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


7th September 2022 ff

September 12, 2022  •  4 Comments

An afternoon at Marshland

Marshland, Blacktoft - just about the only part of the reserve with a decent amount of water - apparently. I spent my whole visit in Marshland hide. Watching curlew sandpipers. 3 present along with spotshanks, ruff, godwits, woodsand, dunlins and supporting wildfowl. Reed warbler seen too. Here are the curlew sands.

Camera settings went wrong at one point and ruined some yellow wagtail shots. I rescued this one...

Grey heron

 Sunday 11th September - a day at Borough Hall

Have you noticed how if anyone is providing information on tv or radio these days they seem to always begin with the word 'so'?

So I drove up to Hartlepool heading straight for the Headland. I sensed some good birds were going to be there. I began with a spotted flycatcher. In the gloom of heavy shade. [Photo brightened as much as I dare]

I could see a group of birders on the Putting Green. I went to see what was there. 

Garden warblers - 2 of them. Not a bird I find easy to spot and, in fact, one I had never photographed. I went back several times to get these photos. 

A sparrowhawk flew overhead and the birds all went into deep cover.

A false alarm sent everyone [me included] rushing off to the Heugh Pier to see a red-breasted flycatcher but it was a case of misidentification. A wheatear graced the rocks.

Later I went back to Borough Hall to one particular line of trees that had pied flycatcher, lesser whitethroat and yellow-browed warbler. I managed a better view of a spotfly.

203 UK 2022

1st September 2022

September 03, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Six of the Best!

Thursday 1st September: up early and off to Spurn

The plan was to get to Spurn and do a seawatch. However a check on the pager in a lay-by near Market Weighton told me there was a wryneck at Sammy's Point. Good job I decided to go there first as I discovered later that I'd left my scope at home! Camera and bins would have to do. The wryneck appeared after a ten-minute wait while it hid in the bottom of a hawthorn bush about 3 yards in front of me. 

Next report was of a  citrine wagtail in a dark and heavily vegetated ditch just inland from Chalky Point. A new place for me - you take a footpath just north of the Riverside Hotel out to the Humber. The marshy area and ditch will then be on your right. The wagtail was extremely tricky to lock onto because of the reeds sticking up between me and the bird. But I had a go!

A red-backed shrike was seen distantly from the road near Canal Scrape. I decided to go to the Canal Scrape hide and wait for a better view.

3 year ticks. A brilliant day was slotting into place. Beacon Ponds was my next destination. A birder told me 'they're quite near the concrete ramp.' That sounded promising and I put my best foot forward. [It's the left one!]

There were 2 of them but not swimming together. Red-necked phalaropes by the way.

4 year ticks

A few fellow travellers - dunlin and ringed plover.

I fancied a sit and the now spacious Kilnsea hide was almost deserted. I scanned the waders. Great white egret some way off. Then a wader flew in with the dunlin. Bigger and better. Curlew sandpiper. [5 ticks]

I headed back to Sammy's Point to see what was on the mud now the tide had gone out. So with bins round my neck and my scope happily taking it easy upstairs at home I had a look around. Plenty of common waders, an egret, shelducks a-plenty. I was looking for a grey plover but couldn't find one. Turning back to the car I spotted a wheatear.

It landed quite close to me.

Not a tick.

I strolled over to the first horse paddock. A robin appeared at the base of a hawthorn just in front of me. The robin left and seconds later a redstart appeared. I went to the car to get the camera [about 10 yards away]. But I never saw redstart or robin again. Nonetheless my sixth tick of the day. I don't think I manage that often in September.

198 UK 2022


26th August 2022

August 26, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Greater sand plover

No more needs to be said really except to confirm: Redcar beach between the bandstand and the new Regent cinema.

192 UK 2022

13th August 2022 ff

August 23, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Spot the crake!

August 13th:North Cave Wetlands

Turret Hide. Nice and quiet when I arrived. Just three or four birders present and all watching the spotted crake in their scope. It was rather a long way off. I did try to get a photo. Don't laugh. You can just spot its little head in between the reeds!

If you can't see it it's in the centre of the image facing left. The other bird is a green sandpiper. I've cropped it again - the image is very degraded now but you can see the bird!

I had to get home by late morning. Five minutes in East hide.

August 15th: North Cave again for a little stint that, unfortunately, was no longer present [or was hiding away somewhere]. I made do with a few photos from the West path. Robin, fresh willow warbler and a chiffchaff.

August 17th: Blacktoft

Hoping to see my third pectoral sandpiper of the year - previous ones were at Staveley and Edderthorpe. The Blacktoft bird was never very close. Here are my best efforts!

August 18th: Old Moor - to try to find a rather mobile little stint. Eventually cornered on Cormorant Island.

August 23rd: Swillington Ings, Cattlegate Pond - a much more showy spotted crake. Also added to the mix great crested grebe and reed bunting.

191 UK 2022

Interestingly [for me at least!] 191 was my end of year total for 2021

22nd July 2022 ff

August 05, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Catch-up Part Two

22nd July: Alkborough Flats

Two visits to Prospect Hide in order to see the stilt sandpiper. The first time the hide was overloaded, I didn't linger and the bird could only be seen with difficulty and with a scope by managing to look north-west towards Trent Falls while standing on a bench. I gave up. One photo from the first visit [21/7].

I returned on the 22nd to an empty hide. Eventually another birder arrived and we saw the stilt sandpiper quite well. Here it is...

23rd July: Eccup Reservoir

Useless visit. You can do a walk round Eccup Reservoir but you rarely see the water for the tree growth. Saw a possible spotted flycatcher, an unidentified warbler and a young robin.

I gather now that the reservoir is best viewed from the dam wall [ I never got that far as I'd had enough of seeing so little] or with a scope from the path that heads North from the North-east corner of the reservoir. I'm in no hurry to try.

26th July: Blacktoft Sands

A much better day's birding. No year ticks but some really good birds. I'd seen a group of nine cranes on King's Causeway near Swinefleet in April but the 4 common cranes at Blacktoft were much closer. Also good shows from black-tailed godwits, greenshank, spotted redshank, snipe and other regulars.

I know they're miles away but...bearded tits!

And the stars of the show!

28th July: Denaby Ings

Report of a purple heron. I arrived to a full car park. Good sign. Birders walking back said: 'Carry on to the sluice.' So I did.

29th July: Redcar/Saltholme/Hartlepool

I started at the car park between Redcar and Marske hoping to see some common scoter. I counted 58 approx.

 Also in the car park

Dorman's pool for a little stint that failed to show. Great egrets, spoonbills, a woodsand, greenshanks, ringed plovers - all sorts. I called at Saltholme hoping for a young yellow wagtail but no luck.

Moorhen pair were keeping their youngster close.

Rowan berries and a great white egret at Phil Stead's.

Final call at the Lifeboat Station. I was surprised to see a common blue by the car park.

The kittiwakes seemed to be doing well. 

I do like juvenile kittiwakes.

189 UK 2022