Sunday, November 13, 2011
What a difference a day makes. This morning I was at Bondi Pool for first light in drizzly dull SE conditions. No sign of the goal. Then, news came through that it was just one hide along so, five minutes later and Andrew Kinghorn is kindly showing me the GREATER YELLOWLEGS in his scope only seconds before it strode off around the back of an island and out of sight. Although I had seen the tall shape and bright yellow legs I hadn't even seen the bill so I was hoping for better.
After about 15 minutes, I got a call saying the bird was showing well in front of the Wader Hide on the other side of the reserve so off I went. The place was getting busy with long distance twitchers now so I got a move on but not before a scan from the banks of the far side. No view of the 'legs but the Grey Phalarope gave a nice fly past.
By the time I got to the rapidly filling hide, the bird was nicely on show, often in the same view as the Grey Phalarope ( I wonder if they travel together!). What a cracker too, at this range Lesser Yellowlegs was never a contender, see notes above. Tonight I see some nice pics show the bird was lightly speckled on the mantle but this feature didnt show at all in the gloomy daylight.
As the place was packed out and we are no lovers of twitching hoards JWR and me headed off to Warkworth Gut, where some newly flooded scrapes were the focus of our visit. Before we left Hauxley a final glance gave us a brief Kingfisher perched near the hide, for a few seconds before vanishing back to thicker and quieter cover.
Warkworth Gut was excellent with Little Egret, Spotted Redshank and Greenshank on the scrapes with 20+ Snipe and 50+ Teal. Along the track a very confiding Snow Bunting allowed views down to 10 feet and some dog walkers told us that there was a small flock on the beach but they had been flushed by a Sparrowhawk.
What a great mornings birding then with the Yellowlegs being my 401st British bird and my 326th Northumberland species. Result!
Back home, I was out with Bunts at 3pm when a calling Raven demanded attention. It came from the west and slowly flew down to land in a dead tree in the copse right next to our garden. I thought it might even drop in! I must stake a dead sheep to the lawn sometime...Its calling drew in a second bird from the same direction, and both flew North to Cullernose Point where they could be seen gliding about the coast path and cliffs from our drive.
A fitting end to a great day...