I love an American visitor, (especially when they come in twos from D.C.) but back to birds!!! I will begin with yesterday and the exciting news that we actually got two moths, a common Quaker and a common plume (shown below) some people are getting good numbers of moths now but we are making a slow start!
Yesterday was freezing and a perfect day for staying home and trying to sort some photos ready for printing. This hail came during the morning and made me more pleased than ever that we had chosen not to venture out. The forecast was for fairer weather tomorrow so we were considering some options.
As it looked the only decent day this week we felt we wanted to make the most of it and had just to decide if we would pop up to the coast, probably to Cley or venture further afield. A visitor from America has been at Rutland water for a couple of days and it would be a life tick for us both, it is however a couple of hours away and no guarantee of it still being there. We we got up this morning the lure of seeing a Long-billed dowitcher was strong so we decided to go especially as there were also some of the less common grebes there.
Flasks filled and we were off, it is thankfully a very straight forward journey and the sun shone all the way, in fact I was fearful I may look like someone from ‘Close Encounters’ by the time we arrived! We discovered the best hide to go to to try to see the bird and I was full of optimism as we said hi to a group of people just leaving as we were about to enter . They replied pleasantly but with the news that the bird hadn’t been seen for a couple of hours, oh bother!
The hide was busy but we found a space and had been sitting for no more than a minute when out came the Dowitcher, excellent. We watched it for an hour or so although he was distant, quick moving and favouring hiding amongst the tufts!
We saw it that is the main thing but sadly I didn’t get any good pictures but at least I have record shots. I don’t know if it comes closer to the hide at times or not but that would be the only way I could get decent ones I think.
We were really pleased to have seen it and thought it worth the effort of visiting Rutland. As time was limited we decided to move on as the grebes were a short drive away. On route back to the car park we saw a group of ten Redwing, a bird we have seen fewer of this winter than usual, I guess mild conditions have given them less recon to leave their home.
We drove to where we though was the right place to find we needed to climb over a gate which my short legs and Ian’s dodgy knee we decided against! We scoped the water from where we stood and saw a Red-necked grebe, several Great-crested grebes but not what we were after. Further investigation lead us to move the car again to a better spot. By this time it was pouring but as we got out of the car we saw four birds flying and I joked that they may be our birds. They were indeed what we were looking for, three Black-necked grebes and one Slavonian grebe and thankfully they re-landed. They were far off and the rain made viewing them both difficult and not terribly pleasant! We met a couple of chaps there one of whom I had ‘spoken’ to on Birdforum a little while ago, about a Dowitcher!
The journey home was slightly different to the outward one as it poured most of the way but having got one life tick plus two year ones we had no complaint.
Well sorry that the pictures today are well below par but when you see this last one, showing the group of four grebes, you may appreciate the others more!!!
Total birds now 156