Leave your stepping stones behind, there something a-calls for you
Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you
You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
And it's all over now, Baby Blue
December 19th went to see a lapland bunting near Newburn Bridge. Tricky to photograph because of the traffic but seen nicely. Red-breasted mergansers displaying at Hartlepool Marina. Synchronised swimming! Further round the area it was bath time.
Oystercatcher Redshanks do it more thoroughly!
No sign of 4 reported water pipits at Dorman's Pool. Just moorhens, a single redshank and 8 blackwits.
Later spent a couple of hours at Hurworth Burn reservoir but saw no sign of the [escaped?] gyr falcon.
December 24th saw a desert wheatear very distantly at Abbey Farm close by Whitby Abbey. There was a howling gale and it was very much a case of spot the dot in the bins, then point the camera at about the right place [using the black bath as a guide], and hope. Most were useless [bird not visible] or blurred. But, it was a very long way away. Taken with a 740mm lens, including the extender, and then much cropped, here are my 2 just about usable images...
Christmas then put paid to any birding for a few days. After a string of domestic disasters [dead dishwasher, cupboard lights in kitchen failure, gas leak in greenhouse, shower partly broken]...Sheila encouraged me to get out birding as my reward for getting the problems solved or at least solutions in hand - so I went back to Whitby on the 28th December.
It was cold, sunny, blue skies and the desert wheatear was waiting for me on the farm track only yards from the Abbey car park. There's been a few of what I call classic bird encounters this year. This, as you will see, was one of them. Up there with the best and what a finale to 2017!