Sunday, June 01, 2008



Above - The Cawledge Burn, Alnwick. Northumberland has lots of small wooded denes like this, good for Grey Wagtails, Dippers and Kingfishers...

Dull and overcast with steady rain after 9.30am.

This morning I walked a circular route from Alnwick down through the Cawledge Burn Woods and back by the disused railway line and viaduct, to do a recce for when the weather is more suitable to look for flowers and butterflies etc. The walk back was hastened when the pager anounced that the great snipe was still there...

Should I go? I would only have 45 minutes on the island and 3 hours yesterday drew a blank. I remember ADMc saying once that to see them, you've got to be there so off I went.

I couple of phone calls to my contacts ( Andy) gave me hope. The bird was believed to be in a small field in the dunes and there was to be an organised search soon. They would wait till I arrived before going so I had better get a move on...

After arrival at the Snook I bailed out and ran over the dunes towards the gathering spot. Now, I'm no Steve Cram, so by the time I got there I was ready to be airlifted into re-suss...


Time to catch breath and off we went, fanned out in a line. Then after only 5 minutes, up it went. The GREAT SNIPE! Get in. What a bird. Only 10 seconds in flight but good clear views as it circled over the dune dropping to safety out of sight.

My first lifer since the White tailed Plover last June and it was much appreciated. In flight it was clearly bigger than Snipe and darker too. The white sides of the tail were prominent and the two wing bars could be seen though they weren't obvious. It was silent and much more relaxed than Snipe, none of this calling then 0-60 up into the sky, it just lifted and flew with deep beats, a bit like a woodcock. Its bill looked thicker and shorter ( with some imagination). It was much easier to tell from Snipe han I had thought.

A fantastic bird and many thanks to those who waited for me to get there. Cheers!

British List 387
County List 317

6 comments:

dean ( mostlymacro ) said...

Nice one Stewart.

Looks like the coast is the place to be at the moment.
Can you flush it towards North Berwick, for next week.

Anonymous said...

Dean, I think many are trying to do just that!

Boulmer Birder said...

That anon above is me Dean, I replied from work...

dean said...

Will have to try and find something decent myself, while i`m up there.
With all this unsettled weather, you just never know.

Border Reiver said...

Brilliant. Red Letter days like this don't happen that often.

oldcrow61 said...

I'd love to be sitting on the bank in the picture. Beautiful!