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Where to see my target species?

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Old Monday 11th March 2019, 16:34   #1
Louis_P
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Where to see my target species?

I am planning a long weekend in the first few days of June this year and was hoping for advice on where to see my target species. One day will be spent mostly on the Farne Islands. These are my target species:
  • Black-necked Grebe
  • Grey Partridge
  • Black Grouse
  • Long-eared Owl
  • Osprey
  • Goshawk
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  • Tree Pipit
  • Yellow Wagtail
  • Redstart
  • Black Redstart
  • Grasshopper Warbler
  • Garden Warbler
  • Wood Warbler
  • Spotted Flycatcher
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Willow Tit
  • Raven
  • Tree Sparrow
  • Hawfinch
  • Crossbill
I realise many of these aren't Northumberland specialities and I have excluded seabirds I should easily see on the Farnes. If you know of any stand out sites where I have a very good chance on seeing one or more of these species (after spending a few hours at each site), please tell me. I am also interested in sites that I can see any of these species by making a small detour from my drive back to Norfolk.

Thanks,
Louis P
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Old Monday 11th March 2019, 23:00   #2
Nutcracker
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  • Black-necked Grebe - sorry, 'Site data withheld'
  • Grey Partridge - East Chevington is as good as anywhere
  • Black Grouse - Upper Allendale; can't really be more specific
  • Long-eared Owl - again, 'Site data withheld'
  • Osprey - Kielder Reservoir watchpoint
  • Goshawk - Kielder, but highly unlikely to see one this time of year (March best)
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker - extinct in county
  • Tree Pipit - Kielder; clear fells and areas with scattered trees
  • Yellow Wagtail - Whittledene Reservoirs
  • Redstart - widespread in west of county, scarce in east
  • Black Redstart - rare winter visitor (one at Tynemouth now, but it'll be gone by June)
  • Grasshopper Warbler - East Chevington is as good as anywhere
  • Garden Warbler - fairly widespread in west of county, scarce in east
  • Wood Warbler - almost extinct; sites withheld now sadly
  • Spotted Flycatcher - common in upland valley woods
  • Pied Flycatcher - Allenbanks (NT)
  • Willow Tit - Prestwick Carr
  • Raven - very scarce, Kielder best
  • Tree Sparrow - Big Waters, Hauxley, and other reserves with feeders
  • Hawfinch - extinct
  • Crossbill - Kielder
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Old Tuesday 12th March 2019, 16:52   #3
Louis_P
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Thank you very much for all the recommended sites! It seems a trip to the West of the on one day would be a great idea (Kielder Forest, Allenbanks etc.) maybe on the drive down South on the Saturday (I plan to spend Saturday night somewhere further South than Northumberland). Also, maybe an early morning trip on the Friday to the Hauxley/East Chevington area could work if time allows - depending on Farne Island boat trip times. Do you know of any sites in the West of Northumberland or Farne Island area that could hold Yellow Wagtail or Willow Tit (likely in smaller numbers)?

Thanks again for all you help,
Louis

Edit - Also, which sites are good for Red-breasted Merganser?

Last edited by Louis_P : Tuesday 12th March 2019 at 18:16.
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Old Thursday 14th March 2019, 15:09   #4
Nutcracker
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Yellow Wag - there's a few around Druridge bay, but they're thinly scattered and not always easy to find once they've started nesting. Best bet is from the budge hide at Druridge Pools. Also a few in the west of the county, look from the narrow bridge over the North Tyne in Wark is a good spot, they're often on small rocks in the middle of the river if the water isn't too high.

Willow Tit - scattered around, but not easy to find in June, they go very quiet when breeding.

R B Merg - there's a pair or two on the Farnes, you might get lucky; ask the wardens or boatmen. Otherwise, odd non-breeders in the channel toward the open end of Budle Bay, or in the channel S/SW of Holy Island Heugh.
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Old Thursday 14th March 2019, 15:49   #5
Louis_P
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Thanks again for your help, I will try incorporate your suggestions into my plan. One last question, is their a particular walk you would recommend at Kielder Forest to see my target species there (particularly Crossbill and Tree Pipit) as unfortunately it seems information about it is very limited.

Thanks,
Louis
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Old Saturday 16th March 2019, 00:10   #6
Nutcracker
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Both scattered widely - for Crossbills look out for older trees with good cone crops, but mostly, just listen out for their 'jup, jup, jup' call notes as they fly over. For Tree Pipits, check open areas with scattered trees, including clear-fells with lots of old branches and standing dead stems for songposts.
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Old Saturday 16th March 2019, 08:53   #7
JWN Andrewes
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New Swillington Ings on the journey up or down may give you Black-necked Grebe, although by June they can be rather secretive and far from easy to see, particularly on a short stop off.
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Old Saturday 16th March 2019, 12:29   #8
Louis_P
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Okay, thanks both of you for the help! It seems a Willow Tit has been at Swillington Ings recently - are they regular?

Thanks,
Louis
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Old Saturday 16th March 2019, 16:33   #9
Farnboro John
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I don't understand this. A substantial proportion of these species are easy in East Anglia, especially on reserves. Redstart at Minsmere, Tripits in the Brecks for instance. There seems to be something quite suspect about the query overall, as if there is a reason why birds on reserves won't do.

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Old Sunday 17th March 2019, 13:04   #10
JWN Andrewes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
Okay, thanks both of you for the help! It seems a Willow Tit has been at Swillington Ings recently - are they regular?

Thanks,
Louis
They are around, but the whole Fairburn/Swillington collection of reserves has a large footprint, comprising a lot of habitats, so you'd probably need to know exactly where to look. The only time I've seen Willow Tit there I was being shown around by someone who really knew the site so I just tagged along without much clue precisely where I was! Again, though, June probably not an easy time of year to track one down.

(As an aside, I've seen a photo of Willow Tit taken recently in that area with quite a lot of leucism on the head - something to look out for.)
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Old Sunday 17th March 2019, 21:01   #11
Louis_P
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Oh sure Farnboro John many of these are easy to see locally (I need to have a full day in the Brecks to see some of them), but as a relatively new birder, I have many species yet to tick (currently my UK list is 180ish) and three days of birding, wherever in the country, is a great chance to see many species and I want to maximise my chances of seeing many birds. I do, for example, go to Minsmere at least once a year but I am yet to see a Redstart but I have seen many other good birds there. Of course, I will be focusing on seeing the local 'specialities' of Northumberland rather than birds I am likely to see locally.

Thanks,
Louis

Edit - Thanks for the Willow Tit info. I might as well try if I am going there anyway

Last edited by Louis_P : Monday 18th March 2019 at 15:59.
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