White-throated Robin Twitch

09:15 - massage from John "Going to Hartlepool at 10:30 if I can make it". Eh? A quick check of the Birdguides web site and the urge to twitch takes hold. 09:30 - after much internal deliberation, decide that  I'll be just useless doing anything else now today so "Yes".

The day was going to be oh-so-different to yesterday where I spent the evening ringing Sand Martins on the Lune with Mark, Richard and a few others. I even handled a recovery with a French ring on it though most of the retraps were last year's juveniles from the same colony.

The troops assembled at my house and at 11, yes 11 o'clock, John eventually appeared. With the A59 closed, I decided that the quickest route would be the long way round the M62. All morning the news was arriving that the bird was showing well until we were about 30 minutes away when it had dived for cover. Our spirits rose again as we entered the outskirts of Hartlepool with the news that it had re-appeared!

At 13:15 we were making our way to the bowling green but it had departed a few minutes earlier. An anxious 20 minute wait in which time the local Bowls club had started to assemble added to the pressure but it eventually appeared on the road away from our sight. Fortunately, it hopped into the shrubbery and we got reasonable views of the female White-throated Robin; splendid.

However as soon as it had put in appearance, 30 seconds later it took off over the houses and didn't put in an appearance until over an hour later, and even then it was only for a few seconds as it bounded around the undergrowth.

A couple of hours passed. the bird wasn't going to show again so John and I headed for the coast to do some birding; Little, Common and Arctic Terns were all new for the year for me as I hadn't been to the coast since the beginning of April. A raft of Common Scoter and several Eider were behind the breakwater and a small flock of Turnstones braved the surf as the tide rose.

We eventually made our way back to the throng were it became apparent that the bird was showing well in the garden if you could get a suitable vantage point. The scene was very entertaining with up to ten people standing on the roof of a van - tyres flat and the roof buckled! Ladders were appearing and the locals had spotted a lucrative opportunity.

We left them to it to enjoy a beautiful Red-backed Shrike just down the coast at Seaton Carew followed by the inevitable Chippy tea and a nice Spoonbill at Saltholme en-route back home.
Adult male Red-backed Shrike
The Blackburn birding team
Me, Tony Disley, Tim Davie, John Wright, Bill Aspin
Spoonbill (courtesy of Bill Aspin)


  1. Crikey Dave, isn't 9.15 a bit early for a massage? No extras hopefully;) However, if I'd have known he did that sort of thing I would have asked John to massage my legs, they were killing me after standing the same position for five hours! Delighted you made it to the crane yesterday, what a great couple of days! Br, Mike

  2. Thanks for pointing out my smelling pistake, Mike! :)

    Yeh, a great few days birding and ringing. Now back to reality!


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