Sometimes the bottle points to the Scillies or to Devon and Cornwall; at others it's Norfolk's turn for the rarity bonanza. Just recently the bottle came to rest pointing to the North-east. So, 3 days in October - here we go!
28th October: I set off early as is my wont and by 7.15a.m. I was sitting on a lump of concrete overlooking the north side of Skinningrove jetty. The light was still poor: the sun had not yet risen above its North Sea horizon. The eastern black redstart showed immediately as did ferocious robins and a few rock pipits. In the semi-darkness..
The light slowly improved. The bird continued to show well although it did occasionally disappear down among the rock armour.
Sometimes it went down onto the beach...
...or lapsed into concentration mode. Lovely bird!
Before heading home I called at Saltholme for bird seed. In Phil Stead hide I saw some of the usual suspects... blackwits...and teal...
...a few goldfinch came down to drink.
On the off-chance of something of interest I called at Greatham Creek thinking a few seal close-ups might be nice. I was surprised by more action than expected.
North Gare road was quiet. A few curlew kept an eye on me...
...and at Newburn Bridge I soon spotted the med. gull in his normal spot!
October 29th and a daurian shrike was reported at South Shields along The Leas. At first things looked a little quiet although I could see one or two birders near the big mound. As I approached and crested a rise in the ground I realised this was quite a twitch! The must have been 40 or so scopes and big lenses sitting on their tripods. Of the bird there was at first no sign but eventually we all had brilliant views.
This first, distant view sets the scene nicely.
30th October: back to Redcar for a pied wheatear - only my second, having seen my first at Reighton Sands amongst some caravans in November 2008. The Redcar bird was a much more handsomely marked bird - a real cinema star! [It was hanging around the cinema on the beach in Redcar] It's been a great October and the North of England just keeps on delivering the goodies!