Posts Tagged ‘Lapland Bunting’

A hurried decision to go with the lads from York, Nige S & Mark K was fully justified with a really good days birding. We met in York and with Mark driving, we were soon at Ward Jackson Park in Hartlepool. A couple of Ring Necked Parakeet`s gave excellent close up views on a sunny but cold morning. Next stop was the Jewish Cemetery on the way up to the headland in Hartlepool. The Shore Lark was soon being watched and gave quite a good show. The fish quay in Hartlepool has been used by lots of white winged gulls over the years and, as we managed to be invited in we found a very obliging juvenile Iceland Gull. The bird was photographed many times, some really close shots. We also watched a couple of fishing boats come into dock and chatted with the men on the quayside about the state of sea fishing in Britain. We called at Newburn Bridge on the coast to watch one of the local Mediterranean Gull`s and a few waders as they fed and preened on the foreshore.
At Seal Sands on Teesside we searched for a Spotted Redshank without success, but Nige found a newly arrived flock of Avocet`s, spring is nearly here we all thought. We watched the seals as they used as little energy as possible trying to get into the water, great fun! We headed for Redcar and were soon watching a small flock of Velvet Scoter and in trying to get a bit closer managed to catch a couple of waves in our footwear. Just down the road behind The Stray Café we had hoped to see a small flock of Snow Bunting, but with lots of people and dogs around they were nowhere to be seen. At Marske by the Sea a couple of Lapland Buntings had been seen in the morning. On site birders told us that they had not been seen for a couple of hours. We decided to walk the large stubble field and we managed to encourage one of the Lapland Buntings to fly up and call as it flew around us, very nice indeed. The birds were left in peace to enjoy the food left out by some birders.
As we were so close to Skinningrove it made sense to call in and enjoy the Eastern Black Redstart that seems to have taken up residency there. The bird did not let us down, showing really well and a few pictures were taken. Along with the Rock Pipits, Stonechats & Wrens and lots of enquiring tourists a very nice hour was spent on the sandy beach admiring the Redstart. At Lockwood Beck Reservoir a Water Pipit had been showing all day, well up until we got there! A few Grey Wagtails were seen, but that was all. Our final call was to be Danby Beacon were lots of Red Grouse seemed to be dotted all over the place, they are always good entertainment. The drive back over the North York Moors was very spectacular, especially Rosedale, but being a heavily keepered area the chance of seeing any birds of prey was minimal. We reached York after a good days birding around 5-30pm, thanks for showing me some new places lads.
Dave O.


With the arrival of a Long Toed Stint (the bird had been all manner of birds until re-identified) in Sussex a “twitching team” was assembled Bob the Twitch couldn’t make it until nearer weekend (well done Bob) so an early blast off had to wait. As happens so often the bird was not seen again and the whole trip was cancelled! Whilst visiting a local supermarket a check of the birdnews revealed that a Sandhill Crane had been seen in Aberdeenshire. Must ring Bob the Twitch, he was expecting my call and said he would go and Andy and Mark from York also. We left at midnight picked up the York contingent and headed up the A1 went straight through to Edinburgh and swopped drivers. The journey along the A1 had been fraught with:- roadworks, speed cameras, convoys, ambulances etc, etc. We finally had to run the gauntlet through the early morning “rush-hour” traffic in Aberdeen. Reaching the general area, St Combs, had been placed into the “safe hands” of  Bob the Twitch, we did a few cart tracks,farm buildings etc, until in a state of utter desperation we had to get directions from a local lady (many thanks to her) who told us in a beautiful scotch accent to look for the “brown hut”. We found it at 8-30am with about 5 cars in attendance. Mark decided to change into his boots and by this time we had run up a field and saw the bird, a beautiful, large Sandhill Crane. The bird was watched for about 2 hours as it serenly strode about feeding in a stubble field and even had a little dance to see the local crows off. It flew out of view and we decided it was time to head south. 4 Lapland Buntings and a few thousand Pink Footed Geese were also seen. We called in at Black Dog,  just north of Aberdeen, as the weather began to get worse and did a 20 minutes seawatch adding:- 10+ Black Throated Divers, Slavonian Grebe, 2 Long Tailed Ducks, 3 Sandwich Tern and masses of Eider and Common Scoter, but not the hoped for Black Scoter! We reached Aberdeen at lunchtime then had a stop on route at Abingdon, reaching home at 9-30pm a mere 22 hours after leaving! Andy did well to sleep most of the way, Mark had to listen to my drivelings about past twitches (his ears must have been buzzing) and Bob the Twitch did really well to steer his Mazda into all the right places,well done to all!


The Stig (Ozzy)