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

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