Having been lucky enough to have seen a Yellow Rumped or Myrtle Warbler on Scilly in the early 80’s, the appearance of one near Durham didn’t get me “twitching” the same as all my birding mates! Bob K dashed up last week and connected and the York lads did the same,well done to you all. The other 3 members of the team all waited patiently until Sunday and we all headed of with a 6-30am start with myself at the wheel. The weather looked promising as we headed up the A1 and as we got to High Shincliffe,County Durham, the sun was coming out. A short walk around the estate, after parking in the prescribed area, followed by joining a crowd of around 50 birders looking at some bird feeders and coconuts filled with bird food. After a couple of minutes the Myrtle Warbler showed and began feeding albeit a little well hidden! Everyone except Steve B had a view of the bird, he kept saying, “Which coconut ?” The bird was very active and as we watched it , it left the deeper cover and sat in the branches and showed very well and Steve B got some pictures of it. After an hour or so we decided to head for the coast and try for the various waders and seabirds at Hartlepool Headland. It was a really nice morning as we found the Purple Sandpipers feeding on the rocks along with Eider,Fulmar,Razorbill,Guillemot and a solitary Gannet. Lots of Herring Gulls were following a couple of small fishing boats towards the dock area, but nothing unusual was found. A trip to Seal Sands near Middlesborough is always memorable and  today was to prove no exception.Steve K decided to have a recharging session (sleep) So Chris & Steve B and myself walked the river towards the power station, along the way we were told of a female Velvet Scoter, Whimbrel,Long Tailed Duck and a Brent Goose being present. After a nice walk we managed to see the target birds and also picking up a few missing waders for our year list’s. We met a man from Guisborough who entertained us with a few twitching tales, good entertainment. A call at Saltholme Pools revealed a lot of people so we moved on, after seeing another 2 Long Tailed Ducks, well found Chris B. A trip to Hay a Park,Knaresborough reminded me and Steve B of a fruitless journey to miss a couple of Red Rumped Swallows a number of years ago, the Iceland Gull we came to see also suffered the same fate! What a way to end a rather good day than to visit the Harewood House area to watch the Red Kites. We saw about 10 of these beautiful raptors and a couple of them seemed to be pair bonding,it will soon be springtime! We headed for home and with 3 of the boys having a new bird it made it all the more memorable. We all saw around 18 new species for our year lists.

Dave O.

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