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Monday, 28 July 2014

Sweet Raptors and a second chance tern in Teesside

With nothing much around at the moment within striking distance I had been thinking of trying for the Honey Buzzards at Wykeham again this last weekend however with a White Rumped Sandpiper showing well at Cresswell Ponds in Northumberland and another White Winged Black Tern turning up at Saltholme again it looked like plans would change. A quick check of the bird information services before I set off Sunday morning revealed the Sandpiper had gone although the Tern was still present but still smarting from missing the one a fortnight ago I decided not to rush off for it, instead I would do Wykeham as originally planned then go for it if it was still there in the afternoon. I arrived at the Raptor Viewpoint mid-morning and was surprised to find no one else there although I guess the Honey Buzzards haven’t been showing very well this year, it was very slow, a couple of Kestrels and a few common Buzzards were about it and after a couple of hours I'd had enough and decided to drop down to my other favoured area in the valley, it was a bit better here I added Sparrowhawk to the list then as I was photographing a common Buzzard soaring overhead another bird came over the trees and headed over the valley gliding on straight slightly bowed wings with a longer tail, I rattled a few shots off and although not particularly good I determined from the colouration it was a male Honey Buzzard, I hung around for a while longer hoping it may return but it didn’t, a pruk pruk call alerted me to two Ravens flying along the ridge behind me though. It was after 2pm by this time and with the WWB Tern still present I thought it was time I made tracks, quite a trek along the A171 but traffic was OK even around Whitby, I arrived at Saltholme expecting to see birders along the road watching the main pools but there was no-one there, my heart sank, had it flown off as I had made my way there, I carried on to the visitor centre to get some news and was immediately informed the bird was showing there and then on one of the Islands, it had apparently been showing on Paddy’s Pool most of the afternoon and had just recently dropped in front of the Visitor Centre, it sat and preened there for a while and then eventually flew back to Paddy’s Pool where I went round and watched it until closing and filled the memory card up although I dare say a lot will be in the bin, the autofocus really struggled locking on to the bird, a couple of young Foxes were at the feeders when I returned. I took a little look around the Greatham Creek area but apart from the usual Seals and a fly over Whimbrel it was fairly quiet.
Common Buzzards looking tatty

Honey Buzzard

not the best of shots but you can make out the upperwing
colouration and bands on the tail

initial views of the WWB Tern

as it loafed around with Common Terns

before flying back to Paddy's Pool

not the best of backdrops

Common Tern fishing on Greatham Creek

plus the Seals

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