Picture: Twite at Seaton Snook, 3rd January
1st January, 2019 – Etherley Moor
First bird of the year was Blackbird (1), followed closely by Woodpigeon (1), Tree Sparrow (3), House Sparrow (6+) and Chaffinch (2).
1st January, 2019 – Teesside
Visited Teesside for 2-3 hours during the afternoon. Spent an hour looking for Waxwings in Middlesbrough with no joy, but I did get good views of a Redwing whilst waiting. Two Green Sandpipers were at Billingham Beck. 40+ Pink-footed Geese were near Cowpen Bewley. 6 Tiaga and 2 Tundra Bean Geese were in the field to the north of Zinc Road. A Green-winged Teal was on Dormans. A Short-eared Owl was seen briefly at Cowpen Marsh.
2nd January, 2019 – Middlesbrough & Teesside
Had another visit to Middlesbrough for the Waxwings and this time managed to get half decent views of up to 12 birds. Other birds seen included Mistle Thrush (1), Blackbird (5+), Goldfinch (10+) & Magpie (2). Two Short-eared Owls were seen on the way home.
3rd January, 2019 – Hartlepool & Seaton Snook
Visited Hartlepool and worked my way down to Seaton Snook seeing all the birds I set out to see. Ring-necked Parakeet (5+) and a surprise Water Rail (1) was seen at Ward Jackson Park. Red-throated Diver (10+), Great Crested Grebe (20+), Guillimot (10+), Common Scoter (100+), Rock Pipit (1), Purple Sandpiper (2), Snow Bunting (13), etc. were at Hartlepool Headland. A single Mediteranean Gull was at Newburn Bridge. Taiga Bean Goose (6) and Short-eared Owl (1) were seen to the north of Zinc Road. Twite (100+), Grey Plover (10+), Common Redshank (30+), Dunlin (80+), etc. were at Seaton Snook. Golden Plover (200+), Lapwing (50+), Black-tailed Godwit (20+) and Short-eared Owl were seen from the bridge at Greatham Creek.
4th January, 2019 – Saltholme (am)
Barn Owl (1), Long-eared Owl (1), Short-eared Owl (2), Merlin (1) & Barnacle Geese (60+) were best birds for me at Saltholme and surrounding area.
4th January, 2019 – Escomb (pm)
Late afternoon visit to Escomb for Little & Tawny Owl (not seen or heard). A Goldeneye (drake), a Little Grebe and 7 Goosanders (5 drakes & 2 females) were on Escomb Lake. Two Dippers were on the River Wear
2nd February, 2019 – Hartlepool
A Glaucous Gull was seen flying from Newburn Bridge towards Fish Quay
9th February, 2019 – South Durham
Common Buzzard (6+), Raven (2), Black Grouse (12+), Red Grouse (6+), Grey Partridge (2), Goshawk (1 possible), Golden Plover (14+) and Lapwing (6+) were seen in upper Weardale
9th February, 2019 – Escomb
Two Little Owls were seen.
10th February, 2019 – Fishburn
3hrs at Fishburn and was eventually rewarded with half decent views of Pallas’s Warbler and Firecrest.
15th February, 2019 – Escomb
Gadwall (5), Goldeneye (1 female), Goosander (9), Little Grebe (1), Dipper (2) & Barn Owl (1) were the best birds seen during a late afternoon visit to Escomb.
16th February, 2019 – South Durham
Five Crossbill were seen at The Stang and two Red-legged Partridges were near Brignall. Otherwise, it was surprisingly quiet.