Minibus trip to Hartlepool October 22nd 2013
Reports of a Pallid Swift and Western Bonelli’s Warbler made the minibus trip to Hartlepool a hopeful prospect. We arrived with rain abating and a fresh SE wind. We all looked skyward but no Pallid Swift. It had been seen earlier that morning so surely it would return! Having conducted a thorough search we turned our attention to the sea. The first challenge was differentiating between two divers, one Red Throated and one Black Throated. On a receding tide, coastal waders were playing hard to get, two Purple Sandpipers, a couple of Turnstones, Redshanks and Oystercatchers and a single Bar Tailed Godwit flew over. Among the Black Headed Gulls was one Mediterranean Gull. Sea ducks were scarce, apart from Scoter and a male and female Eider on rocks. Still no Pallid Swift so we moved on, which is precisely when the swift made a re-appearance back at the Headland
U turn accomplished, Colin drove back and some of the sharper eyed of us spotted it at distance over the bay. It was to finally return to roost on the church while we were well on our way home.
We called in at Newburn Bridge and got a much closer view of a Mediterranean Gull on the beach and a single Ringed Plover. Our next stop was North Gare and then the Zinc Road. The grass was quite long but careful searching revealed good numbers of Curlew, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and several Ruff and on the river we saw Red Breasted Merganser and Red Throated Diver.
In the area around Greatham Creek were Shoveler, Dunlin, Little Egret and a visit to Dorman’s Pool gave us Pintail and Marsh Harrier, with Kingfisher in one of the creeks.
72 species seen and all worked quite hard for, but no one said it was going to be easy!
Thanks to June for leading and Colin for driving, making a most enjoyable trip.