Monday, 27 May 2013

A successful stint

We spent a rather wet and windy early afternoon at College Valley today. Not having a permit, we only ventured about half a mile or so up the track from the car park.

Rooks were very busy in the trees around Hethpool and there were a good number of Wood Pigeons.

Plenty of warblers were in full song. Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and Blackcaps. A single Song Thrush competed with several Blackbirds. The occasional Mipit and a few Siskins whizzed around. Wren song exploded from the undergrowth. Oystercatchers were busy on the burn along with a single Pied Wagtail. No sight of other birds we had hoped for.

I suspect that most birds were laying low in the poor weather. We did, however, see a recently fledged Robin, so a few birds are well on with their breeding season.

This is the second trip to College Valley, in less than enjoyable weather, when we saw no raptors.

Just after mid afternoon we visited Cresswell Pond. Several people were scanning the north extension, so we investigated.

A single Temminck’s Stint was feeding on the far side of the water. A distant view through a kind birder’s super scope showed what is appropriately described as a small Common Sandpiper. Obviously very small (there were Dunlins nearby for comparison) and not showing as much back pattern as I have experienced on Little Stints. It was feeding most of the time, but not moving around busily like its smaller cousin; although I am always cautious to judge birds by their jizz when inclement weather may be affecting their behaviour.

A brief appearance by a Little Gull added to the scene. We didn't venture in to the hide. The water level was much higher than of late and there was no sign of the Avocets.

The Stint was a new bird to me and so a rather damp day had a very good ending. I have seen Little Stint quite a few times and this bird looked different, if only marginally so. On the basis of this brief view, I would hope to be able to identify a Temminck’s if I am fortunate enough to have a second chance to see one.

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