Trip reports

Saltholme RSPB & Hartlepool Headland

Saturday, 22 October 2016

As usual the 8 of us arrived at Saltholme before the reserve officially opens for the day so we headed to nearby Greetham Creek. Here one of the first birds of the day was an unexpected Avocet, feeding on the pool near the viewing screen with Little Egret, Curlew and Black Tailed Godwit. On the tidal creek itself were a number of Redshank, a few Dunlin, and a several more Godwit, while on the grassy margins were plenty of Lawing with quite a number of Golden Plover mixed in with them. Wigeon and Teal were the only wildfowl present here. About a dozen seals, a mix of Common and Grey, were showing well.

At Saltholme reserve itself the feeders near reception provided views of Tree Sparrow and Stock Dove, along with the more common Goldfinch, Greenfinch, and Starling, with the nearest water holding only Moorhen, Coot, and Mallard.
The mission then, was to get to the pools on the far side of the reserve where we were treated to views of singles of both Black Necked Grebe and Red Necked Grebe.
These pools also provided Little Grebe along with the expected ducks, Tufted, Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, and Mallard, with large numbers of Greylag and Canada geese being joined with a small number of Barnacle Geese. Black Headed Gull were the most numerous of the gull species though there were good numbers of Herring gull and Great Black Backed gull. Other than a few flocks of Greylag geese the only flyovers were Skylark and a Kestrel.

Lunch was had in the reserve café before we headed up the coast to our usual stop at Seaton Carew. Unfortunately the tide wasn't favourable and a few dog-walkers meant that there weren't many roosting waders and we only added Oystercatcher, Turnstone and Sanderling to our day list.

Our trip then took us to Hartlepool Headland where a bit of sea watching gave us views of Red Throated Diver, Guillemot, Razorbill, Cormorant, and Gannet (though most were at some distance).
In the calmer water behind the breakwater were Eider and Common Scoter sheltered. At the far end of the breakwater was a single Purple Sandpiper, and Turnstone, Curlew, Redshank and Ringed Plover were on the beach. A couple of Rock Pipits were on the Inner Harbour wall with a couple of Great Crested Grebe on the water nearby.

To finish the day off, some of us had a Red Kite fly over the car as we drove down the A1 near Harrogate on the way home.