Off to Teesdale and Durham moors for some grouse - I hoped. Barely out of Middleton-in-Teesdale and well before High Force I pulled up sharp when I saw a black shape - no, 2 black shapes in a nice green field near the river. I pressed on. I usually take the little road to Ettersgill to see what's there. I once had a nice encounter with grey partridge there. No partridge today, but more black grouse plus greyhens.
Scanning the area around Langdon Beck the black grouse were rather distant. I drove down to Cow Green reservoir. On much higher ground I soon saw some red grouse. Black and red prefer quite different areas with black grouse being often much more lower level birds, sometimes quite near farm buildings or at the roadside.
Once back at the main road I found 2 more black grouse in a field not too far from the road. One of those special encounters that make bird photography so exciting for me.
Cheers, mate! Thanks for showing so well!
From there I drove via Bishop Auckland to Hartlepool, hoping to see an iceland gull on an abandoned warehouse roof. Rather distant and sleepy, here it is. Plan completed I decided to call at the Headland and see what was about. Not a lot but a few nice eider views from the Pilot Pier...
...and a splendid looking oystercatcher. I don't usually find oyk-pics very pleasing, but I rather like this one. A stunner!
Another day, another warehouse roof and, indeed, another bird.
And then another encounter with the iceland gull.
It was a day on Teesside with Barry. We got away early and headed for the pleasant sounding Windermere Road, Hartlepool. It's not pleasant! We spent a long time scanning the dereliction that surrounded us. Eventually Barry saw the iceland gull on a roof. Before I could set up the camera it flew off.
Meanwhile another birder pointed out a glaucous way over on the wasteland. Eventually this dark form glaucous showed well on a different warehouse roof.
I found the iceland some way off on yet another warehouse. Tricky to photograph through the bars of a gateway but it's very easy to see. I'll crop in a little [different photo]
Next Barry saw it on yet another warehouse roof. Game over! We called at Ward Jackson Park for parakeets then moved to the Headland. I hoped for knot. I got knot! [Plus a purple sandpiper!]
The salterns drew a blank for spotted redshank [although someone saw it 35 minutes later] and no greenshanks on Greatham Creek. I suspect it was the same birder who then reported one after we'd left!
I snapped a shoveler. It was birds in flight that first attracted me to photographing the birds. This is a nice shot from Greatham Creek.
Lockwood Beck reservoir gave us redpoll and a treecreeper. Scaling Dam had no sign of any white-fronted geese. They dropped in after we left!! An excellent day's birding even though we dipped a couple of good birds. That, as they say, is birding. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
January 30th Song thrush singing away this morning in the garden.