Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January 2017

Recent days have been bitterly cold with Strong North Easterly winds, which at this time of year means White Winged Gulls blown from Artic areas towards our East Coast.
Saturday was very cold but beautiful clear skies and a gorgeous winters day and we decided to head for Hartlepool as various Gulls had been reported there.
On arrival at the Headland we immediately met some local birders who were really helpful in telling us where to go, directions for various birds and access etc and so our Gull quest began.
First to be found was a 1st Winter Glaucous Gull, its very bulky by nature and although it sat still on the water could be clearly identified along with the many Eiders in the area.
Moving onto to the Fish Quay and a similar aged Iceland Gull flew around for everyone to get clear views and finally rested only a few feet away on the water. Normally I’ve only ever had brief flight views of this bird so to see one only 10 Feet away was a wonderful sight.
Having had our fill of Gulls we headed off to RSPB Saltholme, but with all the bitterly cold weather of recent days, alot of the fresh water was frozen solid. Tree Sparrows and Greenfinch were on the feeders and a ♀ Merlin sat motionless on a protruding post. Good numbers of Barnacle Geese were on the Back Fields and at least 4 Stonechat were seen around the reserve.

Sunday was a complete contrast to Saturday with a wet dark miserable day. However the day started out really well with 12 Waxwings seen locally. A walk around Cod Beck Reservoir, once the skies had cleared, produced a few Crossbill in the Conifers and a couple of Red legged Partridge over.


An incredibly photgenic 1st Winter Iceland Gull


A very distinctive 1st Winter Iceland Gull in Flight


A brute of a Glaucous Gull


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