Sunday, 26 April 2015


Hudsonian Godwit + Wood Sandpiper
At about 8am I was awoken by the vibrating of my pager on the bedside table and amazed to read that a Hudsonian Godwit had been found in Somerset. Unfortunately it was my weekend having my son and so a 6 hours in the car was just going to make him moan so I gave up any thoughts of going and turned over and went to sleep! At nearly 11am my mum rang to tell me about plans for Sunday dinner with her brother and his wife and so I asked if she fancied a trip to Somerset! She said no but she'd take my boy so I could go. Good old mum! I dropped him off and headed on my way. I arrived on site at Meare Heath NR at just gone 3.30pm and quickly walked towards the large crowd of birders already gathered even getting lucky with a Wood Warbler singing from the hedge. I took my place at the end of the line only to be told that the bird was tucked into the bank and was out of view. With that news I scanned over the water and immediately picked up some good year ticks in the shape of a Greenshank and only my 9th ever Wood Sandpiper. A Bittern then flew over with a couple of others heard booming. Just then all the godwits were spooked and in the middle of the flock was a dark bird with black armpits. It was my first ever HUDSONIAN GODWIT. This 3rd for Britain then showed well feeding and preening albeit at the back of the Meare. It was noticeably darker and heavily barred and fed like a Dowitcher sp and resembled plumage wise a Stilt Sandpiper. The bill was very long and upturned two toned orange and black. Other birds noted were a few singing Cetti's Warblers, Marsh Harrier, pinging Bearded Tits and a White Wagtail. After a few words with Tony Blake and some more views of the godwit I headed back to the car adding my first Swift of the year. I made a couple of calls to say I was leaving at 4.18pm not realising that just 3 minutes earlier the bird took flight and at the time of writing hasn't been seen since! Talk about good timing. The journey home in the rain was made even better with Watford FC getting promoted to the Premiership!

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