Lesser Yellowlegs, Aberlady

Lesser Yellowlegs

The American invasion continued. Snow geese three days before at Leighton Moss; Canada goose all over the place and the long-billed dowitcher back in September, which did add to my British list. Then Monday’s lesser yellowlegs at Aberlady Bay became number 279.

This smart wader kept company with its Tringa cousins, our native redshanks, although the lesser is more closely related to green sandpiper. It’s certainly more compact than redshank and this individual had considerably whiter and cleaner underparts. In flight it lacked the white trailing edges to the redshank’s wings. There was a fair bit of flying too with the tide pushing birds further off the river and eventually onto a bank right in front of my car. I had cracking views from my mobile hide, which I needed against a scope-neutralising wind. It was cold too.

Numbers, numbers. Apart from being UK bird 279, the yellowlegs was Lothian 148 – the same as my Worcestershire list. I hadn’t realised: my two years in Edinburgh had clearly paid dividends. I wondered if I had similarly large lists for other counties. Norfolk seemed like a good candidate: everyone has a good Norfolk list.

Blimey. Mine is 145. I’ve only been there nine times, and never for more than three days. The county deserves its reputation. I must go invade again some time.

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