Satlholme RSPB Field Trip – 13th May 2023 – Jill Saunders

On our arrival in Teeside we stopped in a gateway overlooking Cowpen Marsh pools as there had been reports of some interesting bird sightings over the previous few days. Despite the cold wind from the north, the light was good and lots of birds to be seen. We had good views of the target birds: wood sandpiper, curlew sandpiper, and ruff (including reeves). Other species also seen there included: shelduck, Egyptian geese, mallard, Canada goose, greylag, avocets, lapwing, dunlin and black-tailed godwits (in breeding plumage). A singing whitethroat posed on the top of a twig and sedge warbler was heard.

After our successful morning so far, we arrived at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme and we ready for our lunch which we ate in the Visitor Centre overlooking the main pools and were fascinated by the activity and large number of sand martins using the artificial sandbank. We also had good views of the bird feeders. Sightings from the centre included: common terns, black-headed gulls, coot, mallard, chaffinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, tree sparrow, moorhen, house sparrow, dunnock.

Feeling refreshed we walked to the Saltholme Hide having good view of sedge warblers and linnet. From the hide the highlights were little ringed plover (plus four tiny black and white chicks which looked like little pompoms on legs), avocets and lapwings (both with young), one white-fronted goose (Russian), one barnacle goose and great crested grebe.

We then followed the path to Paddy’s Hide and were greeted by the noise of nesting black headed gulls and also spotted pochard and gadwall. We continued our walk to the Haverton Viewpoint. It appeared very quiet on our arrival with just a couple of passing common terns and then the marsh harrier appeared and gave us a good display before flushing a sparrowhawk from a bush. As we left the view point to return to the Visitor Centre, heron and a great white egret were seen in the reed bed.

As we returned to the coach those with good hearing reported swifts flying very high overhead. A good end to a successful day.

The total number of species seen was 59.