Posted by: mynaturaldiary | December 11, 2009


Heugh offers a fabulous museum for those interested in the Great War. For the Twitcher, it also offers delights on the rocks at the foot of the cliffs that make up the headland.

Osytercatchers are unmistakable coastal birds, with their black and white plumage and their red bills.

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

This one can just be seen displaying the white winter collar around his neck. We’ll see some more of these birds shortly.

Further over on the rocky headland were some Ringed Plover.

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

They look quite drab this time of year compared to their summer finery.

Redshanks were also very evident.

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

This one shortly flew off, showing his wing pattern and barred tail to best effect.

which in turn caused a number of Oystercatchers to fly off further north.

A few birds kept searching the rocks for morsels, including a Turnstone, in the upper right corner of the photo below, together with the much larger Oystercatcher and Redshank.

Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

This is the best picture I got of a Shag flying past (others too blurry!). I think it’s a Shag, rather than a Cormorant, since it had an absence of any white on its face.

Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)

Having seen the Oystercatchers head northwards, I drove a little further up the coast, where as luck would have it, I could see some more on the beach.

There were plenty of them hunting together.

And they like to stick together, especially when a passing dog gets too close!

After all these Oystercatchers, a quick drive down the coast road to the North Gare Sands, part of the Teesmouth National Nature Reserve. The weather is fine, sunny and I get fine views of waders, ducks and geese whilst heading on the North Gare road over the salt marshes of Seaton Common.

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

At the car park, I make my way out to the North Gare Breakwater, to see the pools. The weather turns and the Haar begins to roll in from the sea. There are groups of Redshank feeding, alongside some gulls.

One Great black-blacked gull dwarfs the others.

Great Black-Blacked Gull (Larus marinus)

The Haar wins the struggle for the weather and the day surrenders to thick fog. I give up trying to see more birds, only finding a Rook on my way back, which emerged from the midsts.

Rook (Corvus frugilegus)

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