Saturday 31st July saw me and The Marquis up at Saltholme RSPB in Cleveland early morning where upon parking in the layby alongside the A178 we immediately connected with the juv' Whiskered Tern (252). The bird was mainly roosting alongside a Little Gull on a band of rocks in the middle of the Western Pool but did make a few feeding forays over the pool where I managed this extremely fortuitous shot using my mobile phone up against the scope!!
A decent year-tick and my 15th of this species I've seen in the UK. Unfortunately another 'wanted' year-tick - Wood Sand' - had done one overnight. A few other bits 'n' bobs on site included 7 Black-wits, 2 Little Gulls, 3 Little Egrets, 30+ Dunlin, 4 Ruff & a Greenshank. Nearby at the Teesmouth NR a single Avocet and loads of babby Shelducks were noted. A 'Golden Arches' breakfast was called for before heading further north. Arriving at South Shields, we parked up and walked the short distance to the metal gates along the south pier and immediately bagged Roseate Tern for the year (253) in amongst c50 Common Terns and c25 Sandwich Terns. Slightly embarrasingly was the fact that Roseate Tern was also a UK tick for me but less said about that the better. Anyway, in all I counted 8 adults and 2 juvs all showing very well down to 25yds. A small doseage of seawatching was put into practise here and despite not alot happening out there, we still managed to bag 3 Manx Shearwaters (254) heading north along with the usual commoner stuff.
With nothing much else doing locally we made a decision to head down to Hartlepool Headland and try for some more seawatching action. Unfortunately there wasn't alot happening apart from a Whimbrel heading south, 7 Manxies south and a host of terns & gulls. As is usually the case, boredom was relieved slightly with a different type of birding!
The only downside(s) of todays events were the lack of some decent seawatching and the fact my motor seems to be drinking far too much fuel - Over £60 from Derbyshire to Teeside and back is a tad too much I reckon! Oh well, Scillies next weekend, should be eventful....and expensive!