Monday, 6 August 2012

Stringer's Stilt

So last night I'm winding down towards an exciting nine and a half seconds with a big Jamaican and the phone goes. It seems that no matter how old you get the prospect of a county tick still gets the juices going and it was obvious ADMC was pumped up and ready to 'bolt' north.

I hadn't got further than the drive when the finder (stringer) was on the phone equally joyful at the finding of Northumberland's first Stilt Sandpiper. A superb and justified return on the time invested in creating a great and well managed wader habitat in the north of the county; if only one or two other sites that used to attract waders of this quality were as well managed then we might be a damn sight more inviting to some of the waders that seem to inevitably flyover and end up in that godforsaken place to the south.

Anyway, we were halfway up the A1 when Stringer called again, this time sounding a little sombre, "just ringing to tell you it's flown off ....(long pause), twice .......(further dramatic pause) ....but it's come back"

Indeed it had and it was thoroughly enjoyed by the handful that managed to make it to Newton before the light died and the mist took it from view; including the NTBC Chairman who due to far too much liquid celebration of matters gold had to cadge a lift off the neighbours to get there. Good enough views to see it was a smart adult but not enough to do a stunner like this justice so...

Alarm set for a time that should be reserved for sensible people intent on performing public services we were headed back, hoping for decent light. Decent it was and again a modest audience along with a bird feeding constantly for nearly two hours, the sun even broke through for a brief few minutes. Those, including myself, who hadn't had the pleasure before were struck with just how slim and sleek this wader is; a splendidly patterned hybrid between Wood & Curlew Sandpiper. Worthy of a place on any rostrum it fed, preened, stretched its wings and put in an almost Olympic performance. Finally that now familiar incredibly poor record shot gallery just because I can....

 with Redshank for size comparison

look at that super from the front!

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