21st Sept - I have to start with the horror story that was the Fea's Petrel. Living in Newcastle makes things rather hard to get down to the coast for seawatching, but I have no excuses for missing my dream bird! I simply left it too late to leave for it, and ended up at Newbiggin, BIG DIP. There's always next year... I did get 2 Sabine's Gulls, Sooty Shearwater, Pom and Long-Tail for my trouble but it's no consolation.
28th Sept - MASKED SHRIKE was successfully twitched at Spurn thanks to Chris Barlow, and thanks for letting me use his bins, as I had no gear with me at uni! Class bird that showed well but fairly distant for the whole time we were there.
7th Oct - Shore Lark, East Chevington. After quite a walk from Druridge Pools, I met Targa159 after a Twitter message telling me it was at East Chev burn, and after a 5 minute wait, it came out onto the beach with Rock Pipits! County Tick #266!
19th Oct - I took the metro to St. Peter's for the OBPipit in the morning after resisting the twitch for a while, but I'm glad I made the journey! Superb bird showing down to 15ft! I met Andrew Kinghorn while I was there, and after briefly looking at the 'Siberian' Lesser Whitethroat, we headed for a McDonald's, always a good way to end the day... However while we were there, AK got a phone call informing us of a Rough-Legged Buzzard nearby, and after a mad dash, we'd picked up the Rough-Leg at Washington, my second lifer of the day! Superb!
26th Oct - I woke up at home again in the hope of twitching the Tyneside mega of Raven at Tynemouth, alarm set for half 6, and in the car by 7am. However, at 7:09, I was halfway to Tynemouth, and Mark Newsome sent a Twitter message out regarding a Black Guillemot that had just flown south past the Obs at Whitburn, damn! So I carried on... 2 minutes later: "Black Guille just flown back north (07:09), very close in flying with a drake Eider." ARGH! So, in a mad rush, I headed back for St. Mary's, and at 7:15, I was set up with the scope at the toilet block. 5 minutes later, the Eider came north close inshore, no Black Guillemot! Panic! Finally, at 7:38, it came north close inshore, on it's own, HUGE patch tick, and one I've been chasing for years!
27th Oct - 3rd Time Lucky, ticked the Ravens on Tynemouth Priory early morning!
15th Nov - A bit of a gap between the last time I was out, but I was called to St. Mary's for the Great Reed Warbler that was on the mounds! I sacked off work and headed down in the morning. No sign of the Warbler, and not much else in the area, could it be wasted journey? AC to the rescue once again when he called a Pallas's Warbler on the Astley Track behind the cemetery! After a 3-hour struggle, CB and AK picked it up along the track, and everyone in attendance had some great views, a lifer on the patch! Autumn has finally kicked in!
Pretty Poor Record Shot of the Pallas's!
22nd Nov - Finally a St. Mary's seawatch! St. Mary's (7:30 - 11:30) - 4 Little Auk, Little Egret on rocks, Little Gull, 10 Shelduck, 16 RTDiver, 17 Scoter, 4 RBMerganser and 0 Smew! A pleasant seawatch, especially featuring Little Auks that I hadn't seen this year after missing the explosion of them a few weeks ago! However, it was overshadowed when ND found a Hume's Leaf Warbler in the Brierdene when I was on my way to the Newcastle match!!
23rd Nov - HUME'S! Getting up early the next morning, me and DMcG made for the Dene, and on arrival, MH got us on the bird with no worries! Calling frequently, and becoming yet another new bird for me, and another patch tick! Pallas's one weekend, Hume's the next, both on the patch, both lifers! Happy Days! However, it didn't end there! Me and Dan headed for East Chev for the Smew, which put a good show on at the North End on the North Pool while we were there, but a call from MF had us once again heading for the Brierdene as 2 Waxwings (ANOTHER TICK!) were showing at the North End of the Dene, right on the patch boundary! When we arrived again, Chris Barlow told me they were showing now, and 5 minutes later, we were 10 feet from them! 2 Patch Ticks in a day, with a lifer thrown in as well, and a nice Smew! Autumn really has kicked in!!
24th Nov - My most recent venture was a shameful twitch with DMcG to Seaton Snook to see the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR before my lectures started in the afternoon, and we managed to see it extremely well, showing to 10 foot at times, a fantastic way to end a fantastic weekend!
Summary since 21/9/14:
3 County Ticks
4 Patch Ticks
6 Life Ticks
Nice! Hopefully I will be posting more regularly again soon when I get my work under control!