Teesside Trip 11th Sept

Seven members attended the September field meeting of the YOC and headed to Teesside as planned. First port of call was Coatham Marsh, Redcar, where we noted some evidence of migration with good numbers of Swallows and Meadow Pipits moving about and a bright Willow Warbler. There was an interesting gathering of Magpies there, perhaps a dozen birds together with several others round and about. We then headed on the road by the old steel works to South Gare, stopping at a pool to look for waders and then to look on the sands on the river side where we had some Bar-tailed Godwit and a few other waders. From the end of the Gare we were treated to large numbers of Arctic and Common Terns feeding in the mouth of the Tees and further out to sea. At least four Arctic Skuas actively harassed them, including one pale phase bird, a real highlight. Closer in, an Eider was foraging and one juvenile Common Tern gave close enough views to read its Darvic ring; it turns out that this bird was locally bred as it was ringed at Saltholme in August.

Saltholme was the next location we visited, a good selection of birds were seen over lunch from the main hide: Little Ringed Plover, a wonderful Spotted Redshank, some Black-tailed Godwits, Snipe, Marsh Harrier and some early returning Wigeon. Also on the reserve were a couple of Whinchat and an active Black-necked Grebe. Next was Greatham Creek where the wind didn’t help our scanning of the pools but more Ringed Plover and Dunlin were briefly joined by a Little Stint and at least three Grey Plover still in breeding plumage were on Seal Sands. Up to 70 Common Seals were lounging on the mud. The last species of the day was a Stonechat at North Gare.

It was an enjoyable day’s birding with around 70 species recorded, a decent total given the wind being south westerly and the weather sunny.

Rob Chapman