More Chew Waders

Little Stint

This time little stint and ringed plover to drive my Chew Valley list through to 101. It’s a race with Slimbridge! The year list isn’t looking too shabby now at 196 thanks to the stint and four black-necked grebes. Again, I dipped on three potential ferruginous ducks. Although on my British list from Martin Mere in 2004, they’re fast becoming a bogey bird round the Stratford Bay area – eight visits this year without even a suspicion of one amongst all the hundreds of pochards and tufted ducks.

A splendid peregrine falcon powering away from Moreton Bank rounded off a superb visit. Distant thunder, probably over Bristol, was the signal to leave and I aquaplaned through a few rivers on my route to Backwell.

But the star of the show was the juvenile stint. Such a beautiful little bird as I hope you can see from the picture of an adult; imagine less colour but the same markings. And Titchwell in 2004 bestowed my last sighting of the species. Only the size of a sparrow, it flies from the northern coasts of Europe, i.e. the top of Norway and Russia to its wintering grounds in Africa. We tend not to see it on spring migration because it takes a more easterly route, unlike close cousin Temminck’s stint.

Now there’s a bird I’ve not seen for over three years, again at Titchwell. Only a couple have been reported in the last two weeks and it is the rarer species. Not quite as pretty too but equally worth seeing.

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