Monday, 17 September 2012

Two go mad in Dorset

About 2 weeks ago news filtered through various birding grapevines and news services of an extremely rare bird visiting the shores of mainland Britain. This bird, so rare that it has only been seen once before in the U.K. and that was over 13 years ago, was found on a small RSPB reserve near Weymouth called Lodmoor. Initially identified as a Long-billed Dowitcher, this bird was eventually seen to be the much rarer Short-billed Dowitcher, a very similar looking bird, but different in a couple of small areas. Obviously, the bill is shorter, but still extremely long and not much use to the likes of me unless the two birds would be standing next to eachother. The other, crucial I.D. feature is that this bird had barred tertial feathers, showing it to be a juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher, the Long-billed has plain tertial feathers.

Two mad individuals, myself and my friend Chris Orders decided to go for this 'mega' and found ourselves at Lodmoor at 6.30 in the morning after having driven through the night. The bird was present, feeding distantly with a Common Snipe and putting on a fantastic show. We stayed for two hours to take this bird in, the rarest bird that I have ever seen in this country, both taking photographs, me with my 'Bridge' camera (my digiscoping gear seems to have gone kapput!) and Chris with his digiscoping set-up. The light never seemed to be right, on arrival it was too dark and when the sun did get up it started to bleach everything out, but below are a selection of stills and a couple of videos. Enjoy.





All the above photos and videos were taken by me (the best of a bad bunch).
Copyright Chris Orders
A real 'mega' twitch for a 'mega' bird, but not the end of the story as another 'mega' was seen by us, this time by journeying to Essex, but that is for another time.

22 comments:

  1. Real joy to see these rare birds. not much chance these days of me getting to see them so thanks for sharing.

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    1. It is my pleasure, I am glad you enjoyed seeing the pictures, even though they aren't what I would call 'amazing'!
      J

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  2. Just jealous, been to Lodmoor. Well done on the Mega and photos, what's next I wonder!

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    1. Thanks Mike, you will have to wait and see what is coming up! ;)
      J

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  3. Congrats on your mega sighting!!! Well done, John! I saw 2 Dowitchers this weekend also...but I have a hard time distinguishing between the long & short. I guessed it to be long, but I could be mistaken. The Long-billed are more common here. The suspense is mounting on your next sighting.......

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    1. Thanks Tammy,
      Yes, I saw your stunning photos on your latest posting. You are lucky to have these birds as regular sightings, lovely things! I hope the suspense doesn't cause any illness! ;)
      J

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  4. Enjoyed these fine photos of a bird I'll probably never see in the flesh.....or is it "in the feathers".

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    1. Thanks John,
      I would say 'in the feathers'! I am unlikely to see this bird in its natural environment, ie The States, but this was the next best thing.
      J

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  5. Congratulations on a fine bird John.
    Excellent video too.

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    1. Thanks Keith, hope you enjoyed it!
      J

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  6. Congrats on your sighting of the Dowitcher. It is great that you got some nice photos too.

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    1. Thanks Eileen, that's very kind of you!
      J

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  7. That certainly was a mega twitch John. A great bird to see, congratulations and we'll done with the photos and video to!

    Looking forward to twitch number two :-)

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    1. Thank you Jan,
      Yes, still feeling the effects! ;)
      Twitch number 2 will be posted shortly.
      J

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  8. Great, catching the Dowitcher alive, you can't beat it.

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    1. Thanks Bob, never even seen a dead one! ;)
      J

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  9. What? You came to see a rare bird in Essex? That hardly ever happens :-)
    The video was fascinating. The Dowitcher certainly seems at home here. Maybe it won't be so rare now.
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Hi Bazza,
      I know there are definitely some funny birds in Essex! ;)
      Funnily enough, another one has turned up in the Scillies, they are like buses, you wait for ages for one and then two turn up at the same time!
      J

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  10. Another great tick John. Lodmoor doesn't normally produce much in the way of excitement, but this is special.

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    1. Thanks Roy,
      Lodmoor looks like quite a good reserve, maybe now it's on the map other things will start to be noted?!
      J

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  11. Wonderful images John.. I so pleased you saw it after driving so far.. would have gone if I had tried lol.

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    1. Thanks Andrew,
      I think that I would have cried if it had not been there on arrival. It's still there now, so it's not showing any signs of moving on.
      J

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