Friday, 5 October 2012

Red-necked Phalarope and Short-billed Dowitcher (again).

To get a break from the stress of trying to arrange Wader Quest and banging my head against many brick walls, worrying about why people just don’t return e-mails instead of saying they can’t help so I can move on etc. We decided a day out was required, and as there was a tick for Elis in the form of Red-necked Phalarope at Slimbridge, we set off in that direction in the company of Gyorgy Szimuly (Szimi). The Long-billed Dowitcher was also still around so we looked for it at the usual place. It wasn’t there, but we learned that the phalarope had been seen, so went after that in the Zeiss hide. It was very distant as you can see from the photos but at least it was there.
Small white dot aka Red-necked Phalarope
We were disappointed not to see the Long-billed Dowitcher (which was later seen elsewhere) as we had hoped to see both dowitcher species on the same day.

The second part of the plan was to stop on the way to Weymouth to see the Buff-breasted Sandpiper near Taunton, but there was no news so we shot by and arrived at Lodmoor in a downpour.

Undaunted (this was a lifer for Szimi) we set off in pursuit of our quarry. As is always the case with long staying rarities, the interest had dwindled and what with the rain, no-one was there to help us look. We did stop and speck to one chap who said he hadn’t seen it. Szimi and I went to where Elis and I had seen it before, Elis busied herself taking photos of any bird that would sit still long enough. We scanned the reed edge and waited for it to emerge.

Me and Szimi

The chap we had spoken to earlier came up and asked if we had seen the dowitcher, we said no, but that we were canning the reed edge constantly.

“I wouldn’t bother” he said “it’s out there in the open!” And so it was! How did we not see that? We were slightly exonerated when the chap said it had just flown in.
Dowitcher watching
We then spent an hour watching the bird that was showing well, but Elis was nowhere to be seen. The bird then flew to the far side of the pool, just as Elis arrived with her camera. She got more record shots, but it was further away than last time!
Short-billed Dowitcher
 
A bit closer were some Mediterranean Gulls in various plumages.
1st winter Mediterranean Gull (centre)
adult winter (front right)

Adult winter (front right)


Adult winter (mid left)
Other birds seen at the site were;
 
Common Sandpiper

Grey Heron
Drake Shoveler

Duck Shoveler

We had a quick look at the sea but only saw some distant Gannets and then bimbled back to HQ. A great day all-in-all.

Szimi Gannet watching

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