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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Lesser Yellowlegs at Porth Hellick

1st winter Lesser Yellowlegs showing in front of the Sussex hide at Porth Hellick

 Frustrating day today! With the strong SW I wanted to go seawatching first thing but that was out of the question as my first taxi was at 07.30. Anyways, the foggy conditions delayed the flights and as a result, I didn't finish work until 18.30. However, I had an hour off from 17.00 and made my ways to Deep Point with Seth Gibson and Higgo to see the large shearwaters moving in there 1000's like they were today off south west Ireland.
  As we approached Deep Point in me wagon, we were goin very slow because Higgo was pushing it. Looking through the window I saw a bird flying west silhouetted against the overcast skies some 150 meters away. I shouted 'Wader!' and immediately thought it was the Buff-breasted sandpiper. Seth got his bins on it and said 'No it's not, it's got long legs and looks like a dainty shank' I lowered the window and just got my bins on it before it disappeared out of sight towards Porth Hellick. What I observed was no white in the wings, ruling out Redshank and I think we all knew that it was too small for a Greenshank. Although Higgo didn't see it, because he was clapped out on the floor from exhaustion after pushing me wagon. What I did see in the brief seconds of the bird, some 300 meters away, was a white uppertail. 'Surely that's got to be a Lessrlegs' I exclaimed. Higgo panting replied 'F*&k off!!' I begged for us to make our ways to Porth Hellick and check it out. Higgo had other ideas and wasn't interested and wanted to see all those 1000's of shearwaters that we were missing while arguing over this wader. Higgo won but I had other ideas.
  However, when we passed Porth Hellick on our ways to Deep Point, we noticed that Martin Goodey's quad was parked on the side of the road. With this in mind, I called him to check if our wader had dropped into Porth Hellick. In the end I text him with 'Maybe a Lesserlegs at Porth Hellick!' If I couldn't get through to Robin who we knew was following us up to Deep Point, I was goin to leave them two behind and look for it myself as I believed it was going to turn out to be a Lesserlegs! I was asked to go back to work earlier than I hoped and Rocky Robin diverted down to Porth Hellick and smashed the gate down with his car to get there as quickly as possible!!
  Rocky Robin called me while I was back at the airport and started to describe the wader in question and everything else that happened to him while watching the wader. He started off with, as I approached the hide, I noticed a leaf fell off the tree. Then I thought of the time when a leaf fell off a tree last September, or was it October? Was it even last year? I looked up and saw Yellow-browed Warbler! If it weren't for that leaf, I would never of found that. After an hour, he finally got around to the habitat in the right area of where the wader was. I thought, well, at least were getting somewhere now. He went on to say that the bird was on the far side and in bad light and he thought that it might be a Wood Sandpiper. As soon as he said that, I knew that it was goin to be a Lesserlegs! I went through a list of features for him to look for to confirm Lesserlegs. I had already spoken to Bob Dawson about the brief sighting as it flew over, when I saw him as I was leaving Deep Point. So he knew the score and I called him to go and sort it out. Ten minutes later I got the call that it was indeed a 'large shearwater!' No, only messing about. It was a Lesser Yellowlegs! 
  I still couldn't get down there as I was still working. I let everyone know, but trying to get through to the two chuckle brothers seawatching, was impossible as there is no reception at Deep Point. I finally got to Porth Hellick at 18.45 and bumped into Rocky Robin on the road, who was trying to get his car out of the gate that he had smashed through! I was goin to go and get Laurel and Hardy before I had even seen the bird on the deck, but Rocky Robin, the great man that he is, was already making his way to get them in his beat up Batmobile.
  The lesserlegs was at point blank range in front of the Sussex hide and I gleefully aimed my lens out of the window only to discover that in my haste, I didn't have a camera card! Shite! Luckly the two muppeteers arrived and to my relief Seth passed me over his camera card.
  While observing the lesserlegs we all had a great laugh as I heard the story of what happened at Deep Point while I was away working. Higgo began telling me that after seeing zero shearwaters and zero Wryneck in the quarry nearby that Bob Dawson saw earlier, Rocky Robin turned up, Higgo asked 'Where's that Shropshire tw*t!?' To which Rocky Robin replied 'Watching a good bird, I think' Then he told them the story of the leaf. Seth said 'Leaf it out Rocky Robin and get to the point' Rocky Robin told them that it was a Lesser Yellowlegs after all and Higgo said 'F*>k off' (Anyone who has got this far in reading this crazy account will notice that Higgo only has one phrase and it ends with off!) He also said 'That Shropshire tw*t has finally got it right'
 We went to look at the Temmink's Stint from the other hide before having one last look at the Lesser Yellowlegs before dark.

There can't be many records, if any all, of Lesser Yellowlegs and Temmink's Stint feeding on the same patch of water at the same time

Temmink's Stint hanging out with Dunlin and Common Sandpiper

If only Higgo had a moustache you could mistake him for Olive Hardy

NO, NO ,NO!!

Doh!! Higgo being distraught after me getting something right Classic Laurel and Hardy duo

  This morning 45 Cory Shearwater were off Horse Point, St Agnes and Paul Buxton had 43 with several Sooty Shearwater off Peninnis Head this afternoon, St Mary's. Paul also had a Wryneck next to tennis courts on The Garrison.

  Graham Gorden is taking a short break from St Agnes and is spending the weekend in Penzance. Yesterday he went and found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on Marazion Beach!

Watch Higgo and Seth get excited in the hide

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear you've got Gibson residing safe and sound on Scilly. We were wondering where he'd gone!