Friday, 20 April 2012

West Midlands Mega!

Thursday 19th April 2012

With the mini-influx of Black-winged Stilts  into our country at the end of last week (with single birds in Dorset, Lincs and Rutland), it was hopeful that one might rock up in the region at some stage. My money was on Staffs last weekend, particularly after the Rutland bird took flight last Friday evening, but alas it went the wrong way and ended up in Lincolnshire instead.

I was buried in reports at work yesterday afternoon when I picked up my phone and saw the following text from Martyn:

'Mega 2 BW Stilts Clayhangar...........'

I think my response went something along the lines of *#£**#**%£!!!

I tried to carry on working and remain calm, but got increasingly agitated when eventually the iPhone notifications started to arrive (sort it out Birdguides!). It wasn't looking good with me 2 buses away from home (through rush-hour Brum) and Martyn also trapped at work and with other commitments to attend to.

These were too good a bird to miss locally though, so I managed to slip away about 4.00pm. Despite this, nail-biting traffic jams ensued and Martyn was also stuck on the motorway. Would we dip? Of course Martyn had seen the Croxall bird in 1991, but this would be a significant regional tick for me. It's fair to say I was rather tense.

Thankfully the journey from Great Barr to Pelsall was a far more straightforward jaunt. Wellies were in order (expensive ones for the welly connoisseurs, of course) and a swift but muddy trudge and scrambling a couple of barbed wire fences in an effort to catch up with the crowd.

Thankfully we arrived in time for about 10 minutes worth of crippling views of this pair of Black-winged Stilts (first West Midlands county record) as they fed on the swag. They soon took flight and were lost to view, although they did return before nightfall - see Clayhangar Blog for full details of yesterday's events.

The crowd reassembled to scan the islands of the main pool to see if the birds could be relocated - they weren't. Oystercatcher, 2 Common Tern and 2 Goosander were present.

Above images appear courtesy of Mark Rayment

A most enjoyable twitch and great to see so many familiar faces.

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