|Stilt Sandpiper, from memory, after snapping my pencil in last nights panic...|
When you get a phone call from Gary Woodburn at 8pm on a Sunday evening, its best to hope that you haven't started that second glass of wine...
Tonights call from a plainly incredulous Gary, said that I should get in the car and head to Newton...why? I asked...Stilt Sandpiper...on the scrape....NOW!
I hung up first, and made excuses to my brother, sister-in-law and Jane who was making the dinner and legged it to the car. I managed to call a few interested parties before the off and arrived at Low Newton about 10 minutes later. That jog from the Tin Church to the scrape is just the job in a state of panic, dragging scope and the weight of a county first with me.
No need for haste though, Gaz was cool, standing glued to the bird, now feeding a hundred metres away with Greenshank and Redshank. Apparently it had flown off twice, only to do a lap of the area an drop back in again.
With still good light, we enjoyed the bird to a backdrop of wheezing as myself and a few other arrivals gathered our breath back ( birders are getting older). The bird, an adult in breeding plumage, probed around in a relaxed manner before having a preen and settling down for the evening.
I wonder if this is the same individual that was at Lodmoor RSPB same week last year? I bet it is you know...Regardless, this, the bird of the year in Northumberland so far, will take some beating. A county first, as you would expect, and a fantastic one too.
Takes me to 327 for the county, the first new species since last years Greater Yellowlegs...
[Tuesday edit - Looking at videos of the bird it is much paler from the front than I depict here. My impression was of a much darker bird, but it was evening...my excuse anyway...]