Hartlepool and Teesmouth, 20th February 2018

Leader: June Atkinson

Our minibus driver, Keith, got us off to a good start, arriving at Hartlepool at 9.15 a.m. on a sunny morning with a receding tide that had been high at 6.30 a.m. Our first stop was along the seafront where the rocks were just beginning to be exposed and our target wader species, Purple Sandpiper, was quickly found. The usual Turnstones and Oystercatchers were in good numbers but a very good find was a single Knot. We next moved on to the Headland to sea watch as, in the past, this had always produced a good number of species but today it was extremely quiet and two flying Red-throated Divers with one on the sea, two Common Scoters and a Common Guillemot were all that were seen. As we walked past the breakwater, a Mediterranean Gull was sitting on the rocks and a party of Eider Ducks was on the sea, close to the entrance to the fish docks. Moving on to the Marina, which like the Headland is usually a good location, did not produce anything today. The report of a Black Redstart at the entrance to the docks was worth a try, but in vain, though a diligant member did find a Little Owl which gave a flying view to some of the group.

Our lunch stop at Newburn Bridge gave us the usual Mediterranean Gull, also a lone Sanderling on the beach. A Lapland Bunting, with a large flock of Linnets across the road from there, was worth investigating; as usual the flock was constantly on the move but some members did have a brief view of the bunting. A short stop at North Gare provided us with a Grey Plover, before we reached RSPB Saltholme Reserve where a strong northerly wind greeted us. Fourteen species of waterfowl were seen, highlights being Pintail, Red- breasted Merganser and Goldeneye. Hundreds of Wigeon were feeding in the fields with Curlews, Golden Plovers and a close Little Egret, while a hunting Marsh Harrier gave excellent views. A Stonechat was located and Tree Sparrow, Greenfinch and Reed Bunting were some of the species at the feeders.

Well done to the 18 members who worked hard to provide such a good list of 73, which equalled last year’s trip — a very enjoyable day.

June Atkinson.

See the bird list

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