Last night, with the moon down and the skies blackened, myself and Sarah headed up to the Ceri Ridgeway in search of more Golden Plovers as part of an ongoing colour ringing program funded by the EcologyMatters Trust. Things didn't start too well as when we got there there was already someone else going around the fields with a lamp! This turned out to be a local farmer on fox control and thankfully he soon headed off to pastures new.
First run round the fields produced a single Snipe and two Golden Plovers then the lamp packed in!! Walking back to the car to search for a solution the lamp suddenly burst back into life just in time to pick out a plover not far in front of me. Stalking up on it I was about 25ft off when I started to think the supercillium looked a bit bright? - a juv Dotterel! The heart started racing a bit for the last few paces, and I know we aren't supposed to but just couldn't help myself with a quick air punch and a bit of inappropriate language once it was safely in a bird-bag!
An over-sharpened iPhone shot of a late (in the year, it isn't deceased!) juvenile Dotterel. A completely unexpected but welcome encounter of a species not previously recorded at this site
Now running on high octane we manage to ring a total of 11 Golden Plover, 4 Jack Snipe, 2 Common Snipe, 5 Fieldfare and of course a Dotterel. Congratulations to Sarah who managed her first few self-caught waders, including a Jack Snipe and 2 Golden Plovers..
2 of the 4 Jack Snipe caught last night. A total of at least 7 different birds were flushed!
Never satisfied of course the night was marred just slightly by missing out on a 'hat-trick" when I missed the first Woodcock seen this winter. Ah well next time!