The day started off with a crowd of birders parking by the side of the A178 and viewing Back Saltholme and after a short while our target appeared; Buff-breasted Sandpiper. The bird was distant but with Ruff so the size comparison was fairly easy to see even at range. A nice surprise was an Osprey that flew over the reserve heading south while we were looking for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, at the time it was only the second Osprey I had ever seen. Brilliant start!
(Buff-breasted Sandpiper - © Jamie Duffie)
Next stop was Dorman's Pool to look for the Red-backed Shrike that had been present for a couple of days. The bird was picked up fairly easy and it was brilliant to see my first ever Red-backed Shrike, it was a juvenile bird and my first ever species of Shrike.
(Red-backed Shrike - © Ian Forrest)
From here we headed into Saltholme RSPB itself, we walked to the Allotment Pool and after a wait of about an hour or so our third target appeared; Blue-winged Teal. The bird was mainly asleep and didn't do much but the white crescent on its face was easy to pick out and I was very pleased to see this rare duck from the United States.
(Spot the Blue-winged Teal - © Andrew Kinghorn)
The same bird has returned again every year since! See Ian Forrest's picture of the same bird taken this year:
(Blue-winged Teal - © Ian Forrest)
We then decided to do some general birding and went to Hartlepool Headland and it was the time of year just as the Purple Sandpipers were retuning to Durham's shores. As this was the first year I had transport the Purple Sandpipers I saw were my first ever!
What a day with 4 lifers and all in my home county of Durham. Memories!
Until next time, Foghorn out!