South Gare, Cleveland

The UK is a beautiful place. Let me go on record for saying that. And it’s not just the classic beauty spots that I’m referring to but also the places that some people bypass and dismiss. I’m speaking about places like my beloved Wormwood Scrubs in West London – a site that never ceases to amaze the casual visitor who is totally unaware of the treasures to be found. These places are often look the mostly unlikely in which to enjoy the wonders of British nature.

I would put South Gare in that category. Situated on the southern side of the mouth of the River Tees in Redcar and Cleveland this little spot is sandwiched between industry and working class humanity. It is a beautiful area in my eyes and looks like a pretty decent location for birding. Indeed, the records go on to testify its birding credentials. The beach attracts waders and the sea is a good place for scanning for divers and other seabirds. It has also had more than its fair share of rarities including Roller, Common Rosefinch and Greater Short-toed Lark.

My two hour stroll around did not result in any rarities, but that wasn’t the point of my visit. Aside from the obligatory raucous Herring Gulls I enjoyed great views of Sanderling, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstone plus passerines like Common Stonechat, Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit.

This area of the British coastline is certainly worth a second and a third glance.

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