Thought I better go and see something as the way this autumn is going it might be my only hope. So I went to see the adult Long-toed Stint at St.Aidan's RSPB Reserve near Leeds. A world tick.
Typically Long-toed Stint is supposed to be quite an upright bird often with stretched neck, like a small Wood Sandpiper. Not in Yorkshire. This one was hunched up trying to survive the North. Plumage wise it looked a bit like a shrunken Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. A really distinctive little thing, really quite fat and stunted. Also striking big dark scapulars. The legs didn't look very yellow from the distance we were at. Better photo HERE.
Long-toed Stint on right with Dunlins
At one point all the Lapwings and other waders it was with got flushed but instead of spooking it crouched.
The diagnostic trailing legs beyond the tail in flight. Pictured here (bottom bird) with Dunlin.
A few other waders around including 14 Dunlin, 4 Ruff (above), 3 Black-tailed Godwit (below), 1 Green Sandpiper, 300+ Lapwing and 20+ Snipe. Also had a few 'northern birds' such as a small group of Goosander, a Goldeneye and a Black-necked Grebe (about 12 pairs breed at this reserve). Ebird list HERE .
So another addition to the 'Birds I've Twitched' list (not including patch twitches, autumn rarity hunting trips to hotspots or days out birding anyway). I also twitched a Great Knot (at Breydon Water I think), the Long-billed Murrelet at Dawlish, the Cream-coloured Courser on Scilly, the Western Sandpiper at Brownsea Island, a Masked Shrike in Scotland, a Lesser Sand Plover at Rimac and I think that is more or less it. Might have to do a bit more twitching as get to see new places and do a bit of exploring at same time in addition to getting to see these little feathered superstars.
The forecast looks awful for rarity hunting (could be some more common bird vis mig in the lighter head wind areas) over the next few days (moderate local westerlies) and next week the theme continues but pulling in air from the south which could be good off the south coast for moths and seabirds- the plan at the moment is to twitch for next day or two, then go home for family stuff for a couple of days and then head to south coast next week. It doesn't look great for Corvo either next week, although there are some westerlies in the region and basically anything can happen out there especially if with ship assisted birds.