Picked John A up at home and after a swift discussion the car went South to Teeside instead of North to Big Waters. We arrived at about 07:30 and there was already 37 people there that I could see. The throng gradually increased and must have grown to over a couple of hundred but spread around the area quite liberally. We parked ourselves at the top of Dormans Pool and waited and waited but at least we had decent company to pass the time of tday with, JohnB and friends. There was plenty of things to see whilst waiting including Pintail, Shoveller, Great Black Backed Gull, Snipe, Little Egret, Gadwall and the many skeins of Greylagss that flew over.
We waited till about 10 but even by then quite a few people had drifted off so we headed over to Saltholme for a Latte and a Bacon Roll (gone are the days of a mug of tea and a ham sandwich consumed whilst wearing flat caps). We sat down and whilst having our Tens'es we were treated to a great flying display by a Kestrel right ouside the window of the cafe. A lot of the shots I took were through the glass which turned out quite well but this one I must admit I stuck my head round the balcony door.
A quick look in the Phil Stead Hide had us looking at Black Tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Lapwings, Grey Wagtail and a Little Egret.
Off down to Greatham Creek where there were some Common Seals just next to the bridge,
2 of them had a good old scrap or possibly a bit of heavy petting, never can quite tell with seals (bit like some couples in the Bigg Market on a Saturday night). This actually carried on for nearly
an hour as we walked all the way down to the Hide at Seal Sands and back and they were still at it.
We heard over the grapevine (guy sitting next to us in the Sea Hide got a phone call from his mate) that a Semipalmated Sandpiper was back at Salthome so off we went arriving just in time to spot it vanishing into the distance. We waited in vain for it to return for a proper view but sadly no such luck so off we went. Arrived back in the reception and John need to "wash his hands" so I said I would wait for him and standing there reading the literature on the notice boards a cry went up "Pallid Harrier" so I rushed outside just in time to see it come soaring across the top of the Phil Stead Hide then across the main road all the time being mobbed by a couple of crows then it dropped out of site. John came out with his extremely clean hands cursing his luck but within a couple of minutes it was up again so out came the instamatic and some crap pics were obtained. If you wish to see better pics check out Ian Forrest's or John Beeson's
After this we headed up to Dormans Pool where we chewed the fat with a few lads then headed home where, for the information of all those that commented, I successfully finished off the hedge
Once again another great day with great company