The first half of June was exceptionally quiet for me on the birding front, a couple of Newbiggin seawatches that produced two Arctic Skuas on 7th and then a summer-plumaged Black Guillemot on the sea on 14th was as good as it got. The latter was the first I’ve had on the sea here and only my third ever at Newbiggin, though the second June record.
A 1st-summer drake Goldeneye at Castle Island on 17th and a good count of 73 Gadwall. Finn’s football training at new club Wallsend Boys Club produced 10 flyover calling Ring-necked Parakeets – to be expected I guess as the local parks south of the Coast Road seem to be the favoured area of the species.
Castle Island again on 23rd threw up a female Ruddy Shelduck, a single Little Egret and a colour-ringed Cormorant. Five Mediterranean Gulls in Newbiggin’s South Bay were a sign summer was here the same day as were Tufted Duck and Pochard broods locally. Another Med Gull (first-summer) was at Bothal Pond on 27th.
July kicked off with single Pochard and Shoveler broods at a nearby nature reserve. Castlke Island’s Ruddy Shelduck was still around on 11th as was a Kingfisher. By 20th I counted 105 Mediterranean Gulls at Newbiggin including 17 juveniles. Later that day seven Roseate Terns, a Little Gull, 55 returning Sanderling and 4 Knot were in the Beacon Point area. 12 Whimbrel south at Newbiggin Point along with a Great Skua were the highlight of another sea-watch on 23rd. Over at Castle Island Pintail, Spotted Redshank and up to 11 Little Egrets were in situ. Two juvenile Med Gulls at Bothal Pond were my first juveniles at the site ever!
A final sea-watch at Newbiggin on 28th offered nothing more than a single Whimbrel and two Arctic Skuas.