Wednesday, 26 January 2011

OK, so I do like Gulls after all.....

A day was planned to go to Teesside since Sunday, I figured that apart from this Saturday I wouldn't be out birding much within the next week because I have some work to do which needs to be finished exactly 7 days from now. So only really good lifers will probably get me off my computer on Friday!

It was the Troublemakers day out with me, Adam, and Martin heading to Teesside to do some Gull'ing and see whatever else was around. We started off at Seaton Common checking through the throng of gulls, nothing was picked up for about 1 hour. At about 11am I said to Adam "Its usually reported by 11 here", or words to that effect. Then the birds on the tip took off for a reshuffle, closest bird to us, lifted my bins  "Glaucous" were my words. It circled around and I kept my bins on it hoping it would land so that I could get a better view of it and point Adam to where it was amongst the thousands of gulls. It very conviently landed infront of a large cylinder shaped object and Adam got onto it, shortly after so did Martin. Had cracking views of the bird at close quarters on the tip and then it took off and we lost it, for the next 30 minutes we were picking it up regularly and it would then disappear behind the machinery and we would find it again a few minutes later. This happened for a while and then at about 11:30 a single gull was gliding away towards us and was going to come over the fence, one look and I knew it was the Glaucous "Here it comes" were my words, and Adam and Martin got onto it straight away and it flew past at really close quarters giving us a change to take in this stunning gull! It then headed out over toward Seaton Common itself and we followed it in the bins, I was amused when it flew over the gulls and the size of it clearly panicked them and they flushed up only to then land again realising it was just a gull! It landed in a stream and started bathing, it then hoped out onto the grass to semi-roost preening and such like. That is when I managed these videos:

It was a monster of a Glaucous and my first for 2 years! I was a happy man.

Our next port of call was Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park (WP) as Adam had never seen a Ring-necked Duck before. Adam managed to pick it out straight away and the bird showed fairly well though it kept its distance. No sign of the Bramblings I had the other day at the feeding station. After here we headed to Seal Sands/Greatham Creek where views of 2 very distant Black-necked Grebes were obtained. Also waders included Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, and such like. I managed this video of  one of the Black-tailed Godwits:

However the undeniable star of the show was yet to come, whilst watching the waders they all flushed which I thought was strange. I then saw a bird heading right away from the rest of the waders, it then flew and landed on the rocks that run along Seal Sands. It was a bird of prey, and it dawned on me it must have been a Merlin! I quickly got my scope onto the rocks and I managed to locate it after a few seconds of panic, the bird sat for about 5-10 minutes looking around and doing its charismatic bobbing of the head:

Definitely the best views I have ever had of Merlin, superb!

A quick look at Saltholme RSPB provided Pintail which was also a year tick. A quick check of Crookfoot provided nothing really, a couple of Wigeon and Goldeneye. A superb day with 3 year ticks.

Until next time, Foghorn out!

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