31 May 2008

Avocet - at last!

A couple of weeks ago I said in a Blog here that the Avocets, which I kept on missing at Willington Gravel Pits, could run but they couldn’t hide forever. Well today the chase finally came to an end - Avocet is my 119th species recorded within 10 miles of home, and this time I have counted correctly.

I was at work this morning when my mobile phone rang, it was Chris, a local birder, and he had news of an Avocet that had been seen at Willington and with it was a Knot - two birds he knew I needed for my "10-Mile List". For three hours I carried on at work, all the time wondering if the birds would stay put or move on. The weather was dry, bright and sunny with very little cloud, not the sort of weather to hold migrants down for too long.

At 12:30PM I left work, took the quickest route home on the mountain bike, grabbed my binoculars, ‘scope and camera and set off in the car for Willington. By 1:15PM I was starting the walk from the car to Canal Scrape, temporary home to the Avocet and Knot. Once at the scrape a quick scan of the area revealed the Avocet, it was asleep and not showing too well but at least it was there this time! The Knot took a little longer to find but it too was still there and it was quite clearly a Knot!

After a short while the Avocet decided that it had slept for long enough and it started to feed along the water’s edge. Then, without warning, the Avocet was airborne and gaining height. For a few moments it flew around high over the scrape before heading off towards the main reserve. It looked as though the Avocet had landed again but a full search of the area later in the afternoon drew a blank, the area was Avocet free yet again! This time I hadn’t dipped out though!

My "10-Mile List" now stands at 120 species. Tomorrow I’m off in search of one or two tricky species and, to be honest, I’m not all that confident of adding to my list.

The Willington Avocet.

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