Monday, 12 January 2009

Teeside. Refineries, frozen wasteland and Gulls

Saturday 10th Jan ended up being a day out of Kent, heading just a few miles North of the Dartford Tunnel, 300 or so to the winter wonderland of Teeside complete with the choking chemicals that is Billingham, and the spectacular backdrop at dawn more akin to Grain on a good day!
As dawn broke and the frozen pools of Dorman's, Reclamation and the superb picturesque adjacent tip were admired, the Gulls started to fly in and either settle on the ice or feed on the tip. My previous visits to this area have been few, with the famous Great Dot, the Long-toed Pec Stint, Double crested Cormorant and believe it or not many eons ago, Black winged Stilt!! This time though the goal was a rare wanderer from the Pacific, Glaucous winged Gull only the second British record and a good excuse to have a day out of Kent. The gulls were scanned by the slowly growing crowd which numbered several hundred as the morning wore on. An adult Glaucous Gull performed on the pools and the tip whilst the banter of Clements taxonomic lumps and where have you been lately kept the pangs of hunger and cold at bay. Fortunately a lone mobile musically announced the presence of the gull on Saltholme pool and within seconds like a scene from Wacky Races the cars sped off to the line of scopes and there it was in all it's brutish ugly glory, Glaucous winged Gull
There were literally masses of Gulls but the boy had chosen a small group to settle in and the views were excellent for the next few hours as it sat down, preened, flew around a bit and performed to the crowds.

Guy and John taking a break from watching the GWG in the extremely cold conditions,whilst Mike sat in the car pondering over whether to eat his remaining halve a Twix biscuit!
The boy in flight above and below.

Eventually we decide to leave the area and go looking for some Waxwings allowing us the opportunity to sample the local housing estates, very nice indeed and 85+ Waxwings were seen in roadside trees at Ingleby Barwick just South of the river, a fitting end to a great day out.

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