Sunday 3 August 2014

Mega Patch Tick

The early bird catches the worm, so they say.

Well I was at Druridge early this morning and it certainly paid off when a scan of the waders turned up a STILT SANDPIPER!

Here's the tale..

I bumped into fellow patcher Dave Elliott on the way into the Budge screen (you have to be up very early to beat Dave), he was telling me of a wader that he had seen yesterday but wasn't sure about as the light was could have been stilt sandpiper or it could have been a wood sandpiper, he wasn't committal.

I started scanning the mud and amongst the snipe was something different, it was arse-on at first, then it raised it's tail to reveal strong barring on the underside and the dark centres to the feathers stood out really well. We didn't need to see any more - Stilt Sandpiper - the bird that was at Cresswell Pond until Thursday had turned up on my patch. Patch mega!

crappy iPhone-scoped shot of the Stilt Sandpiper.

We had really good views of it for a while, Dave went off to check the rest of his gigantic patch and it slipped off into the rushes. Then one of the Chevington marsh harriers turned up and scattered everything, including the curlews and spoonbills and there was no sign of the stilt sand for nearly 20 minutes. The marsh harrier had another go at it re-appeared back on the mud and was seen on and off for the rest of the day and was enjoyed by a good number of birders.

marsh harrier arrives....
....and causes havoc
This bird is the second record for Northumberland, the first being two years ago on the Stringers patch at Newton. I saw that bird and only one other, ever, in Texas.

This is the second new patch bird this year after May's woodchat shrike, taking the patch list to 234. Seemingly, as this bird was re-found, it counts as find for the patchwork challenge, thus netting me a whopping 15 points.

Elsewhere on the patch three little egrets were on the edge of the shelterbelt, one of them was the colour ringed bird DE had at Chevington, the other two were juveniles. They relocated to the big pool soon after.

Juvenile little egret. The yellow/green legs and yellow tinge to the lores as well as being 'fluffy' give it away as a juvenile.

Also on the big pool was LRP and common sandpiper. This stunning red admiral brightened up the track.

red admiral
Druridge version of oxpeckers
So what chance of another patch tick this year. Well, I reckon so and my money is on red kite.

Patch List 234

Year List 145

PWC Score 205

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