On Monday night, I was seriously gripped off. While the rest of the locals buzzed tweets back and forth congratulating each other on managing to see the Black-tailed Godwit that Paul Watts had found earlier in the day (a patch tick for me), I was working late into the night, with no chance of visiting the patch on the horizon.
Anyway, in a moment of madness, I decided to throw my bins and camera into my work bag. Then, miraculously, a late meeting was cancelled. So, for the first time in about three weeks, I managed to head to the drained south reservoirs to see what all the fuss was about...
Now, I may not find much on the patch but I've got a decent record when it comes to waders, especially after finding Bar-Tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Turnstone, Oystercatcher and Redshank last year. Obviously, there's not really any skill involved in this, just my sado-masochistic willingness to get soaked to the bone in southerlies or easterlies.
|A Suitably Drained No. 5|
With the weather positively gloomy, I was at least hoping that the Black-Tailed Godwit would stick in time for me to catch up with it.
As I walked along the western edge of No. 4, I soon managed to do even better. First of all, a Sand Martin flew overhead. Then, out in the middle, I immediately found a winter plumage Grey Plover, only my second record for the patch. The bird stayed fairly distant throughout, although I did manage to fire off some recent shots.
|Grey Plover on No. 4|
After a few moments of initial panic as I moved on to No. 5, I then managed to relocate the Black-Tailed Godwit. Two quality waders in the space of ten minutes!
|Black-Tailed Godwit on No. 5|
With the Godwit in the bag, I spent the next hour taking a leisurely stroll around the rest of No. 5 finding a single Common Sandpiper and two vocal Little Ringed Plovers in the gloom.
|Little Ringed Plover on No. 5|
So, all told, I'd managed four year-ticks in the space of an hour and a half after work.
Intriguingly, one of the more wizened local birders (sorry Prof) suggested that the waders seem to be arriving quite late in the day, presumably after flying for a couple of hours from the coast.
Whether this is true or not, at the minute it seems it's not just the early bird who catches the worm...