Sunday, 4 December 2011

The 3 "IANS" - Siber_, Casp_, Euras_

Headed south to Teesside this morning after encouraging reports from the Zinc Works Road area of Seaton Carew on Saturday.

First up, a stop at the first lay by on the road for IAN number 1- on show was the confiding male siberian stonechat - my second encounter of this newly promoted species in the UK. A dapper chap at that, and thoughts of prolonged viewing and photography were quashed as the bird flitted off into the scrub upon the onset of a heavy, cold winter shower.

Hoppy... plain rump just about on show.

Taking shelter from the rain we headed to lay by number two for IAN number 2 ~ and a few minutes later (refreshed with coffee) we set about scanning the gull flock. The 1st winter caspian gull (one of perhaps 3 that have been here this week) was picked up by another fellow, and decent scope view were had. Rather embarrassed to admit this, but the caspian gull was a UK tick for me and Mark. Northern sightings of this species are few and far between, and it's certainly not a bird I'd have travelled far for! In hindsight some record shots should have been taken, but a scope was essential to get a good view. Not long after the bird was picked out one of the two local peregrines lifted the flock and the gull dispersed.

The third port of call was, conveniently, at the third lay by down Zinc Works Road for IAN number 3 of the jaunt - a small group of Eurasian white-fronted geese were on show along with a single pink-foot. With the geese in the bag, and another less successful short wait for IAN number 1 we headed back north.

News of desert wheatear at Newbiggin might provide an incentive to get out on Monday, as time is not on my side today. Nice to see that the birding pace has not yet settled down for winter!

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