The wonderful north-east

September 7th , and after days of torrential rain, the winds started to veer from the south-east and a front over the north sea raching land around Hartlepool could only mean one thing - stacks of drift migrants. It had started on the Saturday so Billy, Bill and I headed off early on Sunday morning - first stop Hartlepool Headland. As we arrived, the ringers had just caught an Icterine Warbler which was obligingly shown to the assembled birders. Pied Flys and Redstarts adorned the nearby trees and there were loads of Willow Warblers as well as Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and the like. A Lesser Whitethroat was also caught in the Doctors Garden and we also had Wood Warbler by the Town Hall.

After a very enjoyable hours or so we eventually decided to go for a nearby Greenish Warbler - we were too late and after an hour and a half we decided to give it a miss and head for South Shields. Half an hour later we were thrashing some bushes near Marsden Rock - more Redstarts, Pied and Spotted Flys, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler and Whitethroats - and then we moved to the nearby quarry where a Subalpine Warbler had been reported. It was there and a beauty; it's been too long since I last saw one in Britain. A Wryneck showed distantly on the sandy cliff nearby.
We headed south again and decided to try our luck near Seaham but we just got common migrants again. Just as we reached the A19 with thoughts of heading for home, the pager sprung into life - "Great Snipe, South Gare". Another bird I'd only ever seen once in Britain - we made the dash south and within 40 minutes were getting out of the car just as the bird had been put up. We watched it fly over the marshes and dunes before it dropped down out of sight - just in time!


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