Migration, don't you just love it!
That twinge of excitement as you wake in the morning to see if that clear spell overnight has brought anything with it. You anxiously await the text to confirm the presence of a rarity down the road while thrashing the patch in attempts to find your own 'mega'.
Sadly, mega's were lacking. In other words there were non, however, a nice scattering of migrants fresh in is enough to keep this midlands birder satisfied.
Following my work at Earlswood, I headed down the road to the lakes where a stunning juvenile BLACK TERN was showing. Within a few minutes I had picked up the bird feeding along the south shore of Engine pool, however repeatedly dropped onto pipes adjacent to the 'island' to perch, which, from the shore, gave stunning views!
I watched the bird for some time, being much closer than the bird I found at Blithfield Reserviour, both in flight and 'on the deck' before moving onwards to the Causeway between Engine and Windmill pool. From here I has stunning views of the Tern, at times down to a mere 10ft as very strong headwinds pushed it closer to the bank, directly passed where I was standing.
A Grey Wagtail was the only other 'Of note' bird, just because it strolled past me at around the same range as the Tern flew.
From here it was the roost at Upton Warren, complete with a nice array of Waders. The juvenile Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover remained (The adult had departed mid-week). Beside the residents, 4 Green Sand, 4 Common Sand and 2 migrant Snipe were also found probing the soft mud around the edges of the flashes. As we sat, a party of 3 Yellow Wagtails flew over south calling, as did a Common Tern.
The next morning (1/09) that feeling arose again, and it was straight to my phone to see a local 'grapevine' text. LITTLE STINT at the flashes.
As you would expect, patch birding was delayed slightly so I could catch up with this scarce inland arctic wader. As with most autumn LITTLE STINTS it was a juvenile bird and initially was feeding exclusively at the back of the flash among the base of the reeds, with the occasional Green Sand of Teal walking past, revealing just how miniscule of a bird it was.
Some time later, after having not very satisfying views the bird started to wade along the shoreline, before flying onto the near side of the 'channel', slowly working its way closer and closer until eventually it creeped out from beside the 'main island'
Completely worth the wait, Juvenile Little Stint is a stunner of a bird, but sadly one that is not guaranteed on a county yearlist this far inland. Needless to say, I left a happy birder.
Overnight, a single Green and Common Sand had left, leaving 3 of both, and the 2 Snipe remained, but new in was a Redshank, the first I had seen at this particular site all year!
Another grapevine text, however this time in West midlands county revealed the presence of a juvenile Shelduck at Sheepwash Urban park, which, being the site rarity it is warranted a fairly impromptu visit, within minutes, the Shelduck was located, feeding on the only suitable section of habitat on site, (note the litter also present). Also recently arrived was the first Pochard of the winter, a drake which was asleep in the favoured wintering area.
Yes I know, I'm ashamed, I twitched a Shelduck, but the real laughing point was that I dropped in again the next day with the scope to get some photos, with the objective to give a digi-scoping demonstration to another birder. While walking along the raised track, a familiar call had me looking to the sky to see a superb RING-NECKED PARAKEET circling above me, calling constantly, before after a short time flying off north. Another new site bird for me! As luck would have it, my digi-scoping companion was just around the corner at the time, and also heard it calling as it flew around.
Amazingly, the Shelduck remained, as did the Pochard, but a surprise was given when an adult HOBBY flew over the pool and proceeded to hawk dragonflies over johns lane pool. All in all, one of the better days I've had at Sheepwash recently!