Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Farmoor Trip Report in Haiku Format

Farmoor: water - without wings
concrete emptiness
summer heat hangs heavy

Note: I originally put something down yesterday but have been working away at it as I wasn't very happy with it. I've also been learning more about the Haiku format: apparently in traditional haiku there should be a kigo which is a season word as well as a kire a punctuating cut. This is my first real attempt at birding haiku but it's an art form that I might consider further.

For those who prefer a more traditional trip report:

I went to Farmoor to look for the black terns but they'd gone and there was nothing else there apart from an oystercatcher and a few nesting black-headed gulls. Oh, and it was hot.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Meadow Temminck's

I've been grumbling away during my blog posts about how many county birds I've been missing. I know I'm not actually doing a county year list this year but the intensity of that experience last year has become deeply ingrained so somehow it feels wrong if I don't see something nice that turns up in the county. Given that I have a particular penchant for waders (which is why I enjoy having Port Meadow as my patch) I was getting somewhat gripped off by missing two different Temminck's stint opportunities in the county last week: a single bird at Farmoor on Thursday evening and then a pair at Otmoor over the weekend when I was tied up (Saturday with great reed twitching and Sunday with family stuff). To add to this grip-fest someone had reported three (yes three) stints on the Meadow on Saturday evening which he was convinced were little stints. Needless to say there was no sign of them on Sunday morning. I exchanged a number of e-mails with him over the identity of these birds (I knew the chap and he didn't seem to mind the grilling) as they were far more likely to be Temminck's at this time of year but he seemed adamant that they were littles.

I'd been contemplating going down to the Meadow on Sunday evening in case they came back but then got a text from James Grundy who visits the Meadow a few times a week saying what was about (the usual stuff). Given that someone had already checked out the patch I therefore decided not to bother going down myself and was just settling down at 8pm after having put L to bed when I got a call from James saying that he had three small waders down on the Meadow which he thought might be Temminck's stints but that he didn't have his scope with him. I came down and was able to confirm them as indeed Temminck's stints. I was most pleased to have caught up with this lovely little wader and to have three on my own patch was most rewarding. I spent the next hour endeavouring to do them photographic justice though the light was going by that point so it was strictly videograbs only.

two of the three birds on the floods

I included this blurry shot of it taking off so that one can see the diagnostic Temminck's white outer tail feathers

Of course this rather cast doubt on the three little stints claim from the previous day - the birds were even in the same location on the Meadow and for his claim to stand one would have to invoke the six bird theory! Accordingly the next day I gave the chap a call and discussed with him what he'd seen. His description of the back of the birds fitted a Temminck's perfectly and it appeared that he had previously mainly seen them in the autumn and so was expecting something rather plainer. So that little mystery was cleared up.

The next evening I went back down to the Meadow (I try to go twice a day during this time of year) but there was no sign of any stints. However there was a rather nice wood sandpiper by way of compensation. Initially it was distant and obscured by grass but it did move to a more open area of shoreline and I was able to get quite close to it and so managed what is my best wood sand photo to date even though it's a videograb (again no light).

The wood sandpiper

With the excellent light there have been a some other decent photo opportunities on the Meadow. All the shots are on the Port Meadow Birding blog but I thought that I'd share a few of them here are well.

Another garganey on the Meadow for several days

This first summer golden plover allowed me to get very close

There are quite a few little egrets around on the Meadow at present

So finally I'm able to add another tick to the county year list which I've not abandoned quite yet though it is depressingly low.

Oxon Year List 2010
138 TEMMINCK'S STINT 23/05/2010 Port Meadow

National Year List 2010
171 TEMMINCK'S STINT 23/05/2010 Port Meadow

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Ilkeston Great Reed Warbler

Sometimes one has to be opportunistic when it comes to seeing birds, especially when one has family obligations and can't just go and see something on a whim. I've had a college friend visiting for the last couple of days. It was great to catch up on what he's been up to even if it meant that I wasn't able to get out to see the Temminck's stint at Farmoor on Thursday evening. However when he mentioned that he was going on to Leicester next to visit his mother I remembered that this wasn't too far from Derbyshire where a great reed warbler had been in residence at Straw Bridge's NR, Ilkeston for at least a week now. As this bird fell into the category of well entrenched high probability twitches, I therefore suggested that I gave him a lift up there and since I was in the neighbourhood I could go on to the bird afterwards. This plan was acceptable to all and so it was that on Saturday morning at around 10:30 a.m. we were heading north along the motorway (having already done my weekly shopping chore first thing in the morning so as to get it out the way). It was a good chance to catch up some more with my friend and the journey there passed quickly and pleasantly. Having dropped him off it was only some half an hour or so on to Ilkeston.

Straw's Bridges NR was a rather unlikely venue: consisting of a couple of ponds with no reeds on the first one and only a rather small clump on the second pond, nevertheless this vagrant bird had chosen this tiny reeded area to set up shop. When I arrived there were perhaps a dozen birders lined up who informed me that the bird had been seen really well about twenty minutes ago. It was singing on and off the whole time so I got down to the task that seems to be quite common when twitching: staring intently at some vegetation of some kind, waiting for something to show. Reeds are probably the worse kind of vegetation to stare at because you can often fancy that you can see something deep within the reeds. Indeed periodically some of the birders next to me who had been there for a while and had already seen the bird, would claim that they could see something moving in the reeds. I don't know whether they really could: perhaps they'd agreed in advance to say this and to back each other up in order to wind up the other birders. Anyway, this staring went on for some three quarters of an hour, just long enough for me to start to wonder whether I was going to have to settle for a "heard only" tick when suddenly it popped out and showed clearly as it perched in the upper reeds singing loudly. I wasted no time and as soon as I'd found it in the scope, rattled off digiscoping shots as fast as I could before it disappeared again after about a minute.

The great reed warbler

I wondered whether to leave at this point but felt I would like to get a better look so I waited for perhaps another twenty minutes before once more it showed and this time for longer, moving about to several visible locations. During this time I rattle off some more shots and also took a chance to have a good look at the bird. Not having seen one before I was amazed at just how huge it was: perhaps song thrush size with quite a chunky bill. I'd read that the song was a "scratchy reed warbler" but I don't think that this does it justice as it was surprisingly rich in tone with a great deal of repetition. It was also remarkably loud with none of the monotonous muttering of a reed warbler. I recorded some video of the reed bed so as to pick up a bit of the song.

Ignore the video and just listen to the song

After this second, more prolonged showing I felt that I should get back and duly headed for home.

I seem to be in a bit of a twitchy vein just at present, what with the Clayhanger Marshes hoopoe, the Frampton pratincole and now the great reed warbler. I must admit that I'm enjoying getting out and about seeing different birds though I still don't really consider myself to be a proper twitcher (I'm obviously just in denial!). It's partly that my life list is so low and I'd like to get it to a more respectable level though I'm still a dedicated patch worker as well. Anyway another tick to add to the national year list. The county list on the other hand is going nowhere fast and I seem to be missing all the decent county birds as they come through: as well as the Temminck's on Friday a pair turned up at Otmoor whilst I was up at Ilkeston as well as several flocks of black terns in the county so these species can be added to the growing list of stuff I've not seen in the county this year. Not that it matters of course but I am wondering whether to continue with the county list tally. We'll see.

National Year List 2010
170 GREAT REED WARBLER 22/05 Straw's Bridges NR, Ilkeston, Derbyshire (LIFER)

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Frampton Pratincole

I'm not generally much of a twitcher and when some rarity turns up I don't head out the door asap to try and see it. For one thing family duties tend to prohibit that sort of behaviour and for another, having been birding for a comparatively short two and half years, there are so many relatively common species that I've yet to see that getting that rare tick doesn't seem quite so vital. However, having reflected on it for a while, I have to admit that I enjoyed my recent hoopoe twitch and the chance to see something more exotic. Nevertheless, as I don't get out of the county birding that often I don't like to waste trips where there's a high chance of dipping so I tend to look for things that have been around for a while and which seem well settled. The thought of travelling for hours only to find that the target has gone is a rather depressing one (though of course it's all part of the birding experience) so I tend to concentrate on the high percentage ticks and all my longer distance trips have been of this type. So when the oriental pratincole turned up at Frampton, (Lincs.) there was no immediate interest on my part in going to see it. However as each day it was reported as being around all day it started to become clear that this was an eminently twitchable bird. To add enticement, several curlew sandpipers were being reported as well. Now, curlew sand happens to be a bit of a bogey bird for me. They're not that common inland and to my knowledge there haven't been any in the county since I've started birding again so catching up with them would generally involve being on the coast at the right time of year and managing to connect with one. As I don't get to the coast that often so far I'd not managed to achieve this. So the combination of what looked like an easy mega and a chance to catch up with a bogey bird looked rather appealing. I was thinking of going on Thursday but then I had to look after L mid morning whilst my VLW had her piano lesson and would have had to be back by 6 as she then went out to play tennis. This would have been cutting it rather fine so instead I opted to go on Friday morning, hoping that the birds would stay another day.

Friday morning I got up at 5:30am, and was out the door by 6. I briefly stopped off to look at the Meadow, though there was nothing of interest, before setting off for Lincolnshire. I'd not actually been birding in this county before so was keen to take a look. I consulted the AA route planner and it reckoned that the A43 all the way to the A16 was the way to go which I duly opted for. The roads were often not dual carriage way and I frequently found myself stuck behind various slow lorries and did start wondering whether there might be faster routes to take (I'll have to ask some of the more seasoned birders about this). I'd changed my Bird Guides text settings to include all oriental pratincole updates from Lincs and on the journey had been waiting with trepidation for 8am start of updates. When the news came through that the bird was still around I breathed a sigh of relief and it was with some optimism that at about 9:15am I pulled up at the car park of Frampton Marsh RSPB and got my gear together.

Frampton Marsh, for those who've not been, consists of two wader scrape areas and then a field next to the sea wall with the Ouse Washes estuary beyond that. There is a well made path which connects the three spacious hides and a visitors centre with tea, coffee and toilets next to the free car park.

A map of the reserve

I started walking towards the second scrape area where there seemed to be most people and asked for news of the pratincole from some people I met coming the other way. I was told that it was still about and to head towards the East hide which I duly did. As I headed off down the path between the scrapes I briefly saw a LBJ on a hawthorn bush before it flew off. It initially had me scratching my head until I heard the distinctive "jangling keys" song of a corn bunting and realised what I'd seen. It's funny how in a new birding context it can sometimes take a while to get ones head around something whereas if I'd seen it on the Downs in Oxon I wouldn't have thought twice about it. As I headed down the path I could hear sedge warblers warbling in the reeds and on the western scrape I picked out a couple of avocets.

I'd more or less got to the bend and was heading towards the sea wall when I noticed people starting to head back towards me. One of them (who I am pretty sure was James Lees from Slimbridge) asked me if I was looking for the pratincole and said that it had not been seen down there for the last hour or so. Hmm, so this wasn't going to be the easy tick I'd been anticipating, I thought. They were heading to the 360° hide and I elected to go with them.

The view from the hide with the sea wall in the background

The 360° hide has good panoramic views over the eastern scrape complex and there was plenty to see so I settled myself down and started to have a good look through the various birds. Almost the first birds that I picked out were some cracking curlew sandpipers in various stages of moult from basically full summer plumage through to full winter plumage still. There was also a mixed flock of dunlin and ringed plover and it was very useful to compare the sandpipers with their smaller dunlin cousins. Of course I was extremely pleased finally to have got my bogey bird and even if the pratincole turned out to have gone (which would have been most unlucky) I would have been content. Conditions weren't that great for photography as I was facing into the sun and there was quite a bit of heat haze but I took loads of photos anyway which were of at least record shot quality.

Three curlew sandpiper
with a dunlin as well for size comparison

...showing the winter plumage bird

partial and full summer plumage

Apart from this mixed flock of waders there were a few little ringed plovers about, quite close to the hide. There were a couple of flocks of dark-bellied brent geese around and plenty of mallards and shelduck. In addition there were also quite a few avocet on the various islands and I took a few shots for the record.

A pair of avocets

I was just taking all this in when a cry went up that the pratincole was up and flying again. It had clearly been hunkered down somewhere out of the rather stiff wind but once it was out and hawking over the field beyond the scrape it was easy to pick out from its rapid flight and rather strange jizz with long wings, pale rump and a rather shortish tail. It wasn't so easy to see the chestnut underwing but one could make out the lack of white trailing edge to the wing and the rather short tail though I admit I don't have any experience of any other pratincoles against which to compare. After a while of whizzing around it landed on a distant island on the scrapes. Unfortunately its favoured spot (to which it returned from time to time) was behind a clump of grasses and a thistle so very often the only view was of part of its head.

Crouching pratincole, hidden mega

It would periodically take off, hawk around and then land again. On one occasion it landed on a much emptier island and although it was more distant I was able to get some record shots off.

A couple of shots of the bird on the island. I had to use my best post-processing skills to compensate for the heat haze in these shots: you can see how comparatively blurry the redshank is next to it in the second shot.

After a while of watching the pratincole and the curlew sandpipers I decided I'd had my fill. I headed back to the visitor's centre for a cup of tea and a snack before starting the long journey back home. I stopped off en route for my sandwiches in a convenient layby and arrived back home mid afternoon, tired but most content.

Tick Tally
I'd seen a couple of grey partridges run across the road as I was nearing the reserve itself and I realised that actually these were my first of the year. In fact I'd managed six national year ticks on this little trip which rather surprised me. However the fact that I'd not been up to the downs yet this year meant that I was still needing both the bunting and the grey partridge. Two lifers to add to the list and the embarrassment of still needing curlew sandpiper was finally gone! All in all a most satisfactory introduction to birding in Lincolnshire.

National Year List 2010
164 grey partridge 14/05/2010 Frampton Marsh, Lincs
165 corn bunting 14/05/2010 Frampton Marsh, Lincs

166 avocet 14/05/2010 Frampton Marsh, Lincs

167 curlew sandpiper 14/05/2010 Frampton Marsh, Lincs (LIFER)

168 brent goose 14/05/2010 Frampton Marsh, Lincs

169 ORIENTAL PRATINCOLE 15/05/2010 Frampton Marsh, Lincs (LIFER)

Friday, 14 May 2010

Meadow Purple Patch

I realise that I've not actually been birding anywhere apart from the Meadow for the last couple of weeks (apart from a quick trip to Blenheim avec enfants to buy a wooden sword from the gift shop which for some reason they were keen to have: 7 common terns and 2 shelduck spotted en passant). Instead I've been dutifully going twice a day to the patch to check things out. One reason for this is that I want to make the most of it whilst the flood waters are still there as last year they'd all but dried up by this time and so there wasn't really any proper patch birding in May. This year I was keen at the very least to see if I could find a wood sandpiper and maybe another Temminck's Stint or even something rarer. Apart from the excitement of the spoonbill it had been a rather quiet start to May but this week it suddenly hit its stride with a real purple patch.

I came down to the Meadow one morning as usual and at first glance there was nothing unusual on the floods at all. However the grass around the edges has now got rather tall and this means that birds like ringed plovers etc can often be quite well hidden so I always do a thorough scan around the edges with the scope. I'd just started this when I found a couple of snipe, well hidden in the grass.

Hidden Snipe

A bit further on I found a dunlin on one of the submerged grass islands on the floods.

Summer dunlin

Not a bad haul for the morning was thinking to myself: as long as I've got something of interest to report on the Port Meadow Birding blog I'm reasonably happy. A bit further round I spotted a black-tailed godwit which I didn't bother to photograph as I've done rather a lot of godwit shots recently. The godwit flew along the shore and landed at another spot. As I watched it I noticed a small brown restless wader hunting in amongst the tall grass near where it landed. I gave it a dammed good scoping and soon realised that I'd found my May wood sandpiper. I spent some time trying to photograph it but the shots were fairly abysmal. Fortunately it was till there late afternoon when I returned and I was able to get some better shots. I noticed that the godwit had moved on only to be replaced by a greenshank which I thought it would be rude of me not to photograph as well. The wood sandpiper and the greenshank stayed for another day.

My May wood sandpiper

The greenshank

The following morning with neither the sandpiper nor the greenshank anywhere to be seen I was compensated for this in the form of three characterful oystercatchers, looking very smart in their fresh black and white plumage and which made their presence known through their loud piping calls.

The three smart oystercatchers

A closer shot of one of them

Later that day I was on an afternoon jog around the floods (just bins and my P&S camera) when I managed to spot a ringed plover tucked away at the end of the floods which I call Stint Corner. This plover turned out to be rather approachable so with a bit of good old fashioned field craft (i.e. crawling around in the mud) I got close enough to get a passable shot with the x10 zoom on my point & shoot camera.
The rather obliging ringed plover

This run of good patch birds had to come to an end and it now seems to have quietened down again with just a little egret of note in the last couple of days. Still its these purple patches which keep a patch worker such as myself going through the long lean periods. I do consider myself to be very lucky to live so close to somewhere like Port Meadow so that I can just pop out when I want.

A couple of ticks to add to the lists. I did compare how I was doing this year with the same time last year when I was doing my "Big Year" and I am some twenty or thirty ticks behind. I've been very slack this year and haven't bothered to try for all sorts of things that I could easily get if I put my mind to it but I admit that I'm actually enjoying picking and choosing what to see rather than feeling obligated to go for everything.

National Year List 2010
162 greenshank 07/05/2010 Port Meadow
163 wood sandpiper 11/05/2010 Port Meadow

Oxon Year List 2010
136 greenshank 07/05/2010 Port Meadow
137 wood sandpiper 11/05/2010 Port Meadow

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Clayhanger Marsh Hoopoe

As I'd intimated a couple of posts ago (the clue is in the title "Waiting for Something Good") I was getting rather twitchy and there seemed to be good birds turning up everywhere apart from Oxon (except on days when I'm out of the county of course!). I'd also been rather disappointed at the elusiveness of the Marsh Baldon hoopoe so when one seemed to be lingering for some time at Clayhanger Marsh in the West Midlands I started to take note. I wasn't going to be free to venture forth until Tuesday so it was a matter of hoping that it was going to stay for a few more days but fortunately each day it was reported once again so on Tuesday morning, after dealing with a minor domestic crisis (unblocking a toilet!) I set off north just after 9am. I'd done my homework in advance, looking on Google maps so that I knew the layout of the area before hand as well as the route to take and fortunately Clayhanger Marsh was just of the T6 junction on the M6 Toll Road and would take a little over an hour to get to once out of Oxford. Sure enough shortly after 10 I parked in a convenient layby and headed towards the area the bird was known to frequent. It had been reported as being near the slag heap by the disused railway which could be seen from the Google Map images so I knew where to go. As I went I heard sedge warblers warbling away in the reed beds by a nearby pond. I got to the slag heap and started to look around: the general terrain was quite short grass with scattered hawthorn bushes and occasional clumps of gorse. There were also scattered ponds and in the distance was a larger lake. As I scanned I soon spotted a small group of birders in the distance who all seemed to be looking at something intently. Accordingly I quickly made my way over towards them. As I got closer I could see they were looking towards some gorse bushes towards which one person was creeping and there a short distance ahead of him was the hoopoe. This creeping person clearly had no consideration for the other birders who were considerately keeping their distance back on the path. Instead he beckoned to his wife who came up too and they got excellent views for about a minute before of course the bird flew away into a tree behind them and was then lost from sight. I must say that everyone was remarkably polite towards the two flushers who soon went off without any comment.

There were a couple of serious photographers there with monster lenses who decided that the thing to do was to go around to the other side of where the bird was last seen, a walk of some ten minutes, and I decided to tag along with them. As we made our way over there we saw an oystercatcher that feeding at one of the pools. We worked our way towards a copse of trees on the far side of the gorse and then started scanning and creeping slowly forwards. It wasn't long before the hoopoe was spotted again, back in the original place where it had been flushed. The three of us worked our way towards it using the gorse for cover and before long the bird worked its way into clear view about 20 yards away. We were all clicking away with our cameras like crazy though of course I was just digiscoping. The bird performed well for some five minutes before flying off towards the path and then over to the other side of the marsh. One couldn't really get better views than that and as I'd told my VLW that I'd be back for lunch I decided to head back for home. On my journey back to the car I noted several singing lesser whitethroats and a cuckoo .

A distant approach shot of the bird...

...and a couple of close ups

One couldn't really get better views of a hoopoe and as this was my first one in this country (I'd seen them in South Africa as a boy) I was very pleased with my morning's work.

National Year List 2010
161 HOOPOE 04/05/2010 Clayhanger Marsh, W. Mids (LIFER)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Gripped off on my own Patch

Weekends are always difficult for me. As a family man I tend to be doing family stuff at the weekend whereas during the week, as I work for myself, I am more able to get out and about birding. The trouble is it's the other way round for most birders which tends to mean that more birders are out and about at the weekend and so new birds are often found then which is rather frustrating for me. This Saturday was a case in point: we were driving around en famille in deepest darkest Buckinghamshire, about to pick up my younger daughter B from a party when I got a phone call from the Wickster which started along the lines of "what do you think is at Port Meadow at the moment?", "Err, probably some black-tailed godwits" I replied. However, it turned out that Tom was actually imparting rather than seeking knowledge and that someone (Tony Edwards to be specific) had found a spoonbill on the floods there. Now I've been religiously visiting the Meadow twice a day for the last few weeks as I could feel it in my bones that something good was going to turn up. I'd dutifully checked the Meadow that morning (no spoonbill then) but wouldn't you know it, the patch rarity of the spring passage turns up on the one day when I was miles away! The party pick-up dragged on (we had to stay for a while for a chat with the hostess) and all the while I was getting texts from various birders wanting to know what was going on with the spoonbill. Finally about an hour later we make it home and I get my gear together and rush down to the floods to find various birders hanging out there who inform me that the spoonbill left ten minutes ago. Rather gripping and on my own patch too! I wandered around in the rain a bit in case it came back (it didn't) and did a bit of half hearted photography instead.

These swallows all congregating in a tree during the heavy rain were all I could manage by way of photographic consolation for missing the spoonbill

After I'd got over the disappointment, I was actually rather pleased that the patch had managed to turn up a decent rarity again as it had been a while. In fact the last good bird had been another spoonbill, in May last year, though that one had only stayed for long enough for me to see it before it flew off. I have a mental Meadow target (which I may have mentioned before) of wanting to have at least one decent bird in each half of the year. Since I took up birding again in the autumn of 2007 the list for the Meadow is as follows:

2007 H2: pectoral sandpiper, grey phalarope & even the Farmoor buff-bellied pipit (though I don't know who saw this and there is some scepticism about it)
2008 H1: Temminck's Stint (found by me)
2008 H2: American Golden Plover (an "assist" by me)
2009 H1: spoonbill (found by me)
2009 H2: nothing
2010 H1: spoobill (Tony Edwards)

So the second half of '09 is rather letting the side down though in fairness the floods had completely dried up by then so there was no water for the autumn passage. At least with this latest spoonbill the first half of '10 is now secured.

Farmoor in the Wind
With the weather forecast for Sunday promising wind and rain I thought that a trip down to Farmoor would be in order - Farmoor tends to get good birds in poor weather. I first nipped in at the Meadow where there were several grounded birds: a turnstone (county year tick), a wheatear (patch year tick) a flighty dunlin and three little-ringed plovers. With such a good start I headed to Farmoor with high hopes where I met up with several other local birders. The weather was suitably grim and very windy though strangely calm in certain parts of the reservoir though we couldn't work out where the shelter was coming from. We started by trying to work out whether a couple of distant terns were arctics or commons. I though the former and at least one other member of our party agreed. There were lots of swirundines about (a new word that I've created to encompass swifts and hirundines) hawking low over the water when suddenly a hobby was in amongst them chasing this way and that as they scattered, leaving the reservoir suddenly empty. I was keen to find a red-rumped amongst the swallows or an alpine amongst the swifts and gave them all a good grilling but of course to no avail. In fact the only birds of interest that we saw along the causeway were one dunlin, a yellow and a white wagtail. We sought shelter in the hide at the west end where we had another look at the terns. The two that we could see now looked like commons so I jokingly invoked the four bird theory. Someone else who had been to the reservoir that morning had claimed arctic and Dai John did see a couple that day but it remains "unproven" on my year list. On the way back I lingered behind the others, looking for my elusive rare swirundine but again without luck. The others sped off to Otmoor to look for a pair of common cranes which had come up on the pager but I had family duties to attend to and had already seen a pair this year at Farmoor so went back home.

On my recent Otmoor visit I didn't managed to see the Egyptian goose that was there so I was pleased when one turned up on Port Meadow a few days later. This shot shows my typical tendency to over-sharpen my photos but as I only do digiscoping or long distance point & shoot camera work (as with this bird) the main issue is in getting rid of blurriness so I usually settle for the surreal over-sharp look instead.

Five black-tailed godwits have been about the only waders around on the floods at present so I've been taking lots of photos of them. I finally managed to get off a decent digiscoped shot of one of them.

Just a few ticks to add to the year lists.

National Year List 2010
160 common sandpiper 29/04/2010 Port Meadow

Oxon Year List 2010
133 egyptian goose 29/04/2010 Port Meadow
134 common sandpiper 29/04/2010 Port Meadow
135 turnstone 02/05/2010 Port Meadow