News broke of this mega rarity on Monday-and with only two untwitchable birds previously it quickly generated lots of interest and the crowds soon built up - http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=202466&page=3 and the crowd scenes and movie clips made the news the next day.
I was hoping to hold out until Friday, but caved in and called Colin on Tuesday to make arrangements to travel overnight.
We arrived at Hartlepool some time around 0330-the Sun had yet to appear but Blackbirds were singing a nd feeding, and the local Herring gulls were already leaving roosts. We had a wander around for an hour or so, around the two bowling greens and were gradually joined by more birders as they woke from their slumbers. Some time just after 0500, the Robin appeared by the inner bowling green and over the course of the next hour or so put on a fantastic show for us. it tended to feed under the shrubs, but often came out and fed under cars in the road. Twice it flew into the doctors garden (scene of the ladder and van siege on Monday) but rapidly returned flying low over our heads. At one point it perched in a tree directly overhead, but my best view were when I sat down on the kerb and watched it hopping around the fence opposite.
Plenty of Linnets, Swifts and Sparrows were flying around all the time, but we did not locate any migrants. Before we left w walked round to a chapel where there were several Kittiwake nests.
We left some time before 0700 and headed south through Middlesborough, stopping off at Coatham Marsh. Did not take long to find a number of Northern Marsh Orchids, but although I searched for an hour, I did not find anything else of note, though the flora on the old slag heaps was quite interesting.
Continuing south we called in at an area I had wanted to visit for a long time, the Humber Peatlands around Thorne Moor. Conditions were not ideal, with it being rather cool and cloudy. One or two singing Tree Pipits were the only birds of note, and after a long search, a single Large Heath was located.
Despite being rather tired by early afternoon, we called in at Barnack Hills for another orchid attempt. I had heard that a few Frogs were in flower but we were unable to locate them. Unfortunately the other photographers on site were either doing landscapes or butterflies so there was no local knowledge.
We did locate many Common Fragrant Orchids, and there were a few Common Blue butterflies, but yet again, the wind was a problem.