Welcome to my birding blog - first launched 12th March 2012...


4th June ff 2021

June 10, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Life's just a blur...hmmm

4th June: Saltholme & Greatham Creek

I had problems that day with the camera and I still don't quite know why. Heat haze may have been a factor or I had nudged a setting accidentally and the focussing distances were wrong. I don't know. The following day I did test shots after checking everything over and all seemed fine. Great white egret at Saltholme. Greatham Creek was quiet. A rather stunted marsh orchid and a posing skylark.


Any birds with vulnerable young had better watch out...

7th June: Blyth estuary, then Dorman's pool

An early start to head north to Blyth to the confluence of the Rivers Blyth and Sleek Burn. A group of waders were favouring the mud where the two streams meet. Ringed plovers, dunlins, a little stint and the red-necked stint all seen. Best viewed from the north side but I didn't fancy the 35 minute each way walk so opted to scope the birds from the riverside path on the south side - as did the overwhelming majority of the other birders present. 

Also present were a large number of goosanders [over 40 seen] including these few near where I was watching the stint. Eiders with a creche of young: the males slept!

Purple heron also seen at Dorman's Pool on my way home but I was watching the bird in my bins and wasn't quick enough to get a photo before the bird vanished back into the reedbed. This lesser black-backed gull looked hungry!

9th June: Blacktoft Sands and Alkborough

Nesting avocets at Marshland

Reed bunting

Little grebe


Excerpts from a food pass - although I was never quite sure who was passing it to who...

Shovelers. The mighty bill!

128 UK 2021


24th May ff 2021

June 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

35 this year; 6 last year!

Explanation: number of year ticks in May this year compared with last year

May 24th: another jaunt up to Hartlepool. Not very successful but I did see the little terns - a bird I really like to see. Also spent some time watching the commons at Holme Fleet. Tide was very high at Greatham Creek and Newburn Bridge and both areas were pretty bird free. 

May 27th: trip out to Blacktoft Sands to see some little gulls down at Ousefleet. A long way out from the hide with a black-headed gull and a couple of headless avocets! Here are two of them...

...and an avocet near the hide.

May 30th: last outing in May - this time to Bank Island and North Duffield. Lapwings and a chaffinch at Bank Island and a garganey drake at North Duffield from Geoff Smith hide.

June 1st: Greatham Creek and Saltholme. I began walking down the south side to Seal Sands. Other than common terns I saw very little [i.e. nothing!] and I suspect I should have walked down the north side to find spoonbills on one of the pools. These two common terns were on the mud near the seal colony. They were quite entertaining. The female was unimpressed and eventually flew off. Perhaps the male didn't have a big enough present to offer her!

There were lots of meadow pipits about.

Eventually I found a spoonbill on Back Saltholme. Swishing its bill around energetically. 

Finally for this post, here's a nice ammonite fossil my son found at Port Mulgrave recently.

120 UK 2021


13th May ff 2021

May 20, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Two Faces of Coot

[and other tall tales]

Thursday 13th May

An afternoon trip out to North Duffield to hopefully pick up a tick or two and, more important, continue getting back into the swing of things. From Geoff Smith hide a coot was on its nest: a picture of domestic harmony. The other adult chased off a pair of tufted ducks for coming too close to the nest.

A lone whooper swan lingered on the bund down at Garganey hide. Apparently it can fly but maybe not the long distances needed for migration. A black swan was very distant as was a curlew. Sedge warbler and hirundines were seen too. Here's the whooper: spot the wigeon!

Nothing much happened all afternoon until 4 coots decided to have a real good fight. I think its just a coot pastime as afterwards they drifted away as if it had never happened. Here are a few stills. It was fun to watch!

Back to serenity: a smart drake mallard floated past...

Sunday 16th May

Local birding at York University for a Savi's warbler. seen and heard quite easily but I couldn't manage a photo unfortunately. Reed warblers too. Here's one!

Monday 17th May

After a long gap I finally made it back to Saltholme and Hartlepool. Things were pretty quiet and around the lifeboat station I could only find the kittiwakes on the lifeboat station girders, a solitary turnstone and a few distant eiders.

I drove back towards North Gare and the Zinc Works Road. To my delight I found some wheatears - 3 of them. 

Plus what I took to be a juvenile stonechat.

Tuesday 18th May

A new day a new destination: as recommended by birding friends, I headed south to Langford Lowfields RSPB near Newark. Cetti's heard in the car park, sedge warblers and numerous invisible willow warblers and some chiffchaffs too. I liked the sign in the car park.

It's a long walk [0.75 miles to the 360 degree viewpoint] through woodland and along the edge of an old quarry [largely hidden by the scrub] until the scene opens out onto a large and stlll expanding reserve.

Robin in the woods...

...and a wren a bit further on...

A view on the walk and a view from the 'Beach Hut' visitor centre.

I was hoping to see hobbies and indeed I did! 

I knew that a glossy ibis had been seen nearby and a local birder sent me off to Besthorpe Notts WT and to Mons Pool where I eventually located the bird on the second section of the pool. On the first section a cormorant nest site dominated the area.

So, here's the ibis on the far side of the pool from the viewscreen.

Thursday 20th May

A miserable, cold morning visit to St. Aidan's to not see the Franklin's gull. I admit the cold and then rain drove me to abandon the search. It was found, of course, shortly after I left. Still here's the alternative menu!

Crow eating Canada goose gosling.

GCGs displaying still - perhaps they don't think it's quite spring yet!

112 UK 2021

9th May 2021 ff

May 13, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

The Darling Birds of May!

Groans from all readers...

Lets hope May will deliver something brilliant. So far rather staid - but it's a start.

Sunday 9th May

Fairburn and St. Aidan's this morning and then marrow, courgette and pumpkin planting this afternoon. A few pictures.

Common terns

Cuckooflower / Lady's Smock / Cardamine pratensis

Little owl


Monday May 10th

First swifts seen in the evening over the house.

Tuesday May 11th

A big day out began at Flamborough bowling green where the locals were practising [9.30am] rolling their wooden balls about and the hoopoe[ quite naturally] was nowhere to be seen! Still the other object of the day was to get some year ticks so I could at least seem to be doing some proper birding again. On, then, To Thornwick Pools where little ringed plover delighted, a sedge warbler was very showy but best of all outside were linnet, whitethroat and, hiding in the base of a bramble tangle was a lesser whitethroat. Not a bird I'm usually very good at spotting.

Next was busy Bempton. Tree sparrows galore - which was another year first.

Amazing how the pandemic has changed everything - car park with portaloos, reception desk outside and birds I see in early January not seen until May! A barn owl was out hunting in daylight so was presumably feeding young.

The cliff regulars were almost all present [although somehow I didn't look out for the fulmars. Were they there?]

My guillemot photos were not good so I've omitted them. The jackdaws were very cheeky and approachable. I like them in spite of their reputations for pushing out other species from nest sites. Clever birds - they know they're safe at Bempton, I think.

After Bempton I called at Filey Dams and added just bullfinches to my tick list - otherwise quiet with lots of common geese and common gulls [but no common gulls if you see what I mean!]. Later I saw marsh tit and nuthatch along with other tits and finches at Forge Valley. 

100 UK 2021

18th-20th April 2021

April 26, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Nothing spectacular- but at least I'm going birding again!

I'm a cautious old bird but this damn virus may still creep up on me... On the other hand something is going to get me anyway before too long! My father died at 42 so I've improved the family longevity score a little bit already!

Birding, Chris, birding. Stop snivelling and get on with it!

April 18th: an afternoon trip to Nosterfield. Not a lot of photo opportunities as everything at Nosterfield tends to be some distance away. However a lovely afternoon with ten year ticks including this showy chiffchaff. First swallow near York as I drove home.

April 20th: Tophill Low. A decent haul for of ten new birds for my year list. Yellow wagtail, kingfisher, little ringed plover,marsh harrier, lesser black-backed gull. Best of all was a cattle egret at Watton. Also seen was the hooded merganser on D reservoir. Here are a few unspectacular pictures... 

Since then a camera free walk at North Cave: Cetti's warbler, sedge warbler and 3 whooper swans [plus 3 also rans!]

80 UK 2021

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