Thursday, 6 September 2012


Heat haze affected photos of the Short-Billed Dowitcher.

I knew I shouldn't have opened my mouth when last Saturday after arriving home from our holiday on Portland I turned to Carey and said "I bet you any money i'll have to go back down there next week!". Forward to Monday and news of a Long-Billed Dowitcher at Lodmoor appeared on the pager had me a little annoyed that it couldn't have turned up a few days earlier but after having seen one in Dorset the year before I wasn't too worried. Forward again to 11.40pm on Tuesday and the noise of my pager mega alerting and telling us all what had been discussed on Birdforum that the bird was in fact a Short-Billed Dowitcher (only the 2nd ever in the UK)! I'd planned to go the next day but getting out of work was tricky so I nervously read any reports of it still being there all day. Thursday and I was at work with my boots on ready to start work until a pager message saying it was still there came on. I asked if I could have the day off which thankfully was agreed (thanks boss!) and I jumped in the car and headed through crappy traffic on the M25 and eventually arrived on site at 11am. I joined the rest of the birders and immediately got onto the bird my first ever SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (annoyingly I paid for 5 hours in the car park after it went missing for hours yesterday!) but it was asleep behind a godwit. Whilst waiting for it to wake I scanned through the gulls and counted at least 15 Mediterranean Gulls.Back to the dowitcher and it was still asleep only occasionally lifting its head. After a while it flew closer to us walked a bit then decided to preen right behind a BH Gull! After over an hour it finally gave itself up and wandered around in the open where I managed my 2 shots above. Happy that i'd seen enough and more importantly the barred tertials I headed off for home and meeting one of my blog readers on the way to the car! (I won't say his name as he was supposed to be working in Portsmouth at the time and I don't want him to get into any trouble!!). For anyone reading this I was the one dressed in my all green work uniform!

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