It was no big surprise - though a pleasant one - to find the Spotted Redshank (SR) had returned to Conder Green yesterday 28 June for its 'umpteenth' year. Having checked my records over the past five years this species has only been absent from Conder Green for a few weeks - only four in 2009 - each year before making its return to winter in the area.
2007. Last seen on 24 April - 3 July return, 10 weeks absent.
2008. Last seen on 1 May - 20 June return, 7 weeks absent.
2009. Last seen on 18 May - 16 June return, 4 weeks absent.
2010. Last seen on 3 May - 28 June, 8 weeks absent.
2011. Last seen on 26 April - 15 June return, 8 weeks absent.
The breeding range of the SR stretches from northern Fennoscandia eastwards across northern Siberia to the Chukotskiy Peninsula. the female spends just a few weeks on the breeding grounds before departing leaving the male to continue incubation. The SR's wintering range extends from equatorial Africa through the Middle East, across southeast Asia to southeastern China, up to 200 are thought to winter in Britain.
In Oakes day in the first half of the 20th century there were no published records of SR in the County of Lancashire for 35 years between 1922 and 1957, but two years later in 1959 birds began to be recorded in the winter months in Lancashire. Outside this area in Norfolk a truly amazing record of 187 SR's were at Snettisham on 13 September 1977.
The SR has always been a bird to fascinate me in that it is unique in its transformation from a pale individual during the winter, to a wholly black one - with the exception of some fine white speckling above - in its summer breeding plumage which is how this bird presented itself at Conder Green yesterday to my pleasure. This same individual will now be seen here until a date sometime next year in April/May.
And this is my very first post on Birds2blog without a photograph in sight, but....there's one of a juvenile on the Fylde Bird Club website HERE and another of an adult in summer plumage HERE
Having been taken by surprise with six Stonechat from the Hawthornthwaite Fell track last Friday I intend to do a search of three areas hopefully tomorrow....but the weather will dictate whether or not I carry out the threat.