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Post Info TOPIC: North East England


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North East England invaded.


Despite the awful forecasts I headed over & up to High Shincliffe, Co.Durham today as it was my first chance to try for the Myrtle Warbler since news of the location was released. Setting off at 5am the journey was fine until I left the M1 at jctn 61, then I hit the snow!! The roads were like ice rinks with compacted snow & it was too early for traffic to have cleared them so it was very careful progress to the village. Enter the village on Whitwell Acres & park immediatley on you right down a dead end road with no houses on it, this stops local being peed off by road blockages etc. Walk along Whitwell Acres to just past Apperley Avenue and in the hedges opposite there is a fatball feeder and at least 3 fat-filled coconut halves. This is the area the bird always returns too even if it goes missing in gardens at times. You are only about 10m from the bird and it can be scoped really easily showing up the subtle yellow markings and stunning yellow rump. We stood and watched for an hour in the snow, it turned up at c.8am as it had done for the last 2 days. It seemed to have a love/hate relationship with a Robin. It followed the Robin all over the place but the Robin seemed to dislike it's attentions & chased it off a couple of times!!

The bird flew off high over the houses into the gardens so we walked further up Whitwell Acres, round the corner & caught up with 1 of the Waxwings that has been feeding in a rowan by the road. The berries were nearly all gone so a new favoured tree needs to be found if folk are going to be able to add Waxwing for the trip list! Given the imminent awful weather coming in I beat a hasty retreat back over the M62 to get home by midday, better safe than sorry! The heavy rain & very strong winds were already making driving problematical so I was pleased to get back even though it meant my stay with the bird was shorter than I would have liked.

Most locals seemed fine, I chatted to several & wished more a good morning. A couple of them were a bit grumpy but we al behaved well & all but a couple parked where requested at the start of Whitwell Acres in the dead end road. The problem with release of news was that the bird was in gardens & residents didnt want birders peering in at them. The feeders in the hedge were put there by the RSPB and once the bird started feeding here (when viewing them you have your back to the houses) the residents were appeased & the location was released. Hopefully the bird, which has already been around a few weeks, will carry on feeding here & everyone who wants to see it will eb able to, I know that if it had moved on or not been seen again then there would have been a right rumpus!! But hopefully it will stick for everyone now smile

If you are visiting then firstly, good luck, patience at the feeders should pay dividends. If you are fit enough then park down the dead end, it's a 5 minute walk to the feeders & appeases locals, and if you plan a trip tomorrow it is bin day so will get busier & noisier!!

p.s Mike I would have been miffed too if I lived up there to find this had been suppressed on my doorstep, understand totally how local birders 'not in the know' must have felt cry

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 12th of February 2014 04:19:07 PM

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The Myrtle Warbler has been seen and showing well all morning from a public road and there were no parking problems at all. It is understandably at the drabber end of the plumage spectrum as a wintering individual, but that by no means detracts from the significance of what is a splendid record.

The news could quite sensibly have been released far earlier, and the untoward delay has given rise to quite understandable criticism from within local circles here.

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Durham has scored again (!) with the first county record of an American wood warbler; albeit one of the commoner ones to have reached Britain previously, and which many will have seen over the years in Scilly.

Durham's Myrtle Warbler (wintering, and around for at least two weeks) was seen well both yesterday and this morning at High Shincliffe just south of Durham City. Taking the A177 south, turn left into "The Avenue" into a residential estate and the bird was being watched along Apperley Way by some forty birders before 8 am. "Google" the estate in order to navigate round.

We have not been "in the loop" and only found out yesterday about this bird, which we therefore hope to catch up with later...

Good luck to any Manky birders who make the effort today as many of you who have to work would perhaps get no further opportunity until next weekend.

Best Wishes,
Mike

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John Rayner wrote:

Also of note ... a colour ringed Curlew which I have reported to Euring.





It has taken a long time but I just got a report on the colour ringed Curlew seen on Hartlepool Headland last October.

"NY GN (BTO metal ring number FH48628) was ringed at Seal Sands on 21st July 2012. The tall white on the left tarsus signifies the bird was ringed by Durham University/Tees Ringing Group at Teesmouth. There has only been two previous sightings of this bird since ringing, both at Parton Rocks, Hartlepool Headland. Both sightings were also in October but in the previous 2012. This may suggest the bird largely forages during the non-breeding season away from the Tees estuary. Radio tracking and colour-ring sightings have shown some birds to forage inland by day (e.g. near Hurworth Burn Reservoir, Nunthorpe and north of Hartlepool) and roost by night at Seal Sands, Teesmouth."

Cheers, John



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Mike Chorley wrote:

Another good showing this morning from both the Pallid Swift and the Western Bonelli's Warbler for Miss Foulkes & Messers Ausberger, Rigby, Rayner, Stanley and self.




Also of note were 4 Purple Sandpipers showing nicely on the headland rocks and a colour ringed Curlew which I have reported to Euring.

Cheers, John

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Another good showing this morning from both the Pallid Swift and the Western Bonelli's Warbler for Miss Foulkes & Messers Ausberger, Rigby, Rayner, Stanley and self.

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Great views of the Pallid Swift clinging onto the side of the Church tower at 6:50 am! Finally left the 'roost' at 7:40 and very quickly gained height.

The Western Bonelli's Warbler was also showing well.

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The Western Bonelli's Warbler was apparently showing well again this afternoon, though I myself was busy watching the latest goody,- a Pallid Swift which was first noted at about 13.50.
It's nice to have made the right decision for this week (i.e. to stay in the N.E.)

I arrived at 17.25 (despite the efforts of the rush hour traffic to thwart me). Fortunately the bird was flying around over the roof tops when I arrived and made several low passes at only 25/30 ft overhead or so during my 25 minutes with it. It has been well photographed and was seen to go to roost (as we expected) by the clock face on St Hilda's church.

If any intrepid Manky birders fancy a twitch, get there before dawn to allow for traffic, and enjoy!

Regards,
Mike P.

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Hartlepool Headland provided the goods this morning in the form of a Western Bonelli's Warbler; - most surprisingly, this long overdue species is a first record for both Cleveland and Co. Durham and so attracted a good turn out.

By the time I arrived to see a "Bonelli's sp." several reliable observers had already heard it call, and it was accordingly assigned as "western". (I had been hoping it would be "eastern").

During my hour it didn't call at all and on my own I couldn't therefore have confidently i/d'd it as to form other than trending towards western on the basis of an olivey green mantle (as opposed to greyish) as it was for the most part giving jigsaw views in the canopy of the largest tree in the area). Being rather flighty it moved between the croft (opposite Verrill's chippy, which today did excellent trade), the putting green, and the large Borough Hall sycamore (for those of you who know the area), and was easily lost periodically despite 40 or so observers present.

I know many Manky birders in the recent past saw the Derbyshire bird (frustratingly close to the G M border), and accordingly will find this of only passing interest; - it may be however a harbinger of better things to come over the next week or so?

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Stay calm; - North East England has not been invaded as yet.

Nevertheless, mindful of the weather pattern (esp. the wind direction), we are poised over coming days in hopeful anticipation that anything could turn up between Northumberland and Norfolk. It's a case of pick your dream bird and keep your fingers crossed.

Any takers for Siberian Blue Robin, Rufous-tailed Robin, or indeed "just" a Rubythroat? - Personally a European encounter with any one of them would give me my particular bird of the year; - given a choice, I'd settle for another Rubythroat in Co. Durham, (one we all got to see this time!).

In the meantime, I just daren't venture down to Manchester.......

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This morning heralded an addition to the Durham avifauna in the form of an Iberian Chiffchaff, just along a dirt road across from Boldon Flats, near Whitburn. - A nice find by Andrew Kinghorn.

The bird was giving a textbook vocalisation quite freely every minute or two when we turned up at around 15.15 and was accordingly best located on this basis. It was frequenting hedgerows of well grown hawthorns on a smallish circuit. (Earlier it had gone missing for a while, possibly disturbed by a passing train).

A Lesser Whitethroat (our first of the year) performing some 100 yds further along the same hedge, made this an enjoyable little break from some laborious garden chores.

Regards,
Mike P.

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With all the photos of the Bee-eater I couldn't resist the lure, so Mike R and I went up on Sunday.

Stunning views of the Bee-eater followed by a superb afternoon at Seal Sands/Greenabella where 3 Short-eared Owl, 4 or 5 Barn Owl and 90+ Twite were amongst the attractions.

I also saw a probable Bearded Tit but couldn't nail it.

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Myself, Alex Jones and Mike Duckham headed over to Sunderland early this morning for the reported Bee-eater.

After a wait of around 10 minutes with the other birders present, the bird was soon located perched on a TV aerial on Thorburn Street and then treated us to some great views as it hawked insects overhead along with the local Starling flock.

More good views were had on various TV aerials around the vicinity, before eventually, it perched in a tree in one of the nearby gardens to show off it's amazing plumage in great light conditions. A real stunner and a long-awaited lifer for the three of us.

No sign of the Little Bunting at Elba Park in the hedgerows amongst the Reed Buntings present, but a nice flock of 100+ Pink-footed Geese flew over on our way back to the car where we then headed home very happy.









-- Edited by Phil Owen on Saturday 10th of November 2012 06:39:11 PM

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The first cal.yr. Bee eater continues to entertain in the suburbs of north Sunderland today, (Thorburn Street, Seaburn, to be precise) perching on TV aerials and garden trees between sallies overhead after passing insects.
It has been well watched since it turned towards the end of last week but with freezing nights now, hopes are that it will head off south soon for its own good.

A few miles to the south west at Elba Park the somewhat rarer Little Bunting (in Durham terms) was showing briefly but well on its third day between 2 p.m. and 2.15 p.m. coming to grain put out by the finder and local patch stalwart Mick Heron.

I recall Geoff Lightfoot (finder of the Adswood Tip bird of 1983) doing the same, which surely encouraged that bird to stay10/11 days.
The Elba Park Little Bunting has been a Durham "tick" for many of us "oldies" including Dave Britton, and until today was one of only 8 species I have on my (modest) Gr. Man. list but not on my Durham list, now reduced accordingly to the "magnificent seven":- Leach's Petrel, Pied-billed Grebe, Ferruginous Duck, Collared Pratincole, Grey Phalarope (surprisingly), Corncrake, and Quail (which I've only ever heard but not seen in Durham).

Regards,
Mike P.

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At last, after a rather disappointing October so far up here (we do perhaps expect a little too much at times?) some eastern appetizers with a Pallas's Warbler (phylloscopus, not locustella) at Whitburn mound and a Dusky Warbler reported from Hartlepool today, despite the absence of any solid easterly airflow out of Russia.



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Great account Mike I was north of the river itching to get accross to Whitburn! Unfortunately I didn't risk the journey as I wouldn't of made it in time for the release. And that mound can make them disappear especially a PG tips.
In scant consolation I had my barred warbler again at least 4 yellow brows ( safe estimate) scattering of common migrants and late on a probable view of my red breasted fly. Which someone else had good views of!
Oh well I live in hope that the PG will decide to head this way!!!
Nice on Mike!
Kev

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Bedlam (or mayhem?)- Take your pick; either word accurately sums up today!

With some relief from the winds and the rains expected today, I was always going to be somewhere on the Durham coast this morning. The White's Thrush on Inner Farne was already history, but a support cast of Yellow-browed Warblers and Red -breasted Flycatchers still held out hope of something better, waiting to be found.
I decided to pay my first visit of 2012 to Whitburn, the target being one of the commoner species to have so far avoided my Durham list - yesterday's Common Rosefinch which had been showing well yesterday morning to the coast dwellers.
However, many common birds had moved on from yesterday, including of course the Rosefinch. With birds unexpectedly thin on the ground mid morning, I was soldiering on, determined to find something when a 'phone call had me scurrying to the car; -news of a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler at Hartlepool in the Jewish Cemetery; a location I had earlier been toying with visiting had it not been for the lure of the wretched Rosefinch!

I covered the 35 miles feeling tense, only to be greeted with the sight of birders scattered about talking or wandering around aimlessly. Three or four people had seen and identified the bird only for it to vanish into extensive deep cover.
I quickly relocated a Yellow-browed Warbler while scouring adjacent cover, noting Common Wheatears and Redstarts; - all scant compensation though.
I wandered into the cemetery, noting more of the same. After several minutes birding alone, I noticed beyond the wall a scramble of people running for their cars and disappearing somewhere! I vaulted the wall and asked if any hot news had broken, but five people standing around remarked that they had all gone probably because they were bored. I retorted that they had all got bored at the same time and with remarkable urgency!
Then the news hit: - a second Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler trapped and ringed at ..... Whitburn !!!

It was to be released at 13.50. With almost no hope of getting there in time, I shot off (as you would; mindful of course of the speed limits). It was though arguably the fastest I have moved since I turned 70.
The A19 seemed to have doubled in length, and all the traffic lights of course seemed set on red, dustbin lorries held up progress, but at least the Bolden level crossing was open.
I screeched onto the car park by the Whitburn lighthouse ringing station at 13. 59, dived out of the car to the question being asked of a crowd of birders "Have you all seen it now?"
"No!" I yelled, with sufficient of a pleading tone as to engender sympathy.
I was ushered to the front of the admiring crowd, and admired the beast, eyes popping, and asked specifically to see its tertials! What a relief; to have missed two in a day wouldn't have born thinking about. One lucky birder Chris Bell has seen both, in the same county in the same day; -possibly a first in itself?





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Went for a walk in strong easterly winds this morning and driving rain, just in front of the in laws place in Tynemouth. A small flycatcher caught my attention but quickly vanished before I could get an id. Whilst trying to relocate it a barred warbler emerged and began shaking off the rain and preening giving brief but excellent views before diving into deep foliage. After a walk in search of more migrants around the pier and priory/priors park edges etc., nothing of note around. Returned to the barred warbler spot where the flycatcher was skulking low. Eventually got good views a red breasted flycatcher probably first winter bird! Two self found lifers in awful weather, not bad at all and more easterlies to come once they die down I'm sure lots of birds are waiting to be found.i watched as a stream of birders came to connect with my finds but none had any luck. Later in the day though one birder refound the red breasted flycatcher and got excellent views. I've popped out a couple of times to help them relocate them but only that one birder so far has had good views.
Roll on tomoro!

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- News today of a White's Thrush on Inner Farne; though no boats are sailing presently due to the weather. Prospects hardly seem better for tomorrow, but we live in hope.
The potential problem is that when the weather improves sufficiently for birders to get to the island, the bird will most likely have moved on beforehand to somewhere with more cover?

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True to form, like an old friend, the annually returning adult Bonaparte's Gull appeared yet again yesterday at Whitburn Steel (on the Durham coast a few miles N. of Sunderland).

I wonder where it spends the rest of the year?

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Sandhill Crane; - Latest update:-

Was seen still heading south, over Hartlepool Docks at 12.17.

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A fine addition to the Durham County list this morning in the form of the Sandhill Crane, which entered Durham airspace (South Shields) at 10.55 and was watched by competent observers for some 8 minutes, passing over Cleadon Hills still heading south but slightly inland.
The bird had earlier been tracked heading south through coastal sections of Northumberland, (Newbiggin, Blyth, and Whitley Bay and so south over the R. Tyne).

- No further updates at time of writing; though doubtless many Teesmouth birders will be out looking......

Cheers,
Mike P.

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Just back from a week away to learn that the putative Sooty Tern was nothing of the kind!
Apparently the observer (whoever he/she is) "withdrew the record"; - all totally baffling, as such a distinctive bird "said to be showing well" at Colt Crag Reservoir, would seem to be pretty hard to get wrong (other than being mistaken for a Bridled Tern perhaps).

Today, resisting temptation to head to Aberdeen, we headed instead to Hartlepool and were rewarded with views of the Black Guillemot still lingering with it's commoner congeners offshore. This is a tough species to meet with in the North Sea.

At Saltholme Pools looking to the causeway from the roadside, we saw a Little Stint and a Pectoral Sandpiper, before heading for the Allotment pool on the RSPB reserve and at last saw the Blue-winged Teal eclipse drake showing more readily and confidently now that it can very likely fly again. This has been a notorious skulker these last few months.

We await October with bated breath.....

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For the latest info (both positive and negative) on the putative Sooty tern sightings in Durham/ Northumberland, please look on the "Mega News" thread.

Cheers,
Mike P.

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The eclipse drake Blue-winged Teal is also still present at Saltholme RSPB, seen on Allotment Pool, Haverton Hole from 3.20-3.25pm then flew out of sight. Sounds an elusive beastie but another bird if anyone's going up :)

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News this morning of another Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on the tidal pools at Greatham Creek, Teesside, close to where the last bird was in fact.
(I haven't heard whether it's adult or juv. yet).

Other quality birds in the Whitburn area (to the north) are the adult American Golden Plover and the adult Bonapart's Gull, both seen again yesterday, (if anyone wants more precise updates and may be contemplating coming up tomorrow please PM me this
evening when I shall likely know more).

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The 'Dream Team' of Rigby, Rayner, Foulkes and Chorley had better luck on this month's longer invasion of the North East.

Despite Mr Rayner's efforts to reintroduce Double Daylight Saving Time, we made speedy progress to Saltholme's Allotment Pool where we had good views of the White-winged Black Tern. A cracking bird, just begining to moult out of summer plumage.

The Blue-winged Teal was living up to its' reputation for being an elusive little...eclipse so we headed over to the Causeway pools to rendezvous with Mr. Passant (Nice to see you again, Mike) Having failed to conjure any Cetti's Warblers from the reed beds at Dorman's Pool Mike set off to look for the Tern and Teal while we headed for Seaton Pool.

It was more trouble to find the pool than the Red-Necked Grebe! Again, a nice summer plumage bird giving good views. After a close encounter with an excellent specimen of Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar we headed further north to Trow Quarry for brief but satisfactory views of the summer plumage Woodchat Shrike before it headed into the sycamores to shelter from the rain.

A return visit to Allotment Pool on our way home brought even better views of the Tern but still no Teal. Despite this, an excellent day's birding in mostly good weather and great company. As well as 55 species of birds (also including Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, Water Rail, Red Kite and Cetti's Warbler) we had 3 species of moth, 7 species of butterfly, 29 plants and 1 fungus (Shaggy Inkcap)

As Karen might have said 'Fandabbydozey, you dirty rat'

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Hi Mike.

I suspect the trip was actually a cunning ruse by Riggers to get the Marsh Sandpiper to re-appear at Blacktoft after we'd failed to keep our appointment with it the previous weekend. In which case it worked

Either the petrels or the waders would have been good company (although not as good as your own, obviously). Sadly, none of them were kind enough to notify their intentions in advance when we planned our monthly trips back in January.

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Greetings Mr. Chorley.

Big Brother was keeping tabs on you from Madrid, so misdemeanour noted!; - (fancy sneaking up here when my back was turned!!)
Apparently you just missed by a day or so a record passage of Storm Petrels (340 plus, all heading north; - I wouldn't have minded a little of that myself).

You should have timed your visit for today though (Sunday 31st); - we could have rendezvoused and celebrated a bit more quality this weekend; - a Semipalmated Sandpiper (ad.) with at least one Temminck's Stint as supporting cast.

Cheers,
Mike P.


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North East England invaded......briefly!

With negative news from Blacktoft, the gang of four (Ausberger, Chorley, Riggers & Rip Van Rayner), headed to Saltholme this a.m. Sadly, the best the roadside pools could muster wader-wise were
3 Dunlin
2 Ruff
2 Black-tailed Godwit.

So we headed for Hartlepool headland were the highlights were slightly better:
Velvet Scoter 2
Arctic Skua 2
Manx Shearwater 3
Great Skua 2

before news from Blacktoft caused us to change threads.......

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North East England has been truly invaded this week; all news, relevant updates and directions concerning THE ROBIN is appropriately however on the "Mega news" thread.

Cheers,
Mike P.

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Hi Alan,

Re Surf Scoter:- well done on your find!
If you wish to submit details of your find to our county recorder for Durham, (Mark Newsome), please send to me a "PM" and I shall advise you of Mark's E-mail address.
Obviously the i/d is not in doubt; it's just that I think you deserve some credit for finding a really stonking and much appreciated bird.
Just to put this find in perspective, my pal Tony Armstrong has a Durham list of over 340, yet this was new for him and he was there today shortly after 5 a.m.!

The Velvet Scoters are generally absent from that stretch of coast at this time of the year, and the Common Scoter pack seemed today to consist wholly of 2nd calender year birds, which made this full adult male Surf Scoter really stand out all the more.

It has apparently reappeared in the same area for all this afternoon up to at least 17.00 so far, despite the Teesmouth birders hoping it will head permanently south into Cleveland, as half of the top 25 big listers there need it for their Cleveland lists!

We finished off this morning at RSPB Saltholme with an obliging Spoonbill on the reserve in front of the Saltholme Pools hide and "Saltholme Chicken Chips and Peas" in the restaurant to round off a pleasing morning.

Regards,
Mike P.

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Hi Mike,

I was the person who found the Surf Scoter at Blackhall Rocks yesterday afternoon, and I was on my way home to Warrington after visiting my father in law. I had no contact numbers with me so I could not report the bird till I got home. I am sorry I could not report the bird earlier however I am glad it stayed so more people got to see it.

I am hoping some one manages to digiscope the bird as it would be nice to have a photo of the bird. I was actualy looking for Little Terns but got them later at Crimdon both places new to me. When I picked up the Scoter I was scanning for Velevt Scoter as I have seen velvet Scoter off that pier that is off towards Hartlepool. So the Surf Scoter was an unexpected surprise to me and a welcome addition to my life list.

Cheers

Alan

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Barely six weeks after the Black Scoter up the coast in Northumberland, a fine drake Surf Scoter has appeared off Blackhall Rocks (just sea ward of Peterlee, Co. Durham).

The bird was identified yesterday afternoon and "put out" last evening.

Consequently Doug Smith and I duly appeared on site at about 10.20 this morning (after earlier confirmatory sightings soon after dawn).
The Scoter pack of about 200 birds was a good half mile away, rather to the north and a quarter mile out , but in favourable viewing conditions the target bird was easily picked out, despite a strong breeze making 'scoping less than ideal.
We hoofed it north for several hundred yards to reduce the viewing distance and obtained far better views (and some shelter) from the breeze for several short minutes, before the whole pack (irritatingly) took wing in two groups, all flying south.

We accordingly scuttled back to our original position by the small car park but found only remnants of the Scoter pack offshore there. The Surf Scoter almost certainly had continued south with about two thirds of the main Common Scoter pack, as we failed to locate it there or indeed later when we were scanning again further to the south.

- Nevertheless a fine bird for the County (and for me my first English record).


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Saturday April 30th.

A phone call yesterday had us making an unscheduled early evening visit to Teesside, to Cowpen Bewley Country Park to be more precise, (perhaps better known and well publicised over the last 2 winters for the overwintering drake Ring-necked Duck).

The main attraction last evening was a Common Nightingale, singing from dense cover.

Nightingale in Durham/ Cleveland (with perhaps 2/3 records counting this one) is anything but common, to the extent that Thrush Nightingale is a commoner rarity up here.

It was really special to hear and also glimpse this; a truly magical vocalist and the first I have heard in Britain for some years. Also a new county bird for many, including us.

I wonder how long it might stay?

Mike P.

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There have been multiple sightings of Woodcock in coastal areas over recent weeks, ranging from Teesside up to Whitburn and Bolden, (north of Sunderland). Birds are reported foraging beneath garden feeders and being seen in many open areas, seen also flying across roads by people driving to work, etc.
One count is reported today from Easington Colliery of 68 in one field, though not yet clear what they were feeding on.

Cheers,
Mike P.

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Mike Passant wrote:


Durham City late yesterday, at County Hall in deep snow and distressed, but not expected to survive.




You or the Hoopoe, Mike?????



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Durham City late yesterday, at County Hall in deep snow and distressed, a Hoopoe was seen and today (29th) taken into care. It is being fed mealworms but not expected to survive.

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Sad to say this evening, there was no sign of the Nighthawk, which has not been seen since Monday.
The construction workers kindly responded to Tim Cleeves' earlier request to search at least for a corpse; which they have done, without finding anything at all.
Only nine of us turned up tonight, and as as it got dark it became just another of those social events, though I did stand for a brief while looking wistfully at the solitary bush where it had been photographed, knowing that was as close as I was going to get....

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Click the 'sponsored by Birdnetinformation' link at the top of this forum to see the remarkable photos of the Nighthawk.

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Well, it's a case of stand me on my head and call me Vladimir!

After initial scepticism, it's now incredulity/shock hereabouts following sight of the piccy's.
The bird photographed near Peterlee, Co. Durham, by a construction worker (apparently on Monday) IS a Common Nighthawk, (and from the white tips to the black primaries; - a bird of the year).
There will be a gathering on site of the "hopefuls" tonight and I shall update here (either way) ASAP after that.
Should the bird get seen, I shall post directions and a map reference for any Manky visitors.
Regards to all,
Mike

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An excellent full days birding at various sites in the North East in the company of messers Rayner and Passant. Good birds but even better views!

Woodchat Shrike-Hartlepool headland
Red-flanked Bluetail- St.Marys Island
Yellow-browed Warbler-Whitley Bay
Red-breasted Flycatcher-Whitburn

Dipped Great Grey and Red-backed Shrike at South Gare in fading light.

A lesson in bird topography from Mr.Passant using a dead Siskin we found as the model!

A cracking days birding in good companysmile.gif


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With clearer weather today we almost stayed locally around Wolsingham as there were newly arrived Redwings in the adjacent fields here feeding on the hawthorns. We did succumb to temptation though and made the 38 mile trip to the coast "on spec". It was soon apparent that most of the birds from the weekend had (as expected) moved inland, though we did see an obliging Shorelark and caught up with the Great Grey Shrike from Saturday, (still by St. Mary's church).

At nearby Seaton Carew a Red-eyed Vireo was caught and ringed, and I deservedly MISSED seeing it in the hand as my mobile was in my rucksack in the car boot.

I didn't see it in the field either; - but still, that's all in a day's fun!

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Trip to Hartlepool with my Dad today looking for the Woodchat Shrike and the Yellow-Browed Warbler which had been reported. Got very good views of the shrike but only saw the rear end of the warbler no.gif - another birder pointed it out and I just got a glimpse of it retreating - not a tick for me as I didn't actually get a good enough look. Still the shrike was a nice looking bird.

Fair amount of redwings about with more landing on the beach as we watched. Plus one male brambling, a siskin & a blackcap. The one thing that got me though was the sheer number of goldfinches, there must have been 50 at the very least with some coming within 3 feet. Should have known I'd get cracking views of something as I'd left my camera back in Morpeth!

All in all a cracking day's birding, always good to watch migration in action biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

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Northumberland (late afternoon):

A reported Red flanked Bluetail at Newbiggin this morning; - and another, closer to hand in the little reserve opposite St Mary's Island, (showing well to 17.30 at least, when we left ).
At Tynemouth, yesterday's reported Radde's Warbler is in fact a Dusky Warbler, and showed pretty well and was calling quite a bit when we watched it tonight on our way home.

Durham (early afternoon):

Earlier, a scatter of Red-breasted Flycatchers, 2 of these at Whitburn where one was caught and ringed this morning, one south of the Tees in Cleveland; a Great Grey Shrike still at Hendon old gas works (south Sunderland), and another at Hartlepool headland, where the juv. Woodchat still lingers, and also a Barred warbler at Hartlepool.

Bird of the day though is the one that perhaps has got away.
Well seen only by the finder so far, (a very experienced local of proven ability) was a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler close by Cornthwaite Park, Whitburn. The bird was/is lurking in a 40 metre square of chin high brambles, stinging nettles, hidden logs and snags, and general debris. An attempt at netting the bird resulted in a catch of ...... 2 Robins and 5/6 Dunnocks !!

All in all, we look forward to tomorrow.

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Nothing too extraordinary up here ,--just yet, we're all waiting, and reluctant to go out of area, (if Eastern Crowned Warbler can turn up, why not Sib. Accentor...?) We live in hope!

A Blyth's Reed Warbler was an appetiser at Whitburn the other night for the boys on the coast and a Barred Warbler was ringed at Whitburn this morning. The juv. Woodchat Shrike at Hartlepool continues to delight this afternoon, with a Yellow-browed Warbler close by (both in the vicinity of Verrill's chippy), also a very confiding Snow Bunting by the bowling green.

We await of course a twitchable Sib. Rubythroat (as everyone is still hurting from the one in the Sunderland garden a few years ago that no Durham birders knew about in time), also R.F. Bluetail is now almost to be expected in the county these days....?

Isn't October something?

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More serious bird news:

An adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper appeared on Teesside tonight and was watched from 18.15 until dusk.
Directions are basically as if you were heading for the RSPB centre but at the big traffic island instead of coming off at the third exit for the RSPB, take the first exit off that island (as if heading for Seaton Carew).
The bird is in the Greatham Creek area, and directions are to park in the designated car park on the left of the road (about 1 mile after the big island). Walk to the bridge over the creek (some 300 yds NE of the car park)but do not go over the bridge; instead cross the often busy road and follow the creek side path seawards towards the Seal Sands hide, only going about 1/3rd of the way and scan the tidal pools on the right hand side. I understand the bird did not associate with the Dunlin and Redshank but more with the Teal and was actively feeding.

I shall be going tomorrow if the bird is still on show as I and quite a few still need this for our county lists.

Thanks are due to a Manchester birder for alerting us promptly to the late news!

So thanks to John Rayner, especially from Doug who got it tonight with about 10 mins of reasonable light still left.

Cheers and good luck to any who travel up,
Mike P.

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Mike, I don't suppose one of them was heard to say "Breakfast is for whimps" ?

biggrin.gif

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Mike,

There is an undercover agent currently posted in the NE!!!

cheers e

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North East England


August 22nd Sunday: -

It was reported that 3 Gr. Man birders abandoned their posts and launched a cunning strike by touring N.E. England ticking birds with gusto, with little regard for refreshments or other distractions. Such was their fanaticism that they even declined the offer of afternoon tea with home made scones, sensing (probably correctly) that the tea was drugged anyway in an effort to curtail their rampage.

Birds allegedly seen were Whiskered Tern, Spotted Crake, Roseate Terns, and others, though admittedly though somewhat shaken by this foreign incursion, these birds were non the worse for the encounter.

You 3 know who you are, so be warned; - I'LL BE BACK!


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