Monday, 5 March 2012

Waders On The Move

The Axe started its spring in style on Saturday - what a first migrant!

Saturday was a non-birding day for me, after cutting loads of fire wood in the garden, I settled down onto my laptop to sort through some 2011 bird records for the database. I had just completed this, and just before I was going to turn my laptop off, I thought I'd have a quick check of BirdGuides to see if any summer migrants had been seen.

I logged on, and the very top sighting was of a Stone Curlew. That in itself interested me, but then I rolled my eyes to the right... "Seaton Marshes - Devon". WHAT THE *$%&!

I jumped up (after a few more ****'s and ****'s) and phoned Bun, he didn't know anything about it - well that was until his pager bleeped whilst I was on the phone to him!!! He headed straight down to the marshes, and phoned me back about ten minutes later to say... "there is one here!".

The patch's third ever Stone Curlew (the second in recent times). The last bird (Devon's first real twitchable one for nearly twenty years [thanks Mark :-)]) was on 13th April 2007, and spent the day here. It started on Seaton Marshes, relocated to Sheeps Marsh (the field to the south) then spent the afternoon on the Estuary.

This bird was much more settled, and more in keeping with the average migrant Stone Curlew (sat in one spot and doing very little). Incredibly this bird was in almost exactly the same spot on Sheeps Marsh that the 2007 bird spend several hours on.

I didn't have much time, so didn't bring my scope and Nikon Coolpix to Seaton Marshes (the fact it was raining put me off from doing this too), so I only threw my Lumix over my shoulder. Here are a few pics...

The twitch

Can you see it?

Here it is, the distinctive brown blob of a tired and fed up Stone Curlew!

It did stand up briefly when some Crows annoyed it, and this revealed some colour-rings! The 2007 bird was colour-ringed too, but from what we saw of this bird's rings, it isn't the same individual. Here's a very ropey picture of it standing up...

You can make out a wing bar, a yellow bill and just about an eye maybe!?

What a fantastic way to kick off the spring though - who would have put money on this being our first migrant?! I am so pleased for Phil too - he was away for the 2007 bird - and I for one didn't think he was going to get another bite of the cherry. Well done :-)

Today, another species of wader showed that wader passage is well under way. Avocet is a rare bird here, they are just about annual. A flock of four is somewhat unprecedented though...

What a nice sight

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