A popular attraction on the outskirts of Hartlepool has welcomed its 750,000th visitor.
Bosses at RSPB Saltholme say they are delighted to have welcomed their 750,000th visitor to the site when Ian Mackenzie and his wife Maria called at the reserve.
It comes less than 10 years since the reserve, off Tees Road, south of Seaton Carew, opened in 2009.
Chris Francis, Senior Site Manager at RSPB Saltholme said: “To think that three quarters of a million people have now visited the reserve since we first opened our doors to the public in 2009 is fantastic. All those people have been able to connect with the fantastic wildlife you can find here at Saltholme.
“Not only that, but it is only through the support of our members and visitors we can do all the work we do to maintain and develop such an important nature reserve here on the Tees Estuary.”
To mark the occasion Ian and Maria, from Castle Eden, were presented with some special gifts to give nature a home in their garden.
Ian said: “Saltholme is a brilliant place, we usually visit every month or so and will often bring the grandkids. In the summer we love to come and watch the terns and the sand martins, but today we’d only popped in for lunch; so this is a big surprise.”
Bosses now have their sights on reaching the millionth visitor milestone and called on people to help make the achievement.
Chris continued: “We’d love to welcome even more people to come and enjoy the reserve here at Saltholme.
"At the current rate, we expect to reach the magic million in just over three years. If you haven’t been before, why not come along and help us reach that next milestone even sooner.”
RSPB Saltholme is open every day except Christmas Day.
For further information on RSPB Saltholme, visit www.rspb.org.uk/saltholme or follow the reserve team on Facebook or Twitter.