Meadow Pipit, Zinc Works Rd, Cleveland
May 11th - It's that time again. Time for my annual road trip to Scotland and the Western Isles. My start was delayed until lunch time but I was on the road to Cleveland by 12:30 with visions of Salthome's Whiskered Terns and the nearby Citrine Wagtail buzzing around my brain. I knew that Salthome closed at 5pm so I hurried to get there, arriving at 16:40. Not much time to spare. Luckily one of the RSPB volunteers put me onto the Whiskered Terns flying around the main lake, often getting lost amongst the Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns.
Whiskered Terns, Salthome RSPB
Common Tern, Salthome RSPB
We were generously allowed to stay past closing time but the only other thing of note were the Tree Sparrows and Stock Doves by the feeders. The Terns kept their distance.
I then looked at the Back Salthome pool from the main road. This was good with 2 Spoonbills and 4 Black Terns visible. From there I moved to the end of the old Zinc Works Rd. The news of Citrine Wagtail was negative all day but there were Pied Flycatchers available. On arrival there was a group of birders searching for an elusive Wood Sandpiper and the Pied Fly's had just been seen. I chose the latter option and soon had both male and female Pied Flycatcher. A birder nearby waved me over and showed me the Wood Sandpiper.
Pied Flycatcher, Zinc Works Rd
I made my way slowly back to the car, taking photographs of the swirling Swallows and Martins. See the best of a bad bunch, below.
Sand Martins, Zinc Works Rd
Barn Swallow, Zinc Works Rd.
Near the car I was chatting with another birder and I asked him if he had seen the Wood Sand. His reply made me turn 180° and race back to the flooded field. "What Wood Sandpiper?" he said, "I've been watching the Grey-Headed Wagtail!". Soon I watched this delicate, Nordic, migrant play hide and seek amongst the vegetation.
A great start to my trip. What will tomorrow bring?