The clocks have gone forward and tonight was my first evening visit this year. It proved quite memorable. I got to the flash and immediately saw a Redshank and a larger wader feeding in the centre. I was vaguely thinking it could be a Ruff as I erected my scope, and was therefore completely taken aback to discover it was actually a Spotted Redshank.
Spotted Redshank sketches
I called John Yardley and suggested he get here as quickly as possible. While I was waiting for John I started sketching this very active bird. After about 15 minutes I looked up to find it was no longer there. Fortunately I then relocated it on the furthest flash. It was basically in winter plumage but with several dark crescents and blotches on the sides of the lower breast and flanks. The drawings shown are coloured versions based on the originals. John arrived, and then Mark Islip and John's mate Scott. Meanwhile I rang Mike Inskip, who managed to get there from south Birmingham in failing light. A distant Peregrine provided a distraction, but there didn't seem to be much else of note on the pools. As I was leaving I heard the unmistakable call of a Grey Partridge. I called the others over, and I think at least Scott heard it, although it soon stopped calling. I had resigned myself to not recording this species this year because the releases stopped in 2010, and I hadn't seen one since last March. The Spotted Redshank was my fourth patch tick this year, taking me to 136, and the year list has now reached 78.
Just to reiterate the point I made on my last posting. If this bird is there tomorrow, could all birders please stick to viewing from the footpath.