Monday, 23 March 2009

Two of a Kind.

I made what turned out to be a rash decision this morning when I gave up on the weather before setting out at 9.00 and got stuck into a house maintenance job which I couldn't leave unfinished once started when the weather improved. But later in the day I touched on birding when I had a good root through my old records and amongst quite a lot of good reading came across these reminders which I am posting on the blog void of any names save one.

I had entered the Eric M'cbe Hide at Leighton Moss in the afternoon of 18 October 1995 and was asked by two birders already in the hide, if I could help with a wader they were watching which was posing some difficulty. Well it initially posed the same difficulty for me too as it was resting with its head tucked in and legs fully submerged in water. It was roosting with a Greenshank and several Redshank which helped considerably for comparison purposes and with which it was noticeably smaller than both. We were looking at something different here, and at something probably rare. Eventually the bird made the move we were hoping for and almost instantly I suspected we were looking at a LESSER YELLOWLEGS and blurted out this thought in my excitement. However, before the bird had 'come to life' a fourth birder had arrived on the scene and had obviously decided to kept quiet on the subject for the time being but did in fact very soon produce from his pocket the only mobile phone in the hide and made the necessary call/s which for me was confirmation that my ID had been correct.

Two years later I was in the very same hide on 13 September 1997 but this time I was in the excellent company of my friend and mentor John Leedal. Earlier in the afternoon I had seen a wader from the Jackson Hide on the reserve which - to frustrate me and by something of a coincidence - was resting as the bird in 1995 had been. However, this time I seem to have convinced myself this was a Wood Sandpiper with what I could see of the bird and after some time in the hide left it at that. With hindsight I don't ever recall any conversation in the hide about this bird but many years of visiting Leighton Moss has proved beyond any doubt this is often to be the case here. So now I'm in the Eric M'cbe Hide once again and after a while a very interesting wader came down and I instantly thought this was the bird seen earlier on the reserve but in a matter of a few minutes I realise I was again looking another Lesser Yellowlegs in the face and was almost certainly the bird which was at the reserve earlier in the afternoon and which I had wrongly identified then. 

Bluebell Wood. Pete Woodruff.

This pik - which has no relation to the post but adds a little colour to it - was taken in Gibson Wood which is situated between Rigg Lane/Littledale Road and held Wood Warbler which I watched for 4/5 consecutive years in the late 90's early 2000 but not since.

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