Eagle-eyed birdwatchers are on the look out for recruits.
Teesmouth Bird Club is 55 years old – about the average age of its members. With the only youngster in its junior section nearing his 18th birthday, the club is launching a drive for new blood.
Mike McGrory is chairman of the near-500 member strong club which is involved in conservation projects across the area and is consulted by four unitary authorities on development plans which could impact on bird habitats, numbers and sites.
He said: “The lifeblood of any club is a wide range of interests and ages within its membership.
“Teesmouth Bird Club is seeking to attract new and especially junior members to join in club outings and meetings, to learn from the many experienced club members and to bring their own perspectives to the enjoyment of birds and other wildlife in our area.”
Club secretary Chris Sharp commented: “Given the current decline in national and local bird populations, it is essential that we have young people who are going to protect birds now and in the future, or else we risk losing several species for future generations to enjoy.
“There are something like 250 different species of birds recorded each year across in what was the old country of Cleveland. But every year it’s not the same 250!”
In 2014, five species new to the area were recorded. One of them, The Eastern Crowned Warbler, was recorded only for the third time in Britain.
Other newcomers included a Black Winged Pratincole, a Black Scoter, a Fea’s Petrel and Isabelline Wheatear.
Mr Sharp added: “Every year is different, that is the great thing about bird-watching.’’
A rare Squacco Heron flew into the RSPB Saltholme reserve in the summer of 2015 and a Surf Scoter was seen just off the Teesside coastline into Christmas week.
The club, which has eight meetings a year featuring guest speakers, and a nationally-acclaimed website, has produced a fact-filled bird report with a breakdown of all the species spotted across the club’s area in 2014, including numbers seen and dates of sightings; all accompanied by colour photographs.
Copies of the softback, 120-page report may be obtained from John Fletcher at 43 Glaisdale Avenue, Middlesbrough (telephone 01642 818825), price £7.50. Youngsters are being offered free membership for the first year they join.