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Hartepool, Salthome & Redcar Beach.

If you would like to see all the birds above then head to Hartlepool Headland. Parking near the Hartlepool Gun Battery which is a military museum head down towards the sea, 30 metres at the most then turn right in a South Easterly direction. This is a lovely prom and keep walking towards the old lighthouse and I guarantee you will see all the species above.

The hardest to see is the very well camouflaged Purple Sandpiper who hang out with gangs of Turnstone on the rocky foreshore as they forage for food. This really is a great place to see birds, as you walk you often have good numbers of seabirds flying in and out or just flying past. Then within a 100 metres you have a breakwater often with Cormorant and the occasional European Shag
Gulosus aristotelis and a tiny bit of beach sometimes with Sanderling and Purple Sandpiper. Keep walking through the children's play area and you come to a larger expanse of sandy outcrop that can hold anything so don't ignore.

Keep an eye on the "sheltered" sea here for Eider, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter and anything else from Grebe to Divers.

Purple Sandpiper

The Purple Sandpiper (above)have the most northerly wintering range of any other wader. This small pot bellied bird is a very hardy bird, they can and do breed in the lowlands of Arctic Canada. You can often observe them constantly probing soft ground, lichen and sandy sores for food, they never seem to stop moving. They are often miss identified as Turnstones or Turnstone young. We are quite lucky in that we have some very reliable sites to see them like Hartlepool, Scarborough and the harbour walls in Bridlington.

Gulls, these are some of the most difficult birds to identify. This probable second year, probably a Herring Gull, Why am I not certain? Well, as I said above Gull especially young gulls are impossible. I'm drawn to these magnificent survivors, they just adapt to every situation. However, gulls are endangered! Never think there's millions of them, they really are struggling.

The Phil Stead hide at Saltholm really is a great hide, often full of very friendly people from Teesmouth Bird Club @teesbirds1 on "X" Club membership is £16 for the year and along with York Ornithalogical Club represents the very best in birding @yorkbirding.

From here I got immediate views of Great White, Cattle Egret (hiding in the reeds) and little Egret which was fabulous. Some pretty poor images below.

Stacks Image 8009


Birding Flamborough

We were lucky enough to be staying in Flamborough over the bank holiday weekend at the end of April. This in turn meant that when all the crowds had gone we had the cliff-tops to ourselves. I’m not being selfish, Flamborough's North landing can get pretty crowded.

The film below was all shot later in the day when activity amongst the colony is high with most of the birds either feeding or collecting nest material. There is something about North Landing, especially the very quiet area behind the cafe. This, for me is the most stunning part of this area and very few people go there.


Purple Sandpiper
Now for me this really is a very special bird. For many years I have been aware of a small flock of this very hardy bird. Often they hang around with the much bigger and equally robust turnstones. And Turnstones do just that! They turn stones over looking for food, small crustaceans.

The film below was taken early evening in the lower part of Bridlington old harbour. It shows the Turnstones in the foreground and the smaller Purple Sandpipers in the background. Also below is the sound recording of individual Purple Sandpipers.

The Turnstones are the larger more mottled birds and the Purple Sandpipers are smaller with a grey head. The name comes from the fact they are from the species Sandpiper but also they have a Purple colouring as adult birds in good light.

Sound of Purple Sandpiper

Above: Some of the many thousands of Gannets returning in the evening.
Above: Northern Fulmar.
Above: Kittiwake collecting mud and grass as nesting material.
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