Saturday 10th January. Saltholme Pools, Cleveland, 10:50 - 11:40.
Unfortunately, an unforseen technical problem means I have no photies for today. Not a problem with the camera, just the eejit using it (me!), who accidentally deleted all the pics from the camera! Where's Homer gone? Ah, here he is...........
A shame, but just seeing the Glaucous-Winged Gull more than made up for that disappointment. I'd rather pull a daft stunt like that now than in India in a few weeks time. Just out of interest, I wonder how many professional rare bird photographers (or Snowy Owl flushers) have ever done that? (What? I can get away with that, can't I? I thought flushing was the norm for Snowy Owl fieldcraft these days?)
Anyway, back to the gull. Quite a gentle looking thing really. The rounded head and dark eye reminded me of Common Gull a bit. Nothing like a Glaucous Gull at all, which is a real hard-nut of a gull. The Vinnie Jones of gulls in fact.
Loads of photos are on the net now, including Surfbirds. Just how I saw it, stood on the ice with the other gulls.
Before heading off to my sister's house, I thought I'd fit a couple of other places in. Seal Sands was rather quiet with a pair of Red-Breasted Mergansers and 4 Black-Tailed Godwits, amongst more usual winter estuarine waders, being the highlights.
A look round Hartlepool Headland produced 17 Purple Sandpipers (I had some decent photos of them as well, sigh, never mind), 2 female Common Scoter, 13 Eider and a Rock Pipit.
Sunday 11th January, Saltholme Pools, Dormans Pool, Reclamation Pond, 10:45 - 12:00.
I know what you're thinking, "he didn't really go". Well, if you were in any doubt that I wasn't there:
Saltholme pools with the backdrop of the old Billingham ICI works. Much milder today and all the ice had melted. No sign of the Glaucous-Winged Gull either, which wasn't an entire surprise. There are three landfill sites nearby and like at Stubbers Green, they don't work on a Sunday. Apparently the last sign of it was about half an hour after I left yesterday, so actually I feel really lucky to have seen it.
There was a Peregrine knocking about however. Not the best photo I've ever taken, but you can just about make it out.
No sign of any large gulls on Dormans Pool. Or on the Reclamation Pond pictured below, with the backdrop of the Seal Sands oil refinery.