Thursday, 16 February 2017

North East Adventure

Every February half term I like to have a day out birding somewhere different. This year I spent a day with Luke travelling around the North East, picking up 2 "lifers", and 21 "year ticks".

The first stop of the day was Skinningrove in Cleveland, where an Eastern Black Redstart had been reported on rocks by the pier. We arrived at 8.30am, and enjoyed a couple of hours here watching the bird as it fed in amongst the rocks. It was a very confiding bird, coming to within a few feet at times. Although, not yet a full species, it's still a great looking bird and very nice to see. See here for details of the different subspecies.

Eastern Black Redstart

Also present here were several Stonechat, 4 Robins, Wrens, Dunnocks, Pied Wagtails, 4 Redshank, 4 Oystercatchers, Rock Pipits and c.20 Fulmars.

Next stop on our day trip was the Northumberland Wildlife Trust's East Chevington Nature Reserve. The main bird we were here to see was a juvenile Pacific Diver. With a little persistence and some help from another birder, we found the bird, swimming distantly with Mute and Whooper Swans. Unfortunately, we couldn't get any photos, so click here for some amazing shots of the bird, taken earlier in its stay. Other birds present on and around the reserve were: Shelduck, Red-breasted Merganser, Scaup (4), Slavonian Grebe (1), Gadwall, Skylark, Goldeneye, Mallard, Coot, Little Grebe, Lapwing, Curlew, Canada and Greylag Geese. Whilst here, we also walked down through the dunes to have a look for some Shorelarks and Twite that had been reported on the beach. Unfortunately, the Shorelarks weren't around, but we did see an amazing flock of c.90 Twite, and a few Linnets. Some seed had been put down by a couple of photographers and the birds kept flying in to feed about 10 feet away from us.


Ringed Plovers were also running around on the beach along with c.30 Sanderlings, including a colour ringed individual. Hopefully, I'll get the details of this bird, and update the blog later.

The last stop of the day was North Shields Fish Quay, where we hoped to catch up with a couple of "white-winged" gulls. The first species, a 1st winter/2nd calendar year Iceland Gull, was seen flying around as we parked up, but couldn't be found again (!), whilst a 1st winter/2nd calendar year Glaucous Gull was a lot more confiding. The bird flew in to some bread and sat a few feet away begging for more for the whole time we were there. Needless to say, we managed to get some great photos.

Glaucous Gull

Other birds seen around the quay were: Herring, Great Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls, 2 Guillemots, several Shags and Cormorants and 11 Eider Ducks.

Year List update:
80 – Red Kite (5 seen on the journey)
81 – Stonechat
82 – Eastern Black Redstart
83 – Rock Pipit
84 - Shelduck
85 - Pacific Diver
86 - Red-breasted Merganser
87 - Whooper Swan
88 - Scaup
89 - Slavonian Grebe
90 - Gadwall
91 – Skylark
92 - Goldeneye
93 - Ringed Plover
94 - Sanderling
95 - Twite
96 - Linnet
97 - Red-throated Diver
98 - Iceland Gull
99- Glaucous Gull
100 - Eider Duck
101 - Curlew

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