Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Twitchmeister Meets The Twitchmeister

On Tuesday night a shout came from the sitting room . . . "Can we go and see the Stilt Sandpiper?" Geth had snuck onto BirdGuides behind my back and was checking out what was about.

And so, the following morning found the two of us at Coombe Hill Meadows Nature Reserve in Gloucestershire yomping through mud and flooded fields in search of a lifer for both of us. We were told that the bird had flown from the Gunton Hide to the 'Long Pool'. Another yomp of a half a mile or so. The bird wasn't showing there either and the hide was packed (and as hot as a sauna) so we hung around outside waiting for the bird to show. Within ten minutes out charged Lee Evans, irritated that nobody knew where the bird was. Off he went back to the Gunton Hide where he duly rang back with the news that the bird had been re-round. The hide emptied as faster than Usain Bolt out of his blocks.

Geth charging back to the Gunton Hide

And so it was that the Twitchmeister met the Twitchmeister. We were packed into the Gunton Hide like sardines with Lee in the front providing a running commentary on where the bird was. It was proving difficult to see because it kept on moving behind some tall grass. Geth was beginning to lose it so I called out to Lee to ask whether he'd be willing for the Boy Birder to squeeze through to have a look through his 'scope. He kindly agreed and so the Geth saw his first Stilt Sand through Lee Evans' scope!

Almost completely obscured - Geth looks through LGRE's scope

After a while the Stilt Sand moved out into the open, people got good views and the hide gradually emptied, leaving both Geth and me to enjoy the bird at our leisure.

Photography don't get much better than this!

After we'd had our fill of the Stilt Sand the hide's attention turned to finding the Wood Sandpiper that had been seen there that morning. We all searched for about five or six minutes when the shout went out "I've got it!" It was Geth. Of all the guys in the hide he'd found the bird standing motionless on a muddy bank. Lifer number two of the day for the boy (#184).

Geth picking out his second lifer of the day.

This was a nice reserve: it also had Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, several Green Sands, Little Egrets and sadly the obligatory dozens of Canada Geese. It obviously has good potential for rarities - if only we had somewhere similar in Glamorgan.

To complete a very good day we visited Saul Warth on the way home where we duly found the Red-necked Phalarope (lifer number three of the day for Geth, #185) as well as some more Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshank, Lapwing, Redshank, loads of grotty looking ducks and a Kingfisher.

A cracking day. If you're going to Coombe Hill Meadows - take your wellies.


Tim Hall said...

Was LGRE wearing his usual patent leather pumps? Did he attempt to flush said bird?

Dan said...

Can't say I noticed in the scrum in the hide. With the conditions underfoot he would have had to have been wearing patent leather waders if he'd wanted to flush anything.