September 2nd: North Cave
Red-necked phalarope reported at North Cave along with a curlew sandpiper and spotted redshanks.
Phalarope and curlew sandpiper
Common sandpiper and migrant hawker dragonfly
September 4th: Hunmanby Gap
You guessed: it's the booby prize!
Brown booby reported at Hunmanby Gap. Since then it has been seen by many, notably at South Gare. Here it is from the clifftop at Hunmanby Gap car park. Can you spot it in the uncropped third picture?
September 10th: Colton Bridge
Having learnt that the Flying Scotsman would be leaving York at 10am I was in position on the bridge to see her charge by.
In my last report I sort of promised a stock dove photo then forgot to include one. So here it is - from Blacktoft on 6th August.
Ok. Next outing was to Spurn...
August 20th: the canal gave me my first good bird of the day: a juvenile red-backed shrike
One of several wheatear seen at Sammy's and at Kilnsea Wetland.
Whinchat distant on fence in horse field at Sammy's Point.
Swallow just outside the hide at Canal Scrape.
Wheatear at Kilnsea Wetlands
August 21st: trip north of Newcastle to see the red-necked grebe at Widdrington Moor reservoir. Difficult to locate as vegetation has grown up a lot since my last visit but help from a regular local birder found it eventually. Also a greenish warbler seen elusively by many birders at Cresswell Pond in the hedges approaching the hide.
August 23rd: a trip to Tophill Low to see the blue-winged teals [there were 2 birds] on South Marsh East. Yellow wagtail seen from another hide on the walk back.
Also photographed on my walk back: small tortoiseshell and red admiral on buddleia.
Later I drove over to Flamborough and visited Thornwick Pools. A sparrowhawk was on the lookout for a meal. It kept flying round the pool and diving into the reeds. Nothing caught but the two dunlin soon left.
To my surprise just when I thought the dunlin were flying back it turned out that the two birds that then dropped in were wood sandpipers.
A heron caught a fish...
...and I almost trod on a baby toad.
August 30th: A trip up to Redcar to see the caspian gulls off Marske roundabout but they were definitely not there! I spotted a pair of waders in the surf so I decided to try to get a little closer.
Common terns were present too.
Finally I turned to head back to the promenade. In my way were some ringed plover. Quite tame and unruffled...
A dark juvenile gull flew past me.
''I'll start with a visit to Blacktoft Sands...
July 29th: a reported curlew sandpiper was a long way off from Marshland hide and, to add insult to injury, the bird was keen to show me a reverse view when I eventually worked out where it was! [Centre of image, left of godwit]
Black-tailed godwit and marsh harriers.
August 6th: Blacktoft Sands again:
Green sandpipers, spotted redshanks, stock dove and other bits and pieces
August 7th Nosterfield Quarry site 1:
Lapwings, gulls a few other birds but no osprey. I'll try again soon!
August 9th: Nosterfield Quarry site 2
Osprey - not as close as I would like but still... Well pleased.
House martin - rear view - they're all the rage!
August 12th: In our garden
Maybe it knew the date and thought keeping a low profile in a private garden was an excellent idea... A grey partridge was wandering round the garden. Fairly near the house it was spotted by Sheila who called me certain, as she rightly was, that she'd never seen one in the garden before.
All this came after another encounter earlier in the day when she spotted a female sparrowhawk perched on the greenhouse roof. I was just coming out through the garage side door and had a brilliant view. Sparrowhawks are quite often seen - usually zipping low over the garden; not often perched in full view like today.
Never noticed before - skua is auks backwards! How silly! Well after seeing distant arctic skuas at the Snook from South Gare [where they were like midges even through my binoculars] I resolved to do the walk to the very far end of Seaton Snook where the last bits of clinker reach the Tees and try my luck. Now the R7 camera is hopeless for birds in flight [in my opinion] but great for stationary birds but I thought I'd try. I took lots of blurred cormorant photos, lots of blurred skua photos too but in among them were some nice shots. The thing about the R7 is that when it locks on it focuses like nothing I've ever handled before. All my skua photos were taken from much further way than you might think. 500mm zoom lens.
On the walk I was accompanied for the first rocky section after leaving the dunes by a group of linnets. Here's one.
On my left was a large expanse of samphire.
Just think what it's worth...Waitrose charge £2.15 for a 90g punnet!
Common sea lavender or sea statice was growing on the clinker. Limonium vulgare - used by dried flower arrangers.
Eventually the arctic skuas began to appear. You don't appreciate their flying abilities until you see some of the photos that capture their dazzling acrobatics.
Once you have pressed the play arrow try pressing the enlarge symbol bottom right if it shows on your screen view.
The title of this blog refers to the relatively short distance travelled to see birds at Saltholme, Greenabella Marsh and Hartlepool Headland.
I was hoping to see a pectoral sandpiper so I was pleased on my walk to the hide to be told by Caroline Farry that it was still there. Unfortunately it stayed resolutely over on the very far bank - unlike the common sandpipers that dropped in just in front of me!
The bird is on the far right. Redshank and godwit also visible.
Pec is now against the dark mud background but shows quite well.
The 2 common sandpipers were putting on a show for me!
Same day on Hartlepool Headland I snapped some kittiwakes and an eider duck.
The next photo was an experiment in depth of field control. I think it worked pretty well! 16 kittiwakes at F16 for one thousandth of a second.
First pool from the road. And there it was. Noticeably bulkier than the tufted duck nearby.
More images from where I was sitting comfortably on the dry clinker. Carline thistle; small skipper and a rather poor [common spotted?] orchid; small heath butterfly and a goatsbeard seedhead.