Cleveland & County Durham

It seemed we weren't the only people looking for the gull

The other members of the "Lincs birders on tour" - Steve Routledge & Dave Wright (+ a chap in a silly hat - soz Al)

The reason we were up in the North East in the 1st place. Another poor (digiscoped) record shot but showing the pale grey wingtips compared to the black of the Herrings behind. The legs were a deeper, darker pink colouration compared to the paler pink of the Herrings. Also note the dark hood.

My 1st expedition of the year outside my home county. Made the pilgrimage up to Cleveland for the UK's 2nd ever Glaucous-winged Gull, on what felt like the coldest day of the winter so far - boy it was bitter up in the North East! An adult Glaucous Gull showed first on the tip but no Glaucous-winged. Eventually a mad stampede of twitchers told us the big one had been found. Sure enough the star bird had just come in to Saltholme Pools & showed well next to the Herring Gulls to give a good comparison - my 1st lifer of the year! I wonder which part of the world this bird arrived from - NW America or NE Asia?

Went on to County Durham & the Teesdale area where I had great views of 17 Black Grouse (16 males and a solitary female - lucky girl!). 13 of the Black Grouse gave a fantastic flyby and I also witnessed the species lekking for the 1st time - a memorable experience. Also seen in Teesdale - 5 Red Grouse, 2 Common Buzzard, Peregrine, Merlin & Dipper.

A great day all round & nice to catch up with some species that don't occur in Lincs - Black Grouse, Red Grouse & (British) Dipper.

PS - thanks to Dave for driving (and handling the icy conditions well!)

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