Rosy glow to bird­ers’ day

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

THERE was a great deal of ex­cite­ment among the bird­ing fra­ter­nity of Cleve­land last week.

The rea­son was the sud­den ap­pear­ance of a very rare bird in a quiet street in Billing­ham.

This rather at­trac­tive rose coloured star­ling, as bril­liantly cap­tured by Mar­tyn Sid­well’s stun­ning photo, turned up in Cay­ton Drive.

So did lots of ex­u­ber­ant bird­ers, me in­cluded, who thronged the street to catch a glimpse of this ex­tremely un­usual vis­i­tor which breeds any­where from East­ern Europe to Asia and over­win­ters in In­dia and sur­round­ing coun­tries.

I was eat­ing lunch at RSPB Saltholme when news of the star­ling’s ap­pear­ance emerged.

My chip buttie was hastily despatched and I was driv­ing into Cay­ton Drive within ten min­utes.

I was among the first wave of bird­ers to ar­rive and have to say that the res­i­dents of Cay­ton Drive were ab­so­lutely ter­rific.

We were im­me­di­ately al­lowed into a cou­ple of gar­dens to view the rose coloured star­ling and then I was one of sev­eral bird­ers who were in­vited into the back bed­room of one of the houses to get ad­di­tional views.

The res­i­dents could not have been friend­lier. Ev­ery­body had an op­por­tu­nity to view the bird and take their pho­tos.

As can be seen from Mar­tyn’s photo, rose coloured star­lings have pink bod­ies with black heads, wings and tail. This in­di­vid­ual has been blown off course and is not the first to have ap­peared in Cleve­land, al­though it is the first that I have ever seen.

It ap­peared to be happy among a group of our com­mon star­lings. But when the weather turns, it will turn its at­ten­tion to In­dia. I hope it gets home all right.

Some of the area’s keener twitch­ers faced a long jour­ney and bat­tle against time to tick off the rose coloured star­ling and also Bri­tain’s first ever el­e­gant tern which ap­peared at Pagham Har­bour in West Sus­sex. On the way back they will have taken a slight de­tour to tick off one of two red footed fal­cons in ei­ther Suf­folk or Sur­rey.

How­ever it is not just the rose coloured star­ling which has bright­ened up the bird­ing in Cleve­land.

We have been for­tu­nate to host two scarce marsh war­blers. I man­aged to tick off the first one at Saltholme, but not be­fore fall­ing into a bog on the way. I’m still try­ing to clean the mud off my tele­scope but it was worth it.

Eric would like to hear from read­ers about what they have seen. Email him at­

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