Wednesday, 13 October 2021

October Holiday pt 1. Long Toed Stint

 It's October again, and as usual I have some time off. With the recent fuel 'shortage' and Colin working most of the time, long distance traveling is not on the agenda unless something good justifies it.

That was the case on Sunday. I was expecting to travel to the east coast, as, although a bit quiet for the time of year there was enough interesting stuff to make it worthwhile. However, what had been a Least Sandpiper at RSPB St Aiden (and prior to that a Temminck's Stint) was finally identified as a Long Toed Stint. Apart from one in Cornwall in 1970 which was only seen by it's photographer, the only other record was way back in 1982 in Cleveland, and with the state of birding communications then, only a small number of birders saw it. So a tick for virtually everyone. 

Over 2000 birders had turned up on Saturday, so we made plans to leave early and headed up the A1 to Yorkshire (yet again) and got there at 0830. It was a bit cool, but clear and after a bit of a fast walk arrived at the reed-bed complex where the Stint was roosting on a spit among Lapwings and Black Headed Gulls. It was a fair way away but views were pretty good as was the lighting. Also on the pool were a few Ruff, Black Tailed Godwits and one or two Dunlin.  We could see that a small crowd on the reed-bed causeway was pretty close and some birders headed off to join them. Unfortunately the birds were spooked and the Stint flew off west. Rather surprised to be able to follow it in the bins until it dropped down on to the far lake.

Unlike most who headed straight there Colin and I took a slightly longer route around the West reed-bed in the hope of picking up one of the Black Necked Grebes. One was present but we couldn't find it. There were a lot of calling Cetti's Warblers, and we encountered a small flock of Bearded Tits, as well as the typical selection of wildfowl, Lapwing and Snipe. We eventually reached the crowd and could see the Stint on a small island with some Lapwing but viewing was restricted. I was able to kneel at the front, but this meant that I only had a small window through the reeds. I was able to get the camera connected to the scope and over the course of about 30 minutes managed to obtain a large number of blurred and poorly focussed images. However a few were passable.

After the long period kneeling I had a lot of trouble getting the legs going but fortunately I only had to walk a few yards to where a rather showy Bittern was feeding. Unfortunately the car park was still about a mile away so it took a while, and it was a relief to reach the car  and the coffee.

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