We've been out on Hartlepool Headland again, mainly to sample Chris Brown's amazing rhubarb wine. But we also spent some time trying out his Whoosh Net down on the Beach. It was still dark when we left the house, impressive considering how much wine was imbibed. But it wasn't until lunchtime that we finally managed to catch four Turnstone and a Rock Pipit. Plenty of Herring Gulls and a Glaucous Gull came down to bread and the long-staying Mediterranean Gull happily took all Rich's chips, but we couldn't lure them into a catching area. We also enjoyed a brief diversion to see a second-winter Iceland Gull hanging out at Parton Rocks. Up at Giselle's we again went to see the Lesser Scaup at Marden Quarry and a couple of Scaup at Hurworth Burn were new for the year.
With around 60 Iceland Gulls in Britain at the moment, it wasn't a surprise that a few of these delicate white-wingers reached Cleveland. The pale eye, bill pattern and bill colour suggest that this well-faded bird is a second-winter. (c) Richard Brown
Chris and Giselle processing the Turnstones. We caught both adults and first-winters so we could get our eye in for the retained coverts and higher levels of wear that separate the juvenile birds. The cosmopolitan diet of the Turnstone means that we could have used almost anything to bring them to the trapping site, including recorded foodstuffs such as coconut, human corpse and vomit, but we didn't drink quite that much wine. (c) Richard Brown