Tuesday, 11 September 2012

More filthy twitching...

An interesting sort of week really, I have been busy with birding and other things that I haven’t had time to even start writing up my blog. Last Tuesday evening it was realised from pics that a Baird’s Sandpiper had been found at Seaton Snook in Teesside. It was surely still in the area? The next morning I was down for early doors standing on the sand at Seaton scanning around, I then got the news that the Short-billed Dowitcher that was ID’d at 11 the night before was still present. So I stood for a few minutes and pondered; no sign of the Baird’s, I didn’t need it for the UK, it might still be there tomorrow, and of course Short-billed Dowitcher is an absolute mega. At the time it was only the second for the UK. It didn’t take long “I’m off to Dorset”; I was greeted with some laughs before leaving. I arrived in Dorset at around 4.00 in the afternoon, I put 3 hours worth in the meter and then the message came through that the Short-billed Dowitcher was showing well. I sped up walking a bit, when arriving on site it was out in full view feeding. Folks who had been there all day were less amused that I had just rolled up and it was showing well after having been elusive for practically the whole day. Superb views of this fantastic looking wader. Spotting down the breast sides was obvious with a nice orange buff tone to the upperparts, cracking marked scapulars and coverts, but most importantly the tertials were spot on! I had amazing views of the bird and then headed off back for the long drive home.

 (Short-billed Dowitcher - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Short-billed Dowitcher - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Short-billed Dowitcher - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

The next day was spent dipping the Baird’s Sandpiper, I returned home with half of the sands of Teesside in my ears, eyes, and scope. I wasn’t put off, a good nights sleep and down for dawn the next day. Arriving on Friday there was little around, a single Whimbrel and a few Sanderling and Dunlin kicking about. It was suggested by Paul Raper and Co (sorry I don’t know your name) that we should try Newburn bridge as the waders roost there all the time and was one of the only suitable places for roosting. We headed on up to the roost, I wasn’t hopeful but as I arrived the flock was large and loads of Sanderling. I started scanning when Paul said “Andy, come and look at this…” I hurried over and took a look; bingo! I was grinning from ear to ear, my first Durham Baird’s Sandpiper and what a bird! The bird performed superbly but didn’t really do much, but it was fantastic to see the bird so close and get such good views. A cracking little wader!

(Baird's Sandpiper - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Baird's Sandpiper - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

Sunday was a more interesting day than Saturday, I had a good day with parents on Saturday and had a BBQ in the nice spell of weather we were having. On Sunday I was twitching, yet again! It’s a filthy rotten but addictive aspect of the hobby. First stop was at the Baillon’s Crake at Rainham Marshes RSPB. What can I say about Rainham? Well I dipped a Slaty-like Gull there twice, it’s an awful place, its depressing, it’s in London, and its miles from Durham. Other than that it’s a lovely place! But it did redeem itself as at first light, or just after myself and a few others managed to glimpse the Baillon’s Crake as it made it’s way up the channel towards the hide. Views were brief and indeed in poor light, we decided that time was getting on and so because the lads I was with needed to see the Short-billed Dowitcher that bird was out next stop. We arrived at a good time and were soon on site and only had to wait a few minutes before we were watching the Short-billed Dowitcher, was good to see again after a few days! Nothing much had changed plumage wise and it was a pleasure to see the bird again. Next stop was royalty, I missed it by a day on Wednesday and it was still about; the Monarch butterfly. When we arrived it had flown up high and was flying around the tops of the pine trees. It was good to see the upperwing and underwing pattern and it flew around, time was getting on so it was a bit of a flying visit and so sadly I didn't see the butterfly close up on the buddleia. But I was just happy to have watched it in my bins flit around in the top of the pine trees. It was agreed that we would head back for an evening session at the Baillon’s in the hope of getting better views of the bird. We arrived at around 6 and the local Hobby’s kept my amused, then the Baillon’s was called out. I scanned frantically and picked the bird up bathing in the water before clambering up and out of sight. I was sure that was going to be it, at around 7.20 the hide guide informed us the hide would be shutting at 07.30. At around 07.25 the Baillon’s clambered up on top of the reeds and rested. Amazing views at first in the scope, it then slid down a bit further into the reeds being more concealed. But at least I could say I had seen the bird well in the end, brief glimpses are better than nothing but can’t beat a proper good look at a first. Thanks to Oliver Metcalf for doing all the driving that day.

(Baillon's Crake - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

So all in all a pretty eventful week, in terms of birding I have nothing write home about really; Lambton pond still looks promising and is brining in the birds. On other news last night I did witness the event on Seaton Carew beach in Hartlepool, though no Semipalmated Plovers amongst the Ringed. One day perhaps…

Until next time, Foghorn out!

1 comment:


    I hope you got better views of a Baillon's than that !..... I can't even see it !!