Sunday, 24 October 2010

Port Meadow - Lesser Yellowlegs

Saturday was a case of wrong place at the wrong time. Got up, seemed sunny, so headed up Clee Hill. Got there to find the car park occupied by local hoodies smoking weed - so not somewhere I particularly wanted to leave my car, and then after moving elsewhere, the heavens opened and temperature dropped.

Nothing to see, I headed back to Upton Warren, met up with Bob and we both sat in the spider hide as the heavens opened again. Only highlight being watching the bittern fly across the lake towards the car park, though too dull and too distant for anything other than record shots.

So, on to Sunday and what a change. After seeing Gareth's (Blockley) shots of the lesser yellowlegs down at Port Meadow near Oxford, I decided to try somewhere new. I say "new", as it's not somewhere I've been birding before, though one of my favourite pubs (The Trout Inn) is just up the road.

Parked at the free car park and walked across the meadow, bumping into a local 'tog who informed me that it was showing well, but that he'd not seen it for 20 mins since a sprawk had put everything up. He thought it'd gone to the far end, which is where I considered walking until I spoke to another birder (Pete Styles) who reckoned it'd be better waiting by the favoured feeding area.

So we did and it looked promising when a ruff arrived... followed shortly after by a female ruff. Both gave good photo opps and for a while it looked like they would be the only thing I'd get and distant shots of the huge flocks of golden plovers. But, patience won out again and after about an hour a wader glided into view, fluttered around and settled nearby.

Terrific, and it came closer as we waited. Reminded me of a redshank or greenshank, but with yellow legs (funny that!) and seemed most at home on the flooded grass. Didn't even move when a mad hound galloped past along the shoreline between me and it.

After it had pottered pretty close, then turned back away again, we both decided to call it a day and head off.
I was between minds as to bother heading down originally. Bloody glad I did!

1 comment:

Max Silverman said...

Excellent shots again Pete.