Saturday and John and I headed off to Hartlepool. First stop was for another look at the Black-throated Diver in the Marina. Sure enough it was there but as usual you go to one side of the Marina and it goes to the other, you then head for the other one and so does it so to those guys and gals who have published good pictures a deserved "Well Done" for your patience, so here are my humble efforts:
Then after a bit of a discussion about geography we ended up at "The Banjo" where we managed to catch distant views and a picture of the Red-necked Grebe.
Across on the "Pilots Pier" (told you it was over there John) the guys with the Bazookas waited,
unfortunately I don't think it headed over there although I here there were some good Diver pics obtained.
Also on "The Banjo" there were some awesome looking Cormorants (YES, Punk is back) drying and sunning themselves on the walkway to the Lifeboat.
Then off for a meal break but the car park by the bridge at Newburn was a bit of a disappointment
when despite the offering of chips we only glimpsed a Med Gull for a few seconds. Onto Seaton Snook where we dipped on Glaucous Gull despite there having been up to 4 seen earlier in the day. They all seemed to be up at lunch themselves therefore it was a bit difficult to pick an individual out
On to Greatham Creek where we headed Westwards to see the Tundra Bean Goose, which we quickly spotted amongst a mixed flock of Canadas and Greylags although neither of the flocks seemed to want it to be "with them" as it was hissed and snarled at by both sets of geese so it eventually settled into a mid distance configuration between the pockets of geese with them allowing it to get close but then eventually chasing it off again. It was a bit of a distance away so unbelievably the picture is crappier than usual
Whilst we were standing watching it a movement just a few yards away drew attention as a SEO took off from a post just a short distance away and moved down the line of posts. We didn't want to follow it as it would just mean pushing it further away from its hunting ground so we then looked eastwards just as a Kestrel came down fast and took a kill then proceeded to eat it on the ground. We moved a tad closer and watched it then a Crow came in and chased it then proceeded to eat its kill. The Kestrel then perched at a distance and watched it intently but after 5 minutes it realised that the Crow was going to consume the whole kill so left to hunt elsewhere. A great bit of action with no pics taken as we were completely absorbed with the bit of theatre happening in front of us.
Across the road to the other side of the creek, where we had a couple of false starts when the bird we were seeking, a Common Scoter, started heading up the creek then when it reached the bridge it turned round very quickly and fly back down the creek then turned North onto Greenabella Marsh and vanished. I did manage to get a couple of particularly bad shots to add to my list of many.
We also managed to see 3 SEOs and a Barn Owl (well John saw that one) I was too busy looking at the Mergansers that were debating whether to enter the Creek when a photographic opportunity was going a begging but when they eventually made up their mind the light had gone and 2 of them drifted away and the other 2 decided to take the fast route and flew (which I wasn't expecting, whoever heard of birds flying when they could swim ?) so had to make do with a couple of long distance digis (LDDs - a technical term we use for S***e pics).
A nice saunter back to the car watching quite a few Shelducks and Wigeon coming in to look
for a bed for the night. Once again a great day out with John.