Today I should have been writing about my experiences of Stilt Sand and Caspian Gull in Northumberland, but rather predictably the birding gods had other ideas. The wader had been there for a few weeks and seemingly every birder and his dog had made the trip to see it. And then a Caspian Gull turned up last week close to the Stilt Sand so I pencilled in today for a long overdue ‘twitch’. Well that was the plan. But then the Stilt Sand buggered off at the end of last week, and the gull has buggered off today. So that was the end of that. Bah.
Still, this gives me the perfect opportunity to shamelessly revisit the Stilt Sandpiper that I found on the Solway six years ago. My bird was in juvenile plumage, in fact it was only the 3rd time that a juvenile had been recorded in Britain (others were in Lancashire in 1967 and Shetland in 2002 – and none have been recorded since). The rarity of the plumage, and the fact that another ‘county first’ was available at the same time at Walney Island (a Rustic Bunting), meant that it was a busy 10 days at Campfield. Ah, them was the days! On one memorable day I went straight down from the Stilt Sand to see the Rustic Bunting at Walney, and then took in a Red-backed Shrike at Haverigg on the way back. Trust me, days like that in Cumbria are once-in-a-lifetime!!
Anyway, enough of this nostalgia, back to the here-and-now. Once again I did the patch where there was lots of birds to search through but nowt rare, best I could find was 3 Greenshank (my first of the year!), 10 Blackwits (8 juvs), and my first juv Knot of the year. Exciting eh!