I knew that one day I would be heading North once again to the heavily industrialised, cold, wet and mega birding area of Tyneside. The area is generally not known to be very scenic unless of course you spot that real Northern MEGA, Cheryl Cole, pictured above in full birding gear ready to tick off another local mega avian sprite. At 2203 on Thursday I decide to check the bird news and was amazed to see that an Eastern crowned Warbler had made landfall at Trow Quarry, South Shields. Plans were made on the Friday to travel up in the Howard tractor with JT to join the crowd. I rarely travel long distances these days but this one seemed too good to miss, and despite Cheryl being in London at least we knew that there was one potential mega on the cards
The day dawned, dull, drizzly, a stiff wind, and then we all got out of the car to a more pleasant outdoor wind. Fortunately the bird had stayed overnight and soon we were enjoying this mega along with a Yellow-browed Warbler that at times allowed great scope views despite the poor weather and deciding on which end of the scope was best to look through.The crowd of happy punters enjoying the pleasant weather and well mown grass complete with Growler turds, GT's and some old friends from the past.
The boy, a real crippler and an educational bird that could in the past have been overlooked given brief or less than ideal views
The crown of the East
Next port of call was Port Clarence near where the Glaucous winged Gull was in the winter, and we duly added this distant and very wet Blue winged Teal to the tally as well as a very showy Pec Sand amongst the bird filled flood and meadows, a great place to bird
We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph at close range the Gibbo in full plum age complete with his new coat, and unlit fag. All the clinching features can be seen here, and it was good to see that our Kentish cultural attache was on site
Last stop, Bempton RSPB following a long dreary drive in rain, mist and heavy traffic. The bird on show was Red-flanked Bluetail, annual in the UK now but way back in 1993 the Winspit wonder was a huge crowd puller, and a mythical bird to see in Britain, how times have changedThe Bluetail, 3200 ISO, for 20 mins exposure, the weather was simply atrocious
It had been a long day, out of Kent and the opportunity was taken to have a kip and dream of the days events. Ever ready for action the bins remain in place. Another great day out and a good set of birds, bring it on