Saturday 8 September 2012

Short-billed Dowitcher, Lodmoor.

The B&B we stayed in was excellent, a place called 'Glenwood' on the Bangor side of Betws-y-Coed, the owners Said and Marie were lovely people and we'll certainly stay there again when we go up that way.
Glenwood: our B&B in Betws-y-Coed, highly recommended.
After the Choughs of yesterday, we planned to do the touristy thing with the 'chuffers' at the Ffestiniog Railway, but news of the Long-billed Dowitcher at Lodmoor transmogrifying into a Short-billed meant we swapped any thoughts of train rides for a 7 hour drive to Dorset. We set off after breakfast on the non-stop drive to Weymouth arriving at 15:00 hours. My legs had all but seized up and the brisk walk to where the bird was not showing didn't revive them much, however after a short wait the bird finally showed itself and I forgot my aching lower limbs as the beast performed rather well, if a little distantly, in front of the aquatic vegetation.
Short-billed Dowitcher
This was a British tick for me, the first and last bird being in Rosehearty, Aberdeenshire 11 - 24 September 1999 moving to Greenabella Marsh area, Cleveland until the end of October. I had phased from UK listing at that time and as I had seen them in the USA and was still not 'into' waders as I am now, I didn't make the journey up to see this long staying bird. There had been a previous record in Ireland in 1985, and there has been three records there since in 2000, 2001 and 2004. In short, a flippin' rare bird and no mistake.
Me and some of the assembled admirers grilling our quarry.
It was joined at one stage by both a Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Snipe which allowed interesting comparisons of size and features.
Short-billed Dowitcher with Common Snipe

Short-billed Dowitcher with Black-tailed Godwit and Common Snipe partially
hidden to the left.
Elis gripped me off once again with a Water Rail which I didn't see.
Water Rail.
On the way out a male Gadwall was asleep among the many Mallards and looked stunning in the late afternoon sun, as did a lovely Northern Lapwing.
Male Gadwall

Northern Lapwing

We then wearily drove back to Newport Pagnell arriving at home around 21:00 hours completing a tiring but very satisfactory day.
The sun setting over the Oxfordshire countryside.

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