Sunday, 26 April 2015

Hudsonian Godwit

It was going to be a nice day out. The plan was simple, visit Paxton for the Nightingales, with a detour to Broom so Colin can see the Tern, then spend the rest of the day around the Ouse Washes and Brecks. Colin picked me up at 0730 and we headed up the A1 in light rain. Got as far as Biggleswade when we heard that the White Winged Black Tern had gone, drove another mile then heard the devastating news of a Hudsonian Godwit in Somerset. With only four records of previous birds, a brief one in Aberdeenshire in 1988 and what was presumed the same bird at Blacktoft and Exeter in 1981 and 1983 it is not one thats exactly on the radar, and as it was 32 years since the twitchable Blacktoft bird an awful lot of people needed it. We turned round and headed off to the west country.
The roads were pretty good and we got to the rather busy Ham wall (new) car park around 1130. Good job the starling roost has been so popular because the Shapwick Heath car park opposite would certainly not have coped. Walked straight past the locally rare Wood Warbler, took in the Garden Warblers and Reed Warblers and joined the crowd. The Godwit was sleeping with around 100 Icelandic Black Tailed Godwits, with the occasional movement. On a couple of occasions it woke up to preen, and raised its wings showing the jet black underwing that is so distinctive. We spent an hour or so taking lots of duff images, and I only managed one barely decent one through the scope with it actually awake and showing it's long up curved bill.

While there we also saw a Greenshank, two distant Cranes and I got brief views of one of the many Bitterns. Missed things like Swift, Hobby and Wood Sandpiper, but there were several Orange Tips and Large Whites flying.
Eventually the Amwell contingent arrived so had a chat with William about his day trip to Bryher for the Great Blue Heron and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the reserve. Managed to see the Wood Warbler on the way back.
With not much else on the pager we decided to head home via Portland-not all that far away really. Unfortunately the morning Sun had turned to sea mist, and it gradually rolled in as we crossed the Fleet. A quick stroll around the Bill produced Rock Pipits and Wheatear but with visibility of perhaps 200 yards at best sea watching was pointless. By the time we turned round, visibility on the Fleet had deteriorated so there was no chance of checking the terns and gulls, so we returned home.

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