Sunday, 16 September 2012

Another Mega! (15th September)

My parents kindly agreed to make the diversion on my trip down to Exeter University via Lodmoor for my second mega in 2 days (I'm getting rather spoilt!).  I arrived with my brother on site at around 10:50am and it took no more than a brief "is it still showing" to get a brief glance through somebodies scope and there before my eyes was my first ever SHORT-BILLED DOWITCER!  As with the Baillon's it was a juvenile and showing very badly but in its defense, it was permanently on view.  On my arrival it was sat on a small clump of dead reads with its head and upper chest being the only features on show.  I was about to leave after waiting for an hour for it to move, when it got up, turned, giving a good profile view and revealing the barred tertials to me for the first time.  Disappointingly it soon sat down again.  After another wait, it shuffled occasionally and when it finally decided to get up again........ it climbed down the opposite side out of view!  No panic, it soon emerged between one of the gaps and began feeding for a prolonged period of time up and down the edge of the dead reads.  The only regret was forgetting my digital compact camera to take a few digi-scope shots so I had to use my brothers massive camera (the size of a small cannon) and took some record shots (on their way).

record shot of the Short-billed Dowitcher, very pleased to finally set eyes on it

At one point, a Water Rail emerged from the same area in which the dowitcher was feeding and hurtled itself at the precious mega, causing the dowitcher to panic and fly a short distance a little further away from its attacker.  What a way to treat an American visitor!  I just about squeezed in a little birding before we had to continue down to Cornwall which produced a single Wheatear on the mud, 7 Ringed Plovers a flock of 10 Dunlin,  1 Sandwich Tern and a Cetti's Warbler bursting occasionally into short brief song.

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