Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Tide Up

Hello- Dan here.

A Spring high tide which covered the saltmarshes prompted a walk along Dawson's Bank, from where 2 wheatears, a common sandpiper, a greenshank and 2 skylarks were seen feeding along the high water mark.

A green sandpiper was feeding on the little-frequented Bank Pool, and a late-ish swift was hawking over the large expanse of tidal water. It, or another, was in the company of house martins elsewhere in the parish later in the afternoon.

A stoat was hot on the heels of a rabbit down the cycle track. A peregrine was hot on the heels of five dunlins over the estuary. Two snipes and a green sandpiper were at point 8 on the site map.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Gull Bank Holiday

Dan reporting for the parish posse.

The Aldcliffe Boys (and girl) were out in force around midday, but the same can't really be said for the birds.

However, between us we managed few migrant species including a wheatear, a grasshopper warbler (an adult, on colouration), a black-tailed godwit, two greenshanks, and five wigeon.

A high-tide Gull Bank wasn't much cop for gulls, since the roost was repeatedly dispersed by pesky jet-skiers.

The Wildfowler's Pools had a green sandpiper, a few teals and a snipe.

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Blustery morning and heavy showers added to the autumnal feel and it's still August. Few more Coot on Freeman’s, 15, along with Little Grebe. 4 Buzzard were seen near the pylons, and a Grasshopper Warbler and Whitethroat. 4 Little Egret on the salt marsh.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Muddy Migrants

Dan here.

The fly-ridden mud of the 'Flood' attracted a few juvenile invertebrate-lovers today, such as this swallow, little ringed plover, and also a wheatear.

Fifteen black-tailed godwits flew through, two green sandpipers lingered and a greenshank was on the estuary. A stock dove was noted. Five little egrets were on the saltmarsh.

A party of six buzzards wheeled overhead.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Shifting Sands

Dan here.

Some hirundine passage here on a cool, still and otherwise quiet morning.

The presence of local and off-passage house martins and swallows blurred the picture for those two species, but sand martins were simple enough, with 85 South-East along the Eastern edge of the estuary between 0830 and 0930.

Other visible SE-bound migration included a grey wagtail, a swift and 8 meadow pipits.

As in recent days, a few lesser and common whitethroats, blackcaps and particularly chiffchaffs in the hedgerows.

Two green sandipers were seen at the Wildfowler's Pools, and four greenshanks and a common sandpiper were just upstream of the pylons.

Two peregrines were keeping the peewits aloft early on.


Some interesting sightings today from  JWB/BT LDBWS. Especially Little Egrets
 FREEMANs POOL: Grey Heron-6.Mute Swan-2.Coot-9.
Gadwall.Little Grebe.-8 (inc:pr in
plumage still feeding one young)
Kingfisher. (2/3circuits of the pool &
hovering over the island).
(Hedgerow). LTTits-flock of 17 (in with them )
Blue Tit-5 Coal Tit-3.Dunnock.Wren.
WILDFOWL POOL: Teal-3.Green Sandpiper.
ALDCLIFFE MARSH: Little Egret-9 (also 1 on Heaton Marsh)
Canada Geese-230+ Greylag Geese-c150+
Cormorant-5.Grey Heron-2.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Spent an hour down the patch this morning. Two Ravens were on the usual pylon.Thought I would checkout the meadow near here, Blackcaps, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat along with finches and tits. Two Little Egrets were on the marsh, Lapwings, Curlews and plenty of Greylags also present. Two crows mobbing a Kestrel. Couldn't quite get my eye in today as no scope. A Green Sandpiper at the Wildfowlers' and half a dozen Teal. Freeman's Pools quiet as work being carried out.

Hi Steve!
I too had a nose this morning so much the same as you, but also 3 wheatears (my first down here since Spring), a second winter Med, and another tree sparrow.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Two by Two

Couldn't find too much in a rainy visit, not even in that (formerly) magic bush.

However, 2 common sandpipers, 2 greenshanks and 2 green sandpipers is better than a poke in the eye.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Early 'Start

Yesterday's tripit, the previous day's tree sparrow and this morning's first-Winter male common redstart have all been spied in the same hawthorn bush near walled meadow.

I hope that bush continues to bring me the pick of the passerines every day. That would be nice and convenient.

I've got a soft spot for redstarts. This one was in the company of several juvenile willow warblers and chiffchaffs, and I caught several glimpses as they flitted from tree to tree along the track.


Monday, 22 August 2011

A Flying Tripit

Dan again.

Only had chance for a flying visit in the early evening today, but an off-passage tree pipit made it worth the trip. Casting my mind back, I don't think I've had an Autumn tripit on the patch before, with the others being April fly-overs.

Pool waders consisted of three green sandpipers and a few lapwings.  A greenshank and a common sandpiper were by the pylons.


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Where were you in April?

Dan here.

A fun afternoon of birding down on the patch.

Foremost was a nice osprey which as ever, was heralded by a whole host of irate gulls.
It circled fairly high over the estuary at Snatchems for a few minutes before the sight of the coast lured it WSW.

The first merlin of the Autumn appeared and shot low over Colloway Marsh.

A peregrine was merely scaring the local lapwings and starlings for some time before trying its luck over town. It returned ten minutes later with what looked to be a white domestic dove in its claws.

Five buzzards, two kestrels and a sparrowhawk completed the raptor tally.

Freshwater waders comprised just two green sandpipers and a greenshank. A single golden plover was with several hundred peewits near Gull Bank.

Best passerine was a vociferous tree sparrow just South of Aldcliffe Hall Lane.

Grovelling apology: I ordinarily text out my Ospreys to the more keen local birders...but I've lost my mobile. Sorry Steve.


No sign of any raptors during a walk round with mini me this morning. An unprecedented 24 heron were in the Freemans pool area with 6 little grebe including 1 juvenile. I didn't see any raptors but had some success with passerines. A garden warbler, 2 goldcrest, 2 common whitethroat and a sub-song willow warbler were in the area round the abandoned football pitch. 2 blackcap and a chiffchaff were on the top path. A greenshank was at wildfowlers. There seems to be a lot of these round the area. It's a bit worrying that a birder with the calibre of Dan hasn't got a mobile going in to the autumn migration. Please find it Dan, there are so many birds I will never see if you can't get the news out!


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dull Bank

Spent a bit longer on the patch today, but there wasn't much to set the pulse racing. Indeed, it was further fuel for my theory that Saturday is the dullest day of the week, bird-wise.

However, freshwater waders weren't too bad, adding up to 5 little ringed plovers (3 of which pictured below) a greenshank, 2 green sandpipers and a snipe.

Estuary waders and gulls were thoroughly routine, though the sight of 9 wigeon and 45 teal struck a mid-autumnal chord.

A stock dove was noted. A wood pigeon was nest-building. A lesser whitethroat sang briefly. Time went by.


Friday, 19 August 2011

Brown Muds, Green Sands, Red Ads..

Dan here.

A 2nd-winter Mediterranean gull on the estuary was perhaps the best find in a somewhat brief late morning visit. One each of bar-tailed and black-tailed godwit were also noted on the mud.

Waders on the flood comprised two little ringed plovers and a single green sand. Ten adult pied wagtails were new here, but all were scattered by a swooping first plumage peregrine.

A further two green sandpipers were noted using the Wildfowler's Pools.

Three swifts were hunting over the marsh. A few red admirals were feeding in areas sheltered from the stiff breeze.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A Tale of Two Piccies

Dan and his state-of-the-art camera here.

Up to four greenshanks were presenting photographic opportunities this afternoon. Other waders on the patch included 4 green sandpipers.

Three off-passage sand martins were at Freeman's Pools, where 2 shovelers appeared to be new in. Several small parties of swifts flew through the parish, heading South.

The only bird of note at Gull bank was an adult Mediterranean gull, as dodgyscoped below!


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Parish Register

Had a walk round the southern end of the patch with Aldcliffes' newest parishioner. The only noteable sighting was 3 LRP's on Flood - two of which I thought were juveniles. Looking at Dan's recent postings though one may have been a female.

There was a bit of screaming going on from Ola so her first visit wasn't the happiest. Hopefully she will grow up to be a birder under the passive influence from her father. I grew up on the Headland in Hartlepool and although I never saw a white throated robin, the constant presence of gulls, cormorants and wrecked auks has subsequently influenced me.


Hello Guy and daughter.... there were indeed 2 juvenile plumage little ringed plovers today-- and a further 3 adults. Two greenshanks were knocking about too. One of them (inexpertly) photographed for Ola, below.


The day's green sandpiper tally was five. A glimpse of a berry-gobbling garden warbler was reminder that passage passerines must be quietly slipping through the patch all the while.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Case of the Vanishing Wall

Couldn't find too much today, but shouldn't complain about getting good views of a greenshank, two little ringed plovers (1 ad 1 juv) and three green sandpipers just fifteen minutes walk from my street.

A few glimpses of sun brought out some knapweed-botherers, with a few each of peacock, green-veined white, red admiral and meadow brown along the top track.

Wall brown butterflies used to be quite common around Aldcliffe, but I haven't seen a single one in several years. They seem to have been replaced by speckled wood down here.

The weather wasn't too good for dragonflies, but one each of emperor and brown hawker were seen patrolling.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Not the white rump I was hoping for...

Dan here.

A wader-focused scout around today yielded an attractive adult curlew sandpiper on the estuary mud at Gull Bank.

It was in the company of five black-tailed godwits as the tide dropped, part of a reasonable variety of waders including 15 ringed plovers, 20 dunlins, 32 bar-tailed godwits and 650 lapwings.

On the smaller water bodies of the parish a juvenile little-ringed plover, a greenshank, 2 snipe and four green sandpipers were to be found.

Less mud-oriented species included a juv. sedge warbler, and a southbound party of 17 swifts.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Less of the Same

Four green sandpipers, two snipe, a juv. ringed plover and a greenshank were the best birds on the various freshwater pools this evening.


Monday, 8 August 2011

The Year of The Flood?

Dan here.

'The flood' should be in good condition for attracting passage waders over the next couple of weeks, and indeed this evening saw it holding 6 green sandpipers, 4 snipe and a juvenile little ringed plover*.

'Gull bank' was also decent for waders, with 14 ringed plovers (scarce this far up the estuary), 150 bar-tailed godwits and 40 dunlins gathering on the marsh edge. A juvenile plumage mediterranean gull was in the vicinity too.

A seventh green sandpiper was at the Wildfowler's Pools, as were six teal.

17 or 18 swifts were whirling over Freeman's Pools, a reasonable figure for quite late in the swift season.

*I hope to check 'the flood' more often in the coming weeks... with wood sand, ruff, curlew sand and little stint all having been recorded there in autumns past. Maybe the scene of Aldcliffe's first pec this year? Some big talk there.