Friday, 26 October 2012

Highs and lows of the last week or so.

 Last Wednesday (17th)
This was the day when I seen my first sizable flock of winter thrushes coming in this Autumn . The action started as soon as I entered the Coastal park via the Shearwater est.,a flock mix of Fieldfares and Redwings numbering about 300 lifted from the higher trees and headed west. Another flock of about 100 came in a little later and soon departed heading inland.

 Obviously the Blackbird numbers were on the up also around these parts, and my first Autumn Ring Ouzel  for the year was sighted in the horse paddock behind the Whitburn lodge pub.
 Thursday (18th)
Stroll around the pier area on the dog walking duties: This was the last time I seen the 3 Snow Buntings on the pier and again they showed perfectly, feeding on the pier side. A couple of visits since and no obvious sign of them, but Ive never carried out a search either so they might still be around.?
My Mediterranean gull count along the Leas for the week peaked on this day with a different bird present. Two adults along the mid-Leas stretch as they have been for a canny while now and a 2nd winter bird in the Marsden carpark( no show of the regular bird here today). I was just starting to get out of the car to try for photo's of this bird ( new kids on the block needed documented) when a lovely lady threw a ball for her cute little dog right through the centre of the rested gulls here. Game over! Neither the Gull or the woman were seen again.

Sunday -

Duck stroking duties down at Chester-le-street riverside, as its a while since we have visited and a few browny points were in need of being gained. ( must have had a premonition of what was about to happen).
Plenty of the regular waterfowl here including 4 Goosanders. And a wier riding individual who seemed to enjoy this as it was watched at least 3 times sliding down here.

After last weekend the show really began.

After the disappointment of not getting to know in time to see the trapped Pallas's warbler at Whitburn on Monday  it got worse!
On the Tuesday I got a call to say a Dusky Warbler had been caught in the nets, I was quickly dressed and within 10 minutes I arrived at the ringing hut. Too late was the cry when I opened the car door, the bird had been released not long before I had parked up. Bugger!!!!
A little later another phone call alerted a few of us that a  Rustic bunting had been picked up near the Marsden hall area, the coastal park cleared. A small twitching crowd soon assembled around the last area the bird had been seen in.The bird had last been seen disappearing into the mist and despite a search by the many here now, alas it was not to be in these difficult weather conditions.

Up and out early this day heading for the Whitburn Coastal Park, more or less when the light conditions became slightly better. The low fog and drizzle conditions and the fact that the ringing hut wasn't manned this day must have played a part in why I only seen one birder the whole morning here!.Strange I thought as such a good find was encountered here the day before.
My luck finally changed this morning! The first hedge line I checked is the one known locally as Walters, which is just opposite the ringing hut to the west. At the very end of this row of shrubs etc. a darker backed warbler was sighted picking about the branches and leaves for about 10 seconds before it flew off into the big mound. I was pretty certain I had seen the Dusky Warbler with the views I had, made more certain when a Mr Cook rang to say he'd heard and seen it in the mound about 5-10 minutes later and it had then flown into the hedge line by the entrance gate.
After checking the Whitburn lodge gardens area I picked up my first Ring Ouzel of the day in the horse paddock behind this pub along with countless thrushes. On the way back along I checked the entrance hedgerow and within a couple of minutes the only bird flitting about here was the Dusky warb. which worked its way through the centre of these bushes, allowing better views this time. Back to the car for a rest bite from the how heavier drizzle and light refreshments after this second sighting. Texts went out to local lads etc. letting them know the bird was still about and I even contacted RBA ..something I very rarely do but on this occasion I felt it warranted.

The second Ring Ouzel of the day was sighted behind the ringing mound along with hundreds of thrushes feeding on the cut grass area here. Added bonus of being in this spot at this time was had when 3 Crossbills dropped in briefly before heading off into the mist. The 3rd Ring Ouzel was picked up on Jackies beach when me, Keith and his mate had a wander down. This one was seen the day before here also. A male Snow Bunting on the coastal path by the Obs. was picked up along the way and a welcomed distraction.
Great supporting cast of numerous Robins, Goldcrests and Blackbirds but very few finches and tits.
But the highlight of this day for me was seeing thousands of thrushes dropping out of the fog during the morning around the coastal park, this before the mist lifted slightly about dinner time.


Bit of a late start this day, but news of a Black Redstart whilst driving down to the coast was very welcomed. After a few attempts at trying to pick the bird up in the Souter lighthouse garden area, it eventually showed pretty well. The first one of the year for me.
Checked the bushes across the road from the lighthouse and the long-ish staying Barred warbler was still feeding on what was left of the Elderberries here, again it showed well but not well enough for the camera,mind I also had the dog with me this day which didn't help.

Massive thanks to all for the updates over this period.


  1. You seem to have a good set of lads covering your patch over there. Have been following your birds on the CCG website. Must get back for a visit soon. Keep the posts coming. Cheers.

  2. Cheers Johnny, many of the patches are well watched and the level of expert knowledge with some of lads doing so is exceptional.