Monday, 28 October 2013

Hayling Island Mega - 19.10.13

The Semipalmated Plover + Great Grey Shrike
So far in 2013 there have been a huge number of potential new birds for me but pretty much all of them have been in Ireland or on far flung Scottish islands and so have been out of my reach due to time and money. So just as my luck would have it while waiting for the Lowestoft warblers the mega alert went off telling us about a mega American wader on Hayling Island. As I couldn't face a 5-6 hour drive straight from Norfolk and the fact that my car was booked in for its annual service I made enquiries about getting a lift down on Saturday morning and as luck would have it Chris Sharp had a space and said I could come along. After initial discussions about a 6am start had been put back to an 8am meet due to tide times I left the house and drove down the road to pick up young Ephraim Perfect and then joined Chris at the place I dropped my car off. We then headed to Maple Cross to pick up Paul Frost and the Sh4rpy birding collective (see Chris's blog in my blog list) were on the way!! A nice clear drive meant we were on site nice and early and after getting the waterproofs on we joined the expectant crowd for the bird to show up. A few Ringed Plover were already present and at one point the shout went up that the mega was amongst them but it wasn't to be. Not long after another shout went up and this time it was there! In amongst the Ringed Plover and Sanderling stood slightly smaller with a shorter stubby bill the 4th UK record and my 1st ever 1st winter SEMIPALMATED PLOVER! I quickly rattled off a few photos and took in the subtle differences of it before the rising tide and noisy wind surfers flushed the whole flock off towards the main seafront. We all stood around waiting for it to come back but then the rain started so we headed back towards the car park. As we did though news spread that it had been found on the beach so we followed the others there found somewhere to park and walked up to join the crowd. Unfortunately viewing was restricted due to where the bird was on the shingle but a few birders allowed views through their scopes. After chatting to a couple of Tring regulars we headed for the Oyster beds on the west side of the island. The first bird in view was an adult Arctic Tern which was a nice surprise. Hundreds more waders were present along with 10 Little Egret and a Rock Pipit. It was then a choice of where to go next. The answer was Thursley Common as time was running away. Over 150 Fieldfare and 50+ Redwing were flying around but the main prize soon gave itself up when the Great Grey Shrike was seen chasing Meadow Pipits. A few distant photos were taken before the heavens opened. On the walk back to the car I bumped into Kit Britten who I hadn't seen for many years (good to see you again if your reading this!) and just as we reached the car park a Crossbill flew over calling.

No comments:

Post a Comment