A break from the routine – Saltholme and the moors

10 Mar

For a change this morning I headed back to my native Teesside for a trip to Saltholme and a change of scenery.

It was disappointingly quiet on the bird front, given that some interesting birds like Glossy Ibis have been around recently, but there were a few year ticks to provide a bit of variety.

I got down to the area an hour before the RSPB reserve was open so opted for a walk along Greatham Creek to see if the recently arrived avocets were around. No sign on the saline lagoon but a single little egret was skulking around the edges. Walking along the creek and the tide was receding revealing plenty of mud but not a lot of activity other than a couple of redshank and a purple sandpiper. On the next pool along there was a bit more activity – a dozen more redshank were rooting around accompanied by three black-tailed godwit, making a change from the bar-tails that are more prevalent closer to home. A handful of shelduck stood around half-dozing on the mud but keeping a wary eye on what was going on.

On to the RSPB reserve and a quick walk around the various hides came up with… not much! The wildlife watchpoint just held a handful of coot, moorhen, mallard and tufties with goldfinch and greenfinch at the feeding station. Black-headed gulls are starting to make themselves at home on the shingle islands that will also hold tern colonies in a few weeks, and plenty of greylags and canada geese (including a leucistic canada goose looking huge compared to her mate – a prime example of how white birds seem larger than dark ones) are sharing the grasslands with curlews that will be heading for the moors soon. A lone great crested grebe drifted about the lake asleep and refusing to acknowledge the sunshine and the visitors peering through their binos and scopes

And on that note I decided it was time for me to head to the moors – I upped sticks and headed off to see my parents near Danby on the North York Moors. I was half hoping to have the chance to get shots of the hares boxing but I was out of luck, and after a light lunch I headed to Danby beacon where red grouse were in plentiful supply and particularly unfussed by human presence, sitting happily by the side of the road as I drove past. A few curlew and lapwing were around but nothing to what there will be in a month or so.

So…not a huge number of birds, but a pleasant enough day and nice for a change of scenery.

I’ll be back up at druridge bay tomorrow!




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