Birdwatchers gather on Headland as tiny warbler stops off in Hartlepool after flying thousands of miles from Russia

Bird watchers headed to Hartlepool to catch a glimpse of a feathered visitor that travelled thousands of miles to get here.

Tuesday, 16th October 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th October 2018, 11:33 am

The arrival of the yellow browed warbler caused excitement among birders after landing on the Headland.

It had travelled all the way from Siberia and stopped off in Hartlepool on its journey south to warmer climate for the winter.

Bird watchers in the Squircle area of the Headland. Picture by FRANK REID
Bird watchers in the Squircle area of the Headland. Picture by FRANK REID

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A number of bird watchers in camouflage clothing and armed with cameras and binoculars made a beeline to the area.

One of the tiny birds was seen around the Borough Hall and in trees in the Croft Gardens.

Bird watcher Kevin McSwiggan, who travelled from Ripon, said: “They come from the forests of Russia.

“It is the first landfall they have when they cross the sea so they flop into the nearest tree or bush.

A yellow browed warbler. Credit Michael Flowers.

“This area along the coast there have been all sorts of good birds seen in the last couple of months.

“You have South Gare where there has been a pomarine skua, a short eared owl at Seaton Common and also North Gare.”

The yellow browed warbler is named after its distinctive yellow ‘eyebrow’ and has a call like a coal tit.

They breed in Siberia and migrate south-westwards over Europe at this time of year.

Bird watcher Maurice Local in the Squircle area of the Headland. Picture by FRANK REID

Although not especially rare, the bird is only seen in the UK for a short window between mid September and mid October, and mainly on coastal areas.

Maurice Local, from Billingham, was also hoping for a sighting.

He said: “We are in a period of migration. There is a lot of yellow browed warblers, red wings, bramblings, thrushes and spotted fly catchers.

“A lot are just passing through. It is only a short duration when they peak coming past then they fly off to Africa or wherever they go.”

Bird watchers near the Croft Gardens on the Headland. Picture by FRANK REID