Eastern Delight on the East Coast. 30/10/2016

Posted: November 1, 2016 in Bird Watching, Twitching
Tags: , , , ,

After debating where to go at the weekend our minds were suddenly made up for us when a Pied Wheatear was re-identified late on Saturday evening. It was thought that it was originally a Desert or Black Eared type of Wheatear. An early start from Rochdale was required as I was meeting up with the York crew at 7-30am. Mark K, Nigel S and Paz with Mark driving. News of the Pied Wheatear being still present at Redcar came through on our way there. I have never been to Redcar before and it was a bit of a surprise to realise that it was a seaside resort, mind you the steel works put me off a bit! The Pied Wheatear showed really well and apart from the dismal light conditions lots of pictures were taken by the assembled throng of birders. Lots of familiar faces were again seen during this really memorable autumn period for migrant birds, what will turn up next?
An Eastern Black Redstart has been around a few days at Skinningrove also in Cleveland (Yorkshire, really) so we headed up to another place I have never been to before. Again a big iron / steel works and a sharp drop into a beautiful coastline with lots of potential for migrant birds. We admired the various sculptures around the car park and all headed off to see the redstart. The bird was busy feeding in and around the coastal defence boulders / rocks but with patience showed really well at times. What a little cracker this bird was, much brighter than the Holy Island bird of a few years ago. A Twite was seen by Paz and duly pointed out to us, well done Paz! Time for sandwiches and a coffee break as we returned to the car.
News again came through that the Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike was showing really well in South Shields, Tyne & Wear at a place called the Leas, famous for once having a Lesser Kestrel there and the place where the Great North Run ends (for the more energetic amongst us) We had to go, blue skies and very mild weather made the journey up quite enjoyable. On arrival we could see a few birders watching the shrike and after a 200 yard stumble we reached the bird. It showed really well down to 10 yards at times but was quite active catching insects etc. We all managed lots of pictures of the bird and all enjoyed the bird. A very late Whinchat was also in the area then, Mark told us of a roosting Little Owl sat in a gully on a rock in the sea. It was the first time for all of us to watch a Little Owl with the sea in the background! A trip to pay homage to Trow Quarry, famous for the Eastern Crowned Warbler twitch a few years ago, made up our birding for the day. We then spent a few minutes feeding the local gulls with Nigel S hoping for a rare gull to drop in.
What a day out, we managed to see all three “headline” birds without having to wait very long. Mark got us back to York very smartly and I got back to Rochdale without too much bother on the M62 around 6-30pm. Thanks lads for a great day out.
Dave O.

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