Tuesday 19 May 2015

Stints in a storm

I called in to Druridge after work this evening to give the Budge fields a quick check. A black-tailed godwit was out front, as I scanned the mud a single little ringed plover dropped in, but it didn't stay long.

I got onto two small waders way out in an area of shallow water and plants. They were stints, distant and up to their bellies in water. My first thought was to go with the most likely - little stints as they had been seen recently, but I couldn't rule out Temmincks.  I called Dave Elliot to let him know.

I continued to watch them and as the light improved my suspicions grew. Dave arrived but the birds had moved, we soon picked them up on some mud and could get more on the 'jizz'...but now there were four of them.

We watched them for ages, the upperparts were greyish, with little rufous and no sign of any pale 'braces', we couldn't do anything with leg colour at this distance, but they appeared at times,  to have the creeping gait that Temmincks have.

The birds were flushed and flew, showing white a white outer-tail - things were looking good for Temmincks. After flying for a while, the birds settled nearer the little hide, we headed for that hoping for a better view, which we got. The light was still awful as a storm brewed to the north, but against a darker background we saw the leg colour was greenish, not dark. We were both happy they were Temmincks stints.

16 Black-tailed godwits arrived and so did Trevor Blake (wearing a T Shirt!) as the rain began to fall and the thunder and lightening started. By the time Andy Cowell arrived the rain and turned to hail. An almighty storm passed through with massive hailstones and virtually constant rattles of thunder. I wished I had brought my SLR camera to capture it well. We were joined in the hide by some swallows seeking shelter.

I saw something I have never seen before. At the height of the storm, two black-headed and a common gull dropped in, onto the pool in front of the hide. As soon as the landed, all three tipped their heads backwards and pointed their bills directly upwards into the air. They stayed like that until the hail ceased, a few geese and ducks were doing the same. We presumed they were doing this to protect their skulls from the large hailstones?

Jonathon Farooqi and his father arrive, crunching through the hail
Looking a lot like Christmas!
iPhone shots - I wished I'd taken the SLR!
I called briefly at Druridge this morning on my way to work, after DE had reported a spoonbill, no sign of it, but an avocet was on there.

Later in the day 'lucky' Andy McLevy had an Osprey at Druridge. I've only ever had one 'patch' osprey, a spring bird, back in the late nineties. I'm long overdue another one!

117 Temmincks Stint

PWC Score 147 (self found bonus points for Temmincks)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I was at the Budge Screen during the hail storm and peering in to the spumy water on the pools I noticed the same phenomena as you did of the seated ducks pointing their bills directly upwards

an interesting evening! - thanks for the heads up on the T Stints