Sunday, 27 September 2009

Saltholme and 'Industrial' Birding

Teeside Industry.

Greatham Creek Seals

26th Aug. I was back to Saltholme today, but this time for a meeting. It was tough to sit in a meeting on such a glorious autumn day and nothing was going to stop me from attempting to find that Hooded Merganser today. I have read others views on the origins of this bird and I am quite happy to put it on my UK list and as I have mentioned before I already have it on my life list. Thankfully the conference room looks over the lake and I was able to have good views of the bird even if I did hold up proceedings at one point. Nice view of a Greenshank too although the sun was in the wrong position for any more really worthwhile watching from the conference room and I was urged back to my seat in any event. ;-) Incidentally I was told that Saltholme has had 76,000 customers through the doors since officially opening, 1,500 young people through the classroom (mainly during the summer months and 574 members of the public have been signed up as members of the RSPB. All good stuff.

After the meeting ended most of the afternoon remained so I resisted the urge to look for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper and went off to Seal Sands. There are more important things than adding a bird to your list as far as I’m concerned and I had promised a friend an inexperienced birder that I would escort her to Seal Sands. Encouraging someone’s growing interest in birds and keeping a promise is to me far more important tome than seeking the odd rarity, and we had both been to Saltholme last week. Anyway I’m pleased we went off to Seal Sands as it was a wonderful afternoon in the sun. On days like this I find the area quite surreal in that you are birding in such an industrial area that in its own way looks quite wonderful. If I were in the least way artistic, I’d spend some time down there capturing this area in watercolours. It is certainly a lesson to anyone who believes that you need to be in picturesque countryside to enjoy nature (and I think some people do truly believe this). It simply isn’t true and just as well as most of us don’t live in ‘picturesque’ areas. Anyway I took time out from the birding to capture some, not watercolour, but digital images of the industrial area.

The tide was well out and many of the 1.000s of waders were way off across the sands, in the distance. We did have good close up views of dozens of seals, at least the majority being Common Seals. Waders seen were Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew. A female Sparrowhawk put in an appearance directly above my head. There were lots of dragonflies about, in the main Common Darter and Small White and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies.
I must get back here again soon to explore further.


  1. Brian, I think that sometimes just seeing 'life' going on all about urban/industrial landscapes can be such a positive thing. An indication of how quick perhaps nature will re-colonise when we're finally gone.

  2. Too true Alan. Nature is a fast worker when left to its own devices and I see that even on patch.