Surprise as House Martin sighted before the end of March

Darlington and Stockton Times: Snow Bunting

3:58pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014

MARCH saw the appearance of the first summer migrants with an Osprey over Nosterfield on the 8th taking the prize for the earliest arrival.

Milder weather fails to bring the birds home to roost

1:05pm Friday 13th December 2013

NOVEMBER, with its mild weather, was rather a disappointment from a birdwatching point of view.

A sanctuary in the shadow of industry

Darlington and Stockton Times: DINING OUT: Greenfinches get stuck into a feeder at Saltholme nature reserve on Teesside

12:58pm Friday 12th April 2013

RECENTLY my wife and I paid a return visit to the RSPB nature reserve at Saltholme on Teesside. It now seems to be described as more of a wildlife reserve and discovery park than a bird sanctuary, but it is an astonishing place.

Some hardy visitors, but cold comfort for summer migrants

12:56pm Friday 12th April 2013

NO-ONE will be surprised that March, with its bitter cold, was not a good month for summer migrants. Nevertheless, a couple of hardy birds braved the conditions.

Quiet month but birds of prey livened things up

Darlington and Stockton Times: PREY-ING FOR A BITE: a hen harrier was seen at Nosterfield reserve

11:33am Friday 8th March 2013

IT has been rather a quiet winter for local birdwatchers and February was no exception. Waxwings were still around in decent numbers though.

Wading in with memories of the year’s geese and gulls

Darlington and Stockton Times: SEASONAL: A waxwing, flocks of which enlivened winter watching

11:57am Friday 11th January 2013

THIS is a chance to look back on what has been an interesting, if not classic, 12 months for birdwatchers. The year kicked off with large numbers of geese still present from 2011. Snape Mires and the Nosterfield area were particularly attractive and attracted flocks of over 100 Whitefronted Geese and more than 70 Bean Geese.

Rather a gull month in birthwatching calendar

Darlington and Stockton Times: The ring-billed gull at Scorton pictured by Richard Stephenson

8:00am Friday 18th May 2012

There was little doubt about April’s bird of the month, a ring-billed gull which dropped in briefly at Scorton Quarry. This rare American bird looks rather like a small herring gull but with a prominent dark band across its beak. This species had never been seen in Britain before the 1970s but there then followed a sharp rise in sightings. However, it has become rather scarcer again in recent years and it remains a genuinely rare bird in Yorkshire.

The month of the egret - and a little blue mystery

Darlington and Stockton Times: MYSTERY: The Little Blue Heron, pictured by Brian Morland at Bellflask - or is it a Little Egret?

4:41pm Friday 19th August 2011

LAST month will be remembered as the month of the egret.

Don’t be bitten by a bittern if you venture too close

Darlington and Stockton Times: ‘THREAT MODE’: one of Brian Morland’s dramatic pictures of the bittern at Bellflask

4:09pm Friday 11th February 2011

WAXWINGS continued to delight local birdwatchers through January, and up to half-a-dozen birds were seen at many places, including three that took up temporary residence outside the booking office of Northallerton station.

Fascinating year ends with an Asian mystery

1:00pm Friday 7th January 2011

THIS is another chance to look back on what has been a really interesting 12 months for local birdwatchers. The year kicked off as it ended with heavy snowfall and very low temperatures.

Waxwing and bittern

Darlington and Stockton Times: Waxwing: arriving in great numbers

12:03pm Friday 17th December 2010

NOVEMBER saw the first local appearance of a bird that is likely to dominate this winter, the waxwing.

Summer migrants overlap with winter visitors

1:48pm Friday 8th October 2010

THERE has been a trend in recent years for summer migrants to linger in the UK later than previously. This September was no exception with birds like Swallows and House martins still present in high numbers throughout the month and even Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs still in song at the month end.

Wading birds in the spotlight

12:16pm Friday 10th September 2010

A GOOD passage of wading birds was the highlight of August.

White-tailed eagle just one of the highlights

10:41am Friday 14th May 2010

APRIL proved to be an excellent month for both weather and birdwatchers.

Sand martins take the ‘early bird’ honours

Darlington and Stockton Times: Bittern: has a new home at Nosterfield

11:42am Friday 9th April 2010

ONE of the highlights of March birdwatching is to try to locate the first summer migrants returning from their wintering grounds.

Birds flock to gardens in numbers as severe January weather bites

Darlington and Stockton Times: IN FLIGHT: sightings of geese in the region have increased as the weather has improved

12:53pm Friday 12th February 2010

JANUARY was, not surprisingly, dominated by the weather. The extensive snow and low temperatures led to a mass emigration by the larger birds and high levels of mortality, particularly among farmland species.

A fascinating year, from avocet to waxwings

11:50am Friday 15th January 2010

THIS is a chance to look back on what has been a fascinating 12 months for local birdwatchers.

A new addition to the area’s list of bird exotica

11:56am Friday 11th December 2009

THE best sighting in November was a Cetti’s Warbler found in the reedbed area at Lingham, Nosterfield. This is the first local record of this notoriously skulking warbler. A rather non-descript bird, its presence is usually given away by it’s incredibly loud, almost explosive, call.

Little warbler is big news

2:06pm Friday 13th November 2009

OCTOBER’S highlight was the discovery of three bearded tits at the private nature reserve of Belflask, near West Tanfield. These striking birds have never been recorded in this area before and, though only present for a couple of days, were a fine addition to the local list.

Role reversal as phalarope flies in

12:02pm Friday 16th October 2009

A SUPERB red-necked phalarope was the highlight of a rather quiet September.

Our American friends fly in

1:22pm Friday 14th August 2009

THE early signs of wader migration provided most of the interest for birdwatchers in July. As usual, Nosterfield was the main focus with an excellent 20 species of wader seen here. This included yet another pectoral sandpiper.

A bumper month for birds of prey

11:18am Friday 19th June 2009

MAY is one of the best months in the birdwatchers’ calendar and 2009 was no exception, with an excellent range of local sightings.

Gargeny provide highlight

6:20am Friday 10th April 2009

MARCH was a rather quiet month for local birdwatchers, although there were one or two highlights.

The remarkable resurgence of the Buzzard – now a regular sight

12:14pm Friday 13th March 2009

HIGHLIGHTS for February were two long-staying birds in the Nosterfield area.

Handsome heron is pick of the month

3:14pm Friday 6th February 2009

JANUARY was not a particularly exhilarating month for local birdwatchers but nevertheless there were one or two sightings to get 2009 off to a reasonable start.

Word goes out about a star attraction in Cleveland

11:57am Friday 12th December 2008

SOME readers may recall in my July column I suggested local birdwatchers keep an eye out for the very rare two-barred crossbill after a notable influx of the species to the northern isles.

Canvasback causes dip in twitcher spirit

1:28pm Friday 7th November 2008

OCTOBER’S highlight was undoubtedly the drake Canvasback which was found on Lingham Lakes, Nosterfield.

The second coming of Honey Buzzard

12:14pm Friday 10th October 2008

HONEY Buzzard was undoubtedly the species of the month in September with a massive arrival of birds on the English east coast. A similar influx occurred in 2000 and most birdwatchers assumed this was a once in a lifetime event so this second arrival was quite remarkable.

Black Kite sighting one of a number

1:26pm Friday 15th August 2008

BIRDS of prey provided much of the interest for local birdwatchers in July. Pick of the bunch was a probable Black Kite seen high over Mount Grace Priory.

Lesser Scaup and Night Heron were highlights

12:15pm Friday 6th June 2008

TWO significant rarities were the highlights of an excellent May for local birdwatchers.

White Stork was a genuine find

2:41pm Friday 9th May 2008

APRIL proved to be a distinctly cool and wet month and not surprisingly this impacted on the arrival of summer breeders.

A poor March but Spring is upon us

1:48pm Friday 7th March 2008

FEBRUARY was a rather quiet month for local birdwatchers with neither the high winds or the snow falls having an appreciable impact on the birds.

November 23rd, 2007

12:40pm Friday 23rd November 2007

OCTOBER'S most interesting sighting was a young gannet that dropped in at Nosterfield midmonth.

Interesting month, even without rarities

11:53am Friday 26th October 2007

SEPTEMBER was an interesting month for local birdwatchers, even if no outstanding rarities turned up.

Birdwatch - August

12:54pm Friday 14th September 2007

WADING birds were the highlight of August with the pick of the bunch undoubtedly the first local record of Wilson's phalarope. This rare American species was found on the racecourse pools at Catterick on the 18th and was briefly present the following morning (before being scared off by a peregrine falcon).

August 10th, 2007

1:08pm Friday 10th August 2007

JULY 2006 was a glorious month, but exceptionally quiet for birds. July 2007 was generally appalling and ... exceptionally quiet for birds.

June 8th, 2007

1:19pm Friday 8th June 2007

MAY proved a pretty good month for local birdwatchers. The highlight was a brief visit by a black kite, reported near Aldborough St John.

St George's Day brings report of first cuckoo

12:39pm Friday 25th May 2007

APRIL, if exceptional weather wise, proved to be fairly quiet for birds. Even the summer migrants which we might have expected to arrive early in the unseasonably warm conditions were about average for recent years.

A birding first in North Yorkshire

3:13pm Friday 9th February 2007

THE most outstanding sighting in February, although outside my normal reporting area, was a Pacific Diver at Farnham gravel pits, near Knaresborough. This was the first time this species has been seen anywhere in Europe, perhaps not surprising considering its normal winter range is in the seas off Japan and the west coast of America. However small numbers are occasionally seen on the Atlantic seaboard of the United States and this presumably was the source of this bird although why it should end up on a lake near Knaresborough must remain a mystery.

A good year for birds of prey and gulls

11:24am Friday 5th January 2007

This is a chance to look back over what has been an interesting 12 months for local birdwatchers. The first winter period will probably be remembered for sightings of birds of prey. Prominent among these was a huge raptor seen over Aiskew in February which can surely only have been the white-tailed eagle which had been reported at Gouthwaite reservoir the day before.

Birdwatch with Nick Morgan

1:06pm Friday 6th October 2006

THE most intriguing find during September was the white pelican which dropped in briefly at Nosterfield on the 9th.

Rare sighting of an avocet may signal change of habit

12:16pm Friday 18th August 2006

AS MIGHT be expected, the glorious summer weather of July was not conducive to the appearance of rare birds in the area.

Are parakeets now more at home here than cuckoos?

12:25pm Friday 16th June 2006

MAY proved an excellent month for local birdwatchers. Undoubtedly the most exciting find, which I mentioned briefly in last month's column, was a long-billed dowitcher at Lingham Lake, Nosterfield.

Rare sightings and new records for start of spring

5:00pm Friday 26th May 2006

APRIL and late March proved to be an outstanding period for local birdwatchers, with a number of excellent sightings.

'Flying barn door' is the highlight

5:00pm Friday 26th May 2006

THE most intriguing sighting during February was a massive bird of prey seen in flight over Aiskew, Bedale. It was described as like a "flying barn door" by the lucky observers.








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