Monday 17 September 2012

A glutton for punishment

I returned to Lodmoor this weekend in the hope of improving on my record shots of the Short-billed Dowitcher from the previous week. Well, it's not every day you get a major rarity within 20 miles of home is it? I'm not sure I succeeded, but I certainly got good telescope views and a variety of shots. Eventually.

A heavily cropped shot - the Dowitcher was just about at the limit of the range of my 400mm lens.

Probably the best shot of the day - digiscoped as the Dowitcher paused during half an hour of otherwise frenetic feeding.

Arriving some time before 0800, the Dowitcher was the closest I have seen it but directly against the light so photography was a dead loss. Then after only a few minutes on view something flushed it and it flew a short distance before walking behind its favoured patch of vegetation. Quite a lot of the largish crowd which was assembling on Saturday morning turned up soon after this, and they were in for a long wait.

A flight shot taken in the early morning light showing the 'more-white-than-black' tail and Spotshank-like white cigar shape reaching from the rump up the back

The next time it opened it's wings - about four hours later!

A bill and face were eventually spotted protruding from the reeds from an acute angle, and then it was only a matter of time before the rest of the bird revealed itself. Four hours worth of time in fact. Probably the longest I have had to wait for a rarity that I have already seen! With hindsight, I could have gone to Portland and back for a better view of the Monarch which I saw in poor light on Sunday and not missed anything. Still, the weather was fine, spirits were good and it was a chance to chat to others who had come from as far away as Brussels to see this bird.

Another view of the tail as the Dowitcher lands

While feeding among the vegetation in the shallows the Dowitcher occasionally waded into open, deeper water

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