Arriving at Hartlepool, the pager informed us that an Icterine Warbler had been trapped somewhere on the Headland, so we made our first stop the Bowling Green nr the Doctors Garden. This was a great decision as no sooner had we got out the car that we were told the Icky was still being processed in a garage-cum-ringing-hut just around the street corner, so we hurried round where in-hand views of a fine Icky was had.
A local birder then walked up and pointed us in the right direction. A few hundred metres away was the depression of Trow Quarry, a superb migrant trap with weedy areas, sycamore, Hawthorn and Elder against a small former quarry face.More migrants were immediately apparent; Pied Flycatcher (above), 5+ Redstart, several Wheatear, Blackcap, Willow Warblers and two Common Whitethroat, soon followed by the absolutely delightful Subalpine Warbler which gave very nice scope views on+off for the next hour.
Subalpine Warbler - Trow Quarry, Co. Durham - 7th Sept 2008.
Whinchat was added to the day list, as was a Wryneck as it fed on a distant cliff face.
Having feasted on the Subalpine and other migrants, we then dipped the second Greenish Warbler of the day, nr the Doctors Garden in Whitburn. Two Spotted Flycatcher were the only migrants of any note.
Now approaching late afternoon, we began to head south and a check of some random bushes at Seaton produced two Redstarts.
Shortly afterwards, the pager alerted us to the discovery of a GREAT SNIPE(!!), seen three times in flight on South Gare! I had only ever seen one before, at Sammies Point, Spurn, in May 1989..... 19 long years ago!
We arrived at the Gare at 17:53, pulling up by a small gathering of birders. Scope out of the car I began to walk over when suddenly they all raised their 'bins' in unison.... The Great Snipe had been flushed and was in flight...... I ran over and immediately got onto the bird with my 'bins'.... Although not close, bulk, mode of flight and dark underwings were apparent.... unquestionably a Great Snipe! What good fortune! - The Snipe landed out of sight behind a ridge so I and others went over in an attempt to relocate the bird, but no joy was had in the next hour, though I did flush a Wryneck from my feet in the process, as well as a few Wheatear.
And there ended another memorable autumn day on the east coast.