope of increasing that today at Seahouses (the bus ride to there giving me a chance to write this post). Yesterday also produced spoonbill at druridge pools along with a black full summer plumaged ruff, black tailed godwit, wigeon and a male kestrel. Any pictures I take I won't be able to post on Flickr etc until at least 2 weeks from now. Ta!

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Friday 31st March 2017

Grindon Lough

6 Golden Plover
5 Goldeneye
c100 Wigeon
c50 Greylag Geese
2 drake Shoveler

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Thursday 30th March 2017 drake Ferruginous Duck Silverlink Park also 10 Whooper Swans St Mary's Island on the sea

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Currently staying in Kielder Village, a few miles south of the Scottish border. Kielder Water is huge and the forest, in terms of size, is off the Richter Scale. Yesterday we did an eight mile walk up through the forest and on to Deadwater Fell at 1866 ft above sea level. Today, a five mile walk into Blakethin Reserve which is a mile or so south east of the village. Unfortunately, the hide overlooking Blakethin Reservoir has been pulled down. The new one in its place should be ready next month and looks like it will be good. Would have been a decent spot to both scope the reservoir (essentially the topmost part of Kielder Water) and scan the skyline for raptors. Most of the expected birds to be found in this type of habitat have been seen with nothing spectacular. This place is remote and snow is forecast in the early hours of tomorrow. We leave in the morning so I hope the roads stay clear.

Amongst others :- Dipper, Great spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Kestrel, Buzzard, Raven, Coal Tit, Goldcrest & Goldeneye.



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Northumberland & East Coast. 19/2/2017

With two of the A team needing to see the Pacific Diver that has been present at East Chevington, Northumberland for a while and with the promise of fine weather, we arranged to go. We met in Newhey at 6am, a time that our driver Steve K seemed unfamiliar with having had to miss his regular large breakfast. Myself, Bob K & Chris B made up the numbers. We made good progress using the satnav in Steve`s car, even allowing for some of its eccentricities, we reached the car park at Druridge Bay at 8-50am. We had a good look at Ladyburn pool first and could not find the diver, so we headed for its regular haunt, North pool. The weather was really nice and sunny, but not that warm. We soon found the Pacific Diver and all enjoyed its diving and preening in the sunshine, handshakes all around then. We called into one of the hides and had good views of a few Scaup and eventually saw the Slavonian Grebe, a bird that I have not seen for a few years.

After a slog over the sand dunes we found a flock of around a 100 Twite, Bob K went and got a few good pictures of them. We did a bit of sea watching and saw: - Guillemot, Razorbill, Red Breasted Merganser, Shag, Common Scoter & around ten Red Throated Divers, a few Sanderling, Ringed Plover also. After 40 minutes or so a single Skylark began singing and seven Shorelark flew onto the beach near the Twite, we really enjoyed watching them for the short time they were there. Some really nice birds at this reserve and lots of people out enjoying the weather.

We decided to go and have a look at the long staying Eastern Black Redstart at Skinningrove, Cleveland. We reached the area after a bit of my dodgy navigation (as I had been before) we got to the birds favoured area and apart from: - Rock Pipit, Stonechat, Robin & Wren, the bird was nowhere to be found. A few early returning Fulmar entertained us high up on the cliffs, but after 30 minutes most of us returned to the car for refreshments, apart from Bob K. After a long search of the area he had found the Eastern Black Redstart and it was now back in its normal place on the rocks, well done Bob. The bird performed very well for us all and lots of pictures were taken. On our way back to the car Chris B casually mentioned that he had not added Pine Bunting to his British list. Next stop it is then.

After a very long slog over the hills south of Whitby, which are very picturesque, also with lots of Sunday drivers, traffic problems etc our chances of seeing the Pine Bunting had gone. We did go to its daytime area at Dunnington, near York, but it was too late as all the birds had gone to roost. We headed for home after a really good days birding at around 7pm.

Dave O.



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Tuesday 21st of February 2017 09:46:56 PM

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Saturday 4th Feb with Simon Gough and Chris Chandler.

A 435 mile round trip to Goswick and then East Chevington taking in some fantastic wild coastline, then finishing off at North Shields for some Gull madness!

Goswick.
- Black Scoter 1 adult drake (Lifer)
The Common Scoters were quite distant viewed from the dunes just off the Golf Course, in range for scope views.
Target bird appeared in and out of the swell, and my first thought was that it looked like it had an orange cone stuck to its face so I knew it was the right bird, quite promenant tail too!
An unusual moment whilst watching the flock, suddenly the whole raft dived in situ.

Lots of other birds incl...
- c40 Long-tailed Duck incl corking drakes
- 6 Red-breasted Merganser
- c20 Red-throated Diver
- 1 Slavonian Grebe
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 2 Fulmar
- 4 Shag
- 1 Curlew
- 3 or 4 Auk's
- 3 Skykark
- 2 Meadow Pipit
- c20 Sanderling
- c75 Brent Geese


East Chevington NWT / Druridge Bay CP.
- 1 Pacific Diver (Lifer)
Bit distant at first and very active, it went out of view behind the reeds to the right of the hide then reappeared going out of view to the far left of the hide.


-confuse

Other birds...
- 3 Whooper Swans
- 3 Scaup (1m 2f) everyone thought only 2, I photographed 3
- 1 Pochard drake
- 10+ Little Grebe
- 1 Kingfisher




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Went up to Druridge Bay Country Park today with John Barber and had fine views of the Pacific Diver. The bird was easily found at the eastern end of Ladybarn Lake, just a short walk from the visitor centre car park. The only downside of the day was the 8 hours plus in the car, (5 hours for the return journey) for the 400 mile trip, but what else should we have expected on a Friday? Thanks to John for driving.



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Sat 21st Jan.

With Ian Lyth & Paul Greenall.

East Chevington NWT

Good views of the 1st winter Pacific Diver on the North Pool.
10 Scaup ... mainly adult drakes.

7 Shore Lark sticking close together on the beach.
40+ Twite .. these very close ... scoped the lot and not one with a ring ??


Goswick.

Dipped on the Black Scoter despite intense scanning of the masses of Common Scoter ( I'll be seeing these in my sleep) !

Plenty of birds to see here.

Long tailed duck incuding some superb drakes.
Red breasted merganser.
Red throated diver.
Slavonian grebe.
Razorbill.

Roger.


-- Edited by Roger Baker 3 on Sunday 22nd of January 2017 02:05:17 PM

-- Edited by Roger Baker 3 on Sunday 22nd of January 2017 02:10:32 PM

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I hope it does Mike, I'm over there tomorrow and this is a potential visit for us - just depends on what else is still around. Too many good birds over there at the moment, messing up our itinerary!!!

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A showy White's Thrush on Holy Island today; still present to at least 15.20 when we left.

Will it stay into tomorrow? Who knows?

Mike P.



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Why not?



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north of Dunstanburgh Castle large flocks of goldfinch, linnet, and pied wagtail as well as stonechat, wheatear, rock dove, teal, ringed plover, reed bunting, skylark, gannet, lesser and greater black backed gull, sandwich tern, shag , castle pools wigeon teal snipe curlew, mallard as well as on return rock pipits and four grey seals. Previous visit to Holy Island grey plover, red breasted merganser, on a quick scan of harbor, and brent geese further out,. Tawney owl near digs. And at seahouses a corker hot kipper bun



--



-- Edited by Ian Boote on Wednesday 28th of September 2016 12:30:26 AM

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Craster= 2 Mute Swans on the sea, 2 Teal, 2 Wigeon, Skylarks, Sandwich Terns, Greenfinch, Linnet, 6 Common Snipe, several Wheatear, Stonechat, House Sparrows, Pink Footed Geese, Siskin, Moorhen, White Wagtail, Flocks of Starling, Stonechat, Black Headed Gull Herring Gull, Chiffchaff, and hundreds of Meadow Pipit



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Curlew, 1 Knot, 5 Golden Plover, 3 Lapwing, several Common Tern, 6 Stonechat, Grey Heron, 4 Skylark, Coal Tit, Shag, Cormorant, Rook, Carrion Crow, Wren, Robin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, 2 Gannet, Greater Black Backed Gull, Swallow House Martin Dunnock,



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craster

Redshank, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Rock Pipit, Gannets, Eider Ducks, House Martin,



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Demoiselle Crane in field 500 yards to the west of Grindon Lough viewable from gate on the minor road running along the south side of the lough - a very elusive bird that took 4 attempts and about 12 hours to see

Red-necked Phalarope still on the east side of Grindon Lough

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Thursday 30th June - Saturday 2nd July

A trip to the Farne Islands via Carlisle and a few stops on the way.

RSPB Geltsdale: A good 2 hour walk, turning up a lot of the usual upland species such as Meadow Pipits, Stonechats, Lapwings, Curlews, Common Buzzards and Kestrels. A couple of Sedge Warblers were nice to see singing close to the visitor centre and Cuckoo calling.

Kielder Water: Distant views of a couple of Ospreys over the tree line. Otherwise, quiet, bar lots of Swallows and House Martins.

Grindon Lough: Stopped off for the Red-necked Phalarope, which was acting like a Dunlin on the shore line when I first picked it up. It soon flew to slightly deeper water and looked much better. Stunning little bird in fine condition.

Holy Island: Good numbers of Linnets and House Sparrows here. Reminded me of how things used to be. A Little Tern just off the harbour, with a very good looking breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit along the shore. 2 Red-breasted Merganser flew past. Plenty of Eider ducks too.

Staple and Inner Farne: These held all that you would expect. Lots of Guillemots, several Bridled Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Puffins, Shags, a few Fulmar. A Rock Pipit seen at Staple. Arctic Terns galore on Inner Farne with several pairs of both Common and Sandwich too.

Coquet Island: Mostly Arctic and Common Terns seen here, with around 6 Roseaste Terns. Great looking birds, and a first for me. Sandwich Terns were also in good numbers , with Puffins all around too.
A great few days.

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A superb early afternoon sail to and around Coquet Island. In total contrast to last year's opening of the heavens and heavy swell making birdwatching extremely difficult indeed, today's weather was lovely. Warm and sunny, relatively calm with the sea being pretty much like a mill pond. The star bird here, of course, is the Roseate Tern. With the excellent conditions, I was able to pick out a minimum of six birds and with other birders seeing a few as well, there were probably a dozen or so seen. There was a nice bonus, approaching the island, of a dark phase Arctic Skua which gave everyone decent views for a few minutes. Amongst others :-

Roseate Tern (6-12)
Common Tern
Arctic Tern
Sandwich Tern
Arctic Skua (1)
Guillemot
Razorbill (2)
Puffin
Knot (2)
Oystercatcher
Eider
Fulmar
Kittiwake

A great birding spectacle and well worth the 8 fee with Dave Gray's Puffin Cruises from the harbour at Amble.

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Ah ok. Well I hope she gets better soon.

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The five miles walk, on Saturday morning, to St Mary's Lighthouse and back added Sand Martin, Whitethroat, Arctic Tern, Fulmar & Ringed Plover.

Today, one hour boat trip to Coquet Island in heavy rain and choppy seas, amongst others :-

Common Tern
Arctic Tern
Roseate Tern (c.4)
Puffin ('000s)
Guillemot (c.100)
Razorbill (2)
Eider (c.75)
Fulmar
Gannet
Kittiwake

The swell and the rain made bird watching difficult but it was worth it for the brief look at the Roseate Terns.




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Hi Joel I have not reported it has my wife had a very heavy fall on this day injuring her head and arm badly so I have had more serious things to worry about

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Have you reported it? If it was a spanish sparrow it is very rare.

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Hi Joel
it was a definite Italian sparrow Ihave a photograph of the bird showing very white cheeks and very pale breast I saw this at Budle Bay Isaw one last year in Norfolk



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bernard hooley wrote:

My wife and I have just spent a week in Northumberland based in Seahouses We covered the coast from Berwick to Boulmer including the Farne islands I saw ninety one birds altogether of which twenty four were new for this year

stonechat
Italian sparrow
osprey





Are you sure it was a italian sparrow? They are very rare and I don't remember one being reported around that time. Could it have been tree sparrow? Hopefully it was a italian sparrow biggrin

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Two nights in Whitley Bay, up for the Rugby League Magic Weekend. Forty five minute walk on the beach late afternoon produced Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Rock Pipit, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Sandwich Tern, Kittiwake, Gannet, Jackdaw & Herring Gull.

Booked on with Dave Gray's Cruises for trip out to Coquet Island on Sunday, unfortunately weather forecasting heavy rain. Will report back in due course.

-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Friday 29th of May 2015 10:36:23 PM

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My wife and I have just spent a week in Northumberland based in Seahouses We covered the coast from Berwick to Boulmer including the Farne islands I saw ninety one birds altogether of which twenty four were new for this year
eider
red breasted merganser
arctic tern
shag
sandwich tern
rock pipit
corn bunting
little tern
kittiwake
guillemot
bridled guillemot
puffin
sanderling
tree pipit
wood warbler
grasshopper warbler
fulmar
grey plover
stonechat
Italian sparrow
osprey
linnet
rock dove
bar tailed godwit

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Spent last week there (31st May - 7th June) staying at Beadnell, in a cottage yards from the beach and harbour.

I've been visiting this area for many years now, so I'm quite familiar with it. The birding is superb all year round.

As this was a family holiday my birding escapades were restricted to early mornings before the missus and kids arose from their slumber. At the far end of our beach was the Long Nanny, well known for its Little tern breeding colony, looked after by the National Trust. This year I was told there were 22 pairs nesting. However, the numbers of Arctic terns here were in their hundreds. Little gull and White-winged black tern were recent visitors, and there was also a Whimbrel present on one of my visits. From this stretch of beach there is a constant stream of terns (Common, Arctic, Sandwich, Little) feeding but also commuting between the Long Nanny and their preferred feeding area out at the Farnes.

Halfway along the bay there is a flash, which had recently hosted a Lesser yellowlegs, although it was fairly quiet on my visits there with Shelduck, Shoveller, Mallard and Herring gull on view. The surrounding dunes held Reed buntings and Meadow pipits, and a local caravan park attracted the more common warblers and woodland species.

Out at sea, with the proximity of the Farnes, there was constant seabird activity, with Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Guillemots and various gull species as well as the terns contiuously flying past. I also spotted a group of Common scoters and on one occasion, around 60 Gannets flew close by. Although I didn't positively id any Puffins during the week, I know they were out there somewhere, as they tend to stay further out nearer the Farnes. Having visited them several times now, this year I opted to stay on the mainland.

Further along the coast, there is a small village, Low Newton-by-the-sea, which has a small reserve with a hide. With its east coast location, this place is a little birding gold mine, and if you are here early enough, you have the whole place to yourself. A Collared flycatcher was found here last year by a local birder. At the scrapes here, I was lucky enough to find a Spoonbill (kindly reported on RBA for me by Phil Owen). biggrin

All in all, a very nice week.

Cheers,

Steve.


-- Edited by Stephen Fuentes on Thursday 12th of June 2014 02:31:36 PM

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Seahouses is a fantastic area for birds. The Farne islands as many will know is great for getting really close to the seabirds and getting attacked by artic terns (don't forget your hat and to respect their nesting activity). but how many know about the wild eider ducks in the harbour that will take bread and chips from your hands and the wild kestrel that shows no fear of people when hunting? Or even the house martins collecting mud within 6ft from me. These are just a few highlights from My visit from 2nd to 6th June which was amazing both on and of the islands in this respect.

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Friday 21st June 2013.

Myself and Stephen Fuentes headed up to Amble for a visit to Coquet Island with Dave Gray's Cruises.

On arrival at Amble before boarding the boat, we saw a few pairs of Eider in the harbour and some Sandwich Terns were feeding closeby.

At 1pm we headed off on the short boat crossing to the island and en-route saw several Guillemots, Gannets, Razorbill, Fulmar, Kittiwakes and literally hundreds of Puffins on the sea (a real spectacle!) some of which were very close to the boat.

The boat stopped 50 metres or so offshore and we were treated to great views of the Roseate Tern colony and also Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns. 2 Roseate Terns in particular showed really well on the sand away from the nest-boxes showing their familiar rosy-tinted underparts. Also a Rock Pipit fed on the shore.

A great day out and well worth the long journey up North! biggrin

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4 days last week 4-8 March at Lindisfarne, Stag Rocks (Bamburgh), Seahouses and Beadnell and Embleton Bays. Highlights - many Eider, Common Scoter, and Red throated Divers at all locations, 22 Purple Sandpipers Stag Rocks, also at Embelton Bay; Long tailed Ducks, small groups at Stag Rocks and Embleton Bay and a pair in Seahouses Harbour; Brent Geese (light Bellied) at Lindisfarne and Budle Bay; Slavonian Grebes 1 Stag Rocks and 4 Ross Point; Black throated Diver 1 Stag Rocks; also Fulmars at various nest sites, Razorbills, Guillemots and Shags; Merlin Stag Rocks. Waders included many Bar Tailed Godwits, Grey Plovers and Sanderlings. Other ducks on the sea were Mergansers, Goldeneye and Wigeon all in good numbers. A Snow Bunting at Ross sands and many Rock Pipits at various locations along the sea.

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Our trip at the end of May went well. The trip to the Farnes was very successful with all members of the group undergoing the sharp beaks of the Arctic Terns, and returning with white streaks on hats and jackets. We had a Bonxie close to the boat on the way out, Turnstones, Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher on Staple, and Ringed Plover and another Spotted Flycatcher on Inner Farne. Among the thousands and thousands of breeding seabirds.

We also did the Coquet Island trip, it was fairly rough so we didn't do the circumnavigation of the island. Dave Gray held the boat just off the landing jetty and we were able to study the terns and pick out Roseates. Also saw Dunlin and Purple Sandpiper on the tiny beaches and rock ledges. 8 per head, and my group (9 of us that day), pre-booked, had the boat to ourselves. He did another trip immediately after we arrived back in Amble.

We also did Druridge Bay. East Chevington, Hauxley and Cresswell Ponds, amongst others. We saw Tree Sparrows at Druridge, Marsh Harrier and Spoonbill at East Chevington, Little Stint and Wood Sandpiper at Hauxley and Stonechat at Cresswell. Again among the many"standard" birds which you would expect.

Thanks to Sid and Nick for their help. Its a great place to bird, and the Farne Islands trip was another of my birding ambitions realised.

-- Edited by richard howells 2 on Thursday 28th of June 2012 10:32:57 AM

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Travelled up the east coast today so went to look for the Marsh Warbler just south of Hauxley - variety of its song was great to hear - I picked up sparrow, sedge and reed warbler variations but apparently it does some sand grouse as well! Showed in flight for an hour then sang from a sycamore bush for ten minutes with superb views. Also Grasshopper Warbler nearby.

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Went through the Tourist info Centre for Coquet, and they gave me Dave Gray's number. Quick phone call booked my mob in - iirc they an hour 10 per adult. We're going at the end of May (29th) but won't be back until mid-June to report (going on to Benbecula & Lewis). Its gonna be a seabird summer!

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Many thanks for the info Sid. I'm up there for a week in June so i'll check Amble for the David Gray trips. I'll let you know how i get on.

Thanks again, Dean.

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Dean Macdonald wrote:

Sid, how and where can i book a boat trip to Coquet Island? I'm going up there in June.
Cheers Dean.



Dean, when we did the trip last year we prebooked with the Seabird Centre in Amble. I heard though they are not operating anymore - I tried their number today (01665 710 835) to check but no joy, their line is dead.

Checking various web sites there is another company advertised, Dave Gray's (01665 711 975) but don't know anything about them - you could also check with the Amble Tourist information Centre (01665 712 313).

Whichever company you choose, if you are only going up for the day it would be best to book in advance. The trips seemed quite popular and it's a long way to go to find you don't have a seat Would be interested to know how you get on.

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Dean, you can book at the harbour in Amble. That's where you sail from too. It's fairly cheap if I remember but I'm not sure if you can pre-book.

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Sid, how and where can i book a boat trip to Coquet Island? I'm going up there in June.
Cheers Dean.

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Thank you gentlemen.

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richard howells 2 wrote:

Evening all. I'm taking a group of about a dozen advanced (in age!) birders up to Northumberland in the last week in May. We're staying near Alnwick, and have already booked the Farne Islands trip. We'll be calling in at Saltholme on the way up and on the way back. I have two other birding days to fill during our little holiday, and wondered whether forum members could recommend the sites that they would consider unmissable at that time of the year.



Coquet Island for the Roseate Tern colony and more Puffins than you can imagine

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Richard. Here's a few suggestions:

Stag Rock, Bamburgh. It's a good sea watching place with many of the birds surprisingly close in. You can park up on the road right in front of it. From there you can also walk along the dunes right around to estuary where you can view various waders, etc.

Druridge Bay NR, Hauxley NR, both near Amble: Both of these nature reserves are quite close to each other and have all the usual facilities you'd expect to find. Several small and large pools with comfortable hides.

Just a couple of suggestions for you. I'm sure others will give you other suggestions.

Good luck.

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Evening all. I'm taking a group of about a dozen advanced (in age!) birders up to Northumberland in the last week in May. We're staying near Alnwick, and have already booked the Farne Islands trip. We'll be calling in at Saltholme on the way up and on the way back. I have two other birding days to fill during our little holiday, and wondered whether forum members could recommend the sites that they would consider unmissable at that time of the year.

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Just to add what a fantastic time we had. Martin was excellent company and we had plenty of laughs as well as great birding.

I would recommend Martin as a guide to anyone considering a guide for the Northumberland area. He has an amazing memory. Even remembering the name of somone we meet who had been on 1 of his trips last year when we met him in Kielder.

Doxford Hall is an amazing hotel and spa although it is very exensive.
The food is amazing and very rich. The service is outstanding and the staff very friendly.
Nuthatch are nesting in the grounds and the views are fantastic.

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Spent a fantastic two days at Doxford Hall thanks to competition which Sue won that was run in Birdwatch Magazine.

After a long journey with a stop off at Saltholme RSPB to see the Glossy Ibis - which we dipped on - we arrived at Doxford Hall in time to clean up and have what I can only describe as to best meal I've ever had!

The room was excellent - even had a TV built into the wall at the end of the bath so you could just soak and relax whilst watching The Simpsons!

Watching Nuthatch and Rooks in the grounds was a real treat as well.

After a decent nights' sleep (and a couple of Rennies to ease the heartburn caused by rich food and a very nice bottle of Shiraz), we were picked up by our guide, Martin Kitching (who runs Northern Experience Wildlife Tours), who drove us into Kielder Forest to find us a Goshawk. After trying several sites, we eventually found what we thought was a Goshawk soaring high up into the sky. Patience paid off when a Buzzard was seen flying overhead which the Goshawk obviously saw and came flying down to chase off! After several minutes the Goshawk, having moved the Buzzard off his territory, went flying back up and out of site. At last we had managed to see what had been a bogey bird for us.

Other birds seen in the forest incuded Crossbills, Siskin, Raven, Redpoll, Stonechat and Dipper. We didn't get lots of birds due to spending ages getting the Goshawk, but it was a great days' birding - and we never walked more than 20 yards from the car!

We spent the evening enjoying great food again, this time in the company of our guide who was staying at the hotel that night. Lots of good chatter about birding, people he knew, Bird Forum etc. - He even remembered me from posts I had put on Bird Forum years ago and even more impressive, he remembered the content of them!

The second day with the guide saw us doing a lot of travelling. We followed him in our car as we were birding south of Doxford and it was easier for us to set off home from a more southern spot. I can't remember all the places we visited but some were: Bamburgh, Seahouses, and several sites around Druridge Bay.

Highlights included:

79 Purple Sandpipers sat on the rocks;
c10 Red-throated Divers - one showing a red throat;
1 Black-throated Diver (our second life tick for us);
3 Med Gulls - which we fed some of our packed lunch - too close to photograph!
Fulmar colony - apparently the only inland facing colony in the UK;
Mandarin Duck on the river;
c6 Long-tailed Duck;
4 pair Red-breasted Merganser;
1 Marsh Harrier (male) - one half of the only breeding pair in Northumberland;
3 Snipe sat on a rock in the middle of a river!
1 Whimbrel;
Rock Pipits;
Several Sandwich Tern;
Short-eared Owl hunting.
And many more. In fact we ended up with a total of 97 species - not bad for two days considering the first day was spent looking for Goshawk and the only summer migrants were Chiffchaffs!

At 5.15 pm we returned to our car and said thanked our guide for a great two day birding break. It was our first trip to Norhumberland - apart from a couple of day trips to the Farne Isles. Would we do it again? You bet we would - but only if we win another competition, or slum it in a B&B - at 800 the price is a bit more than we could ever justify! Down to earth next week with a cheap "Travelodge" week in Norfolk.

Martin's blog of the two days can be found here: http://www.northernexperiencewildlifetours.co.uk/blog/


-- Edited by Paul Wilson on Saturday 31st of March 2012 12:00:20 PM

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Hi nick, I too love it along that coast line and try to go once in spring and again in October, my in laws live right on the front at tynemouth and it has never failed to produce! We had a little visit in February too where a short walk from their place, I was able to find both Iceland and glaucaus gulls as well as purple sandpipers. October was fantastic and I managed a handful of life ticks! A self found yellow browed warbler yards from the house by priors park. A red flanked bluetail at Whitburn was fantastic! Long tailed duck further up the coast on a boat trip to farne isles, a Richards pipit on farne isles (which was good for a 1 hour landing), a turtle dove in land at big waters and a rough legged buzzard on the journey home! Loads of other great birds up and down the coast total for the week was 98! Next trip is may on my way back from fair isle!

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