North Northumberland Bird Club


Copyright © 2013 North Northumberland Bird Club

Little Bittern at Budle Bay Burn May 2018
This migrant beauty dropped into Budle Bay Burn for a few hours on 5th May. Many thanks to Alan and Margaret Goodall for sharing this fine image of a Little Bittern
Long Eared Owl at Falstone
A 'record' shot of a Long-eared Owl captured on mobile phone at 7am on 6th March at Falstone by John Reed, during the severe weather dubbed 'the Beast from the East'.
Purple Sandpiper at Stag Rocks
Two photos from our area submitted by regular contributor Alan Jack. The kestrel above was pictured as it hovered near Beal opposite Holy Island. The Purple Sandpiper was taken at Stag Rocks near Bamburgh, where they regularly overwinter.
Female Northern Wheatear
A  beautiful sharp photo of a female Northern Weatear passing through Holy Island on migration has been submitted by our Chairman Richard Poyer
Kingfisher at Gateshead
This fine portrait of a Male Kingfisher taken in Nov 17 at Clare Vale in Gateshead has been submitted by Peter Lees
Red-necked Grebe at Linton
Margaret Goodall has sent in this picture (above)of a Red-necked Grebe in Winter Plumage at Linton Lane Reserve nr. Ashington
Great White Egret at Goswick
This Great White Egret was captured from Goswick Golf Club as it flew south on 15th October and kindly submitted by Andy Deighton. Unlike the Little Egret which is steadily increasing on the Northumbrian Coast, the 'Great White' is still a comparatively rare sight in the County
long-tailed skua with crane fly
long-tailed skua
A juvenile Long-tailed Skua spent a couple of days at Goswick Golf Club towards the end of September 2017.Many thanks to Alan Jack has sent in these two fine photos of the bird, plus a picture of a Nightjar from St Mary's Island in the south of the County, a bird rarely encountered in such good light!
Green Sandpiper
In August 2017, one of our members, Jill, was lucky enough to see and photograph this migrant Green Sandpiper at Goswick a few miles south of Berwick-upon Tweed
Others did Survive
Too Late
Unguarded Nest
Avocet Pair
Avocet photos from Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve in Yorkshire where the breeding success rate has been low because of predation by gulls. Thanks to Richard Poyer for this graphic sequence from the NNBC visit in June. Scrolling upwards, see *the parent bird sitting, *the same bird leaving the nest, *the eggs lying unguarded, *the avocet attacking a Black-headed Gull- but 'too late', and *another more successful pair with young.
Female Stonechat
Male Stonechat
Corn Bunting in North Northumberland
Corn Bunting, once a familiar farmland bird, has almost disappeared from North Northumberland. We are indebted to Alan Jack for this fine photo taken along the coastal fringe of our area. The Male and Female Stonechats were taken in the same area.
Mandarin Duck
Blue Tit
Tree Sparrow
Richard Poyer has submitted some fine pictures of the range of birds you might see at Spindlestone Hide near Bamburgh- including Tree Sparrow, Nuthatch and Blue Tit, plus a beautiful Mandarin Duck 'just passing through'.
Common Sandpiper
Grey Wagtails
We are indebted toRichard Poyer for these images of characteristic waterside birds- Common Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail feeding young.
Willow Warbler
A Willow Warbler and a Wren, two of the birds singing their hearts out at Branton Ponds this April. Photos submitted by Peter Lees
Lesser Redpoll on feeder at Yearle
One of a pair of Redpolls visiting the sunflower seed feeder in a garden at Yearle intermittently throughout April. Photo by Alison McCormick
Eastern Black Redstart
 Margaret Goodall caught up with this Eastern Black Redstart at Skinningrove in North Yorkshire in March 2017, one of a small number of the 'Eastern Race' which have been seen this winter along the East Coast
One of our most engaging and attactive small birds is the Twite, mainly encountered in the winter months in coastal locations. A flock of over sixty birds gathered on Druridge Bay recently around the mouth of the Chibburn, where this photo was taken by Alan Jack.
Iceland Gull in flight
Glaucous Gull in Flight
Glaucous Gull
There has been an influx of 'White-winged' Gulls since the start of 2017, with North Shields Fish Quay being a favoured place to view immature Iceland Gulls and Glaucous Gulls. Thanks to Alan Jack (1-Iceland in flight, 2- Glaucous in flight) and Margaret Goodall (3-Glaucous on Rooftop) for their photographs above.
Cormorant of the Sinensis race
Pacific Diver
Many birders have visited Ladyburn Lake in the Druridge Bay Country Park in January 2017 to see and photograph this Pacific Diver, a rare vagrant from Western Canada and Alaska. On the coast, the photographer also encountered a Cormorant of the 'Sinensis'  race.Both Photos :Margaret Goodall
Bitterns tend to be secretive birds of the reedbeds, more often heard than seen! Margaret Goodall luckily managed to capture this bird stalking in full view at Northumberland WildlifeTrust's East Chevington Reserve on 27th November.
Waxwing by Alan Jack

Every few years, we have a Waxwing 'irruption', usually linked to poor fruiting of the berry crop in Scandinavia. Numbers arriving this November 2016 suggest that we are in for such an invasion of these delightful winter visitors.

Photo: Alan Jack

isabelline wheatear- photo alan jack
isabelline wheatear- photo alan jack
                             Isabelline Wheatear (above)                                  Siberian Accentor (below)
Siberian Accentor -photo:Alan Jack
Siberian Accentor- photographer Alan Jack
In an exciting period dominated by a prolonged Scandinavian High Pressure system delivering many migrants across the North Sea in October on a persistent easterly airflow, a couple of 'megastars' arrived on Holy Island,- including the first ever county record of a Siberian Accentor (hot on the heels of the first British record of the species seen on Shetland earlier in the month) and an Isabelline Wheatear, the first for many years in the county. Many thanks to Alan Jack for his excellent photos of both birds.
Thrush Nightingale on Holy Island
This young Thrush Nightingale found itself blown off course on its first migration and ended up at the edge of Sandham Bay on Holy Island, coincidentally on the same day(18th September) as the NNBC Holy Island Field Trip led by Graham Bell where it provided a rare opportunity for members to see this beautiful Scandinavian songbird. Photo:Alan Goodall
Female Goosanders at Amble
Goosanders at Amble
Two fine pictures of the summer gathering of female Goosanders at Amble which have been submitted by our Chairman Richard Poyer July 2016
Red-necked Phalarope
Woodchat Shrike
Summer Holidays & Summer Visitors! Another Mediterranean visitor to the area rivalling the recent Hoopoe (see below) is this beautiful Woodchat Shrike which appeared at St. Abbs for a few days in June. Photo taken by Peter Lees. From further afield, Liz Harrison captured this photo whilst visiting Iceland on holiday of a very confiding Red-necked Phalarope enjoying a 'thermal' bath in a small pool.
Slavonian Grebe in Breeding Plumage
Little Grebe in breeding plumage
Osprey on Nest, Speyside
 Three images from the NNBC Residential Weekend on Speyside in June 2016. The pictures of a Slavonian Grebe, a Little Grebe and a nesting Osprey were contributed by Peter Lees
Spotted Flycatcher
New member Noel Arrowsmith, who recently moved to the county, was thrilled to see his first ever Spotted Flycatcher when it dropped into his garden in Wark on 25th May, 2016
Harthope Valley hoopoe
Visitor Elena Baonza recently visited the Harthope Valley (having read about it on this website: see localities opposite) and was delighted to find this Hoopoe on 20th May which she unexpectedly came across perched on the roadside fence near the first cattlegrid ......... as well as the Ring Ouzels she hoped to see!
Members Phil and Marge Noble were delighted when this Male Redstart dropped in to their garden in Berwick-upon-Tweed on 29th April 2016
Dipper- Ron McCombe
Two Dippers on the River Tweed near Melrose. This fine photo is one of a sequence taken by well-known local Wildlife Photographer, Ron McCombe. Check out further images on
Kestrel hovering
eider drake
Two more fine photographs from Alan Jack, one of a Male Eider set against some broken reflections on the water surface (like an oil painting), the other of a Kestrel in a classic hovering position. Submitted December, 2015.
Short -eared Owl
Short-eared Owl at St. Mary's Island
Alan Jack has submitted these striking new photographs of Short -eared Owls taken at St. Mary's Island in the south of Northumberland; November, 2015.
Purple Sandpiper with two Turnstone
Three Purple Sandpipers at Stag Rocks
Purple Sandpipers, scarce but beautiful little waders with subtle, attractive plumage breed in the Arctic, but overwinter at favoured rocky locations such as Stag Rocks, Bamburgh. One of our members, Jill, has submitted two photos taken in early November 2015, one of three 'Purple Sands' the other of one beside two Ruddy Turnstones which share similar habitat. [N.B. The 'purple' colouration is only seen when the bird is in full breeding plumage, not in its winter garb!]
Short-eared Owl
Black Redstart
Photos of three migrant birds on Holy Island on 31st October 2015 kindly submitted by Alan Jack of Whitley Bay. Short-eared Owls have been recorded in good numbers this year coming in along the East Coast in October. Black Redstart and Twite are also recorded regularly on autumn passage.
Scandinavian Migrant Redwing
Mistle Thrush at Howick
Two Scandinavian Winter Visitors just arrived on 8th October 2015 at Howick following some wet and misty weather -    a Mistle Thrush and a Redwing. These photos were submitted by ringer Phil Hanmer.
Knot at Birling Carr

Two photos of Red Knot on the Rocks at Birling Carr, north of Amble, August 2015.

                                                                                                                   Photos submitted by Richard Poyer

King Eider in flight
Photo of a King Eider in flight near the 'Duck' Islands in Northern Spitsbergen. Further images in article on the Arctic within the Magzine opposite.                          Photo by Kind Permisson of Peter Dunn- Naturetrek Guide
Bk throated Divers
Black-throated Divers

Two images of a Black-throated Diver with its chick taken at Lochindorb on Speyside August 2015

                                                                                                      Photos submitted by Ian & Keith Davison.

puffin with sandeels
puffins at burrow on Inner Farne
puffin at burrow on Inner Farne

Three images from Inner Farne in July 2015 of Puffins taking sandeels to their 'puffling' deep in the nesting burrow

                                                                                                                   Photos submitted by Peter Lees

Arctic Tern with chick on Farne Islands

Arctic Tern guarding its chick at the edge of the boardwalk on Inner Farne in July 2015

                                                                                                  Photo submitted by Peter Lees

snow bunting
A record shot of a summer plumage Male Snow Bunting near the Beacon, Simonside taken on 24th May by Northumberland National Park Volunteer John Chrisp.
hovering gannet
Gannet hovering at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve, NNBC Yorkshire Trip May 2015    Photo submitted by Richard Poyer
razorbills mating
Razorbills doing what they do in the mating season.......... at Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve. NNBC Yorkshire Weekend May 2015                                                                                                                         Photo submitted by Peter Lees
Black Necked Grebes
A pair of Black-necked Grebes in full breeding plumage seen at Potteric Carr on the NNBC Yorkshire Weekend in May 2015. (Compare with Winter plumage below)                                         Photo submitted by Richard Poyer
One of a couple of attractive Black-necked Grebes which have been seen in and around Seahouses Harbour in late December and January, 2015.                                                                     Photo submitted by Roger Foster
Not likely to be seen in Northumberland! This stunning photograph of a Sword-billed Hummingbird was taken in Ecuador by Tom Cadwallender and featured in his talk to the Club in January, 2015.

A fine collection of  waders at the edge of the tide including Knot, Grey Plover and Turnstone.

                                                                                                                          Photo submitted by Richard Poyer

A beautiful reflection of an overwintering Purple Sandpiper at Stag Rocks in December Photo submitted by Richard Poyer

A Willow Tit ringed at Newton on 14th September.                        Photo submitted by Philip Hanmer
A Red-breasted Flycatcher ringed at Newton on 14th September, one of a number migrants drifting across the North Sea in the Easterly winds of mid September.                                                           Photo submitted by Philip Hanmer


For details of an exciting opportunity to attend a ringing session with Phil Hanmer see the latest article in the MagZine. Above is a young Great Spotted Woodpecker netted in a recent session at Howick


Tawny Owls, Powburn

Philip Hanmer with Three Tawny Owl Pulli at the Breamish Valley Caravan Club Site. Read more about Philip's Ten Years of monitoring the Breeding Birds at this site in the website MagZine, by clicking on the tag.

Puffin, Farne Islands


A Puffin with a beakful of Sand Eels returning to Staple Island     Photo by visiting birder Jim Foster

Velvet Scoter, Holy Island


A record shot of a Velvet Scoter off Holy Island on July 3rd.                           Photo by visiting birder Ian Mears

Great Crested Grebes at Branton


Up to five birds have been seen on the West Pond at Branton in June, including a pair collecting vegetation to build a nest on the floating platform                                                                                       Photos Ian & Keith Davison

Common Crossbill


Star birds of our 'Dawn Chorus Walk' in May, 2014 on the Ford and Etal Estates were three crossbills, including this male bird located in a small isolated patch of conifers                                                                Photo Ian & Keith Davison

Grey Phalarope


A photograph of this fine bird in winter plumage as it was looking for food in one of the very narrow tidal inlets at Stag Rocks( hence the copious spume). Early February 2014                          Photo Alan Gilbertson



A fine photo of a male taken at Druridge Pools on 22nd January 2014                Photo Ian & Keith Davison

Green Sandpiper


Overwintering on the river near the Hedgeley Pools north of Powburn, in January 2014

                                                                                                                                               Photo Ian Davison

Part of the flock of forty snow buntings seen on Bamburgh Beach on 9th November                           Photo-Ian Calland
Purple Sandpiper at Stag Rock, Seahouses on 1st November. One of the most reliable locations in the county for this species, up to 150 of these beautiful little waders can be seen roosting here on the rocks at high tide during the winter months.                                                                                                                                    Photo-Ian Calland
One of four rock pipits seen by the photographer from Stag Rock, Bamburgh on 1st November      Photo-Ian Calland
This meadow pipit was recorded on the grassy dunes to the south of Newton-by-the Sea                Photo-Ian Calland

Red-throated Diver

This photograph of a Red-throated Diver in its breeding plumage was taken on a highland loch to the North of Ullapool in Scotland during this summer (2013). Although they regularly winter on the sea off the coast of Northumberland they are far less colourful in their winter plumage, though the upturned bill is very characteristic in all seasons. Look for them from September onwards from the cliffs south of Spittal, Ross Back Sands or Stag Rocks near Bamburgh                                                                                                                                                 Photo-Ian Calland


This beautiful photograph of a male Kingfisher was taken by one of our members at a site in the Midlands. As a species, it is slowly recovering but still very scarce in Northumberland after the prolonged severe winters of 2010 and 2011decimated the local breeding population. With patience and a degree of good luck it can still be seen locally at several sites including the River Till around Etal, and Branton Ponds (see blog entry for 23rd Feb). Further photos of kingfishers can be seen by signing up for Ron's excellent Wildlife Newsletter on                                                                                Photo-Ron McCombe ARPS.

Bridled Tern in Northumberland

These two record shots of the Bridled Tern, which has been visiting various local sites since the beginning of July, were taken at Cresswell Pond on 7th July. This mainly tropical species, which has its nearest breeding colonies in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, was first seen on Inner Farne on 1st July (see also report on the blog for 2nd July) where it remained intermittently until the 5th before heading south to East Chevington, Cresswell and RSPB Saltholme (Teesmouth). Latest reports in mid-July suggest it is back on the Farnes!                                                                                                                                                                              Photo-Colin Pears.

Red-backed Shrike on Holy Island

This record shot of a female red-backed shrike taken on 21st May is one of a number of shrikes turning up along the coast from 18th- 22nd, with up to ten birds reported on Holy Island (including a Lesser Shrike), and other red-backed shrikes seen at Low Newton and St. Abb's Head                                        Photo-Colin Pears.                                                

Collared Flycatcher at Low Newton-by-the-Sea

These two record shots of the male Collared Flycatcher, which delighted several members of the club when it put in an appearance in the horse paddock opposite the 'Tin Church' at Low Newton on 8th - 9th May 2013, clearly show the striking white 'collar' and the greyish-white upper rump patch which help to differentiate this species from the Pied Flycatcher.                                                                                          Photos-Colin Pears.                                                                                          

Proper Gr'opper!

Members attending the Dawn Chorus Field Trip in May 2013 search for a reeling Grasshopper Warbler. Seconds later the bird appeared in the little Hawthorn bush to the right of the track affording splendid views of a classic lbj normally 'heard but not seen'.

Photo-Claire Ward.

Blackcaps in Residence at Newton Links

 A pair of these warblers have started nesting at Newton Links. Photographed on 24th April.

Photo-Ian Calland.


Pacific Diver