Getting up early has certainly paid off for me at weekends with regard to rare birds in the past so, at 7-30am, I settled down in the “small” room with brew & my mobile phone. I decided to check Rare Bird Alert and was very pleased to be sat down upon reading, “Hudsonian Godwit in Somerset”. A hastily prepared text was sent out to birding mates regarding making up a team to go and see the bird. Bob K rung and we decided to go straight away. We set of at 8-30am and via M60, M6 & M5 and 8 sets of road works (with only one being worked on) along with positive news that the bird was still present. One of our “sleepy” mates sent me a text as we passed Birmingham to say he would come along!! We reached the  A39 towards Shapwick. At this stage we thought we were getting there then a couple of missed turns and an argument with a rather large tractor caused a little distress! We arrived at Ashcott Corner RSPB car park at 12-20pm, 220 miles later, well drove Bob K. The brand new car park was almost full and there were lots of birders present, so the question was asked and a man said, “still there and asleep for the last 2 hours”. Think I would have been asleep a lot longer after(may be) having flown across the North Atlantic. A confident, hurried walk of 300 yards to Meare Heath followed and a flock of around a 100 Black tailed Godwits were seen. We were quickly directed onto the bird and there it was sleeping! It looked much darker and smaller than its companions with a deep chestnut belly which was finely barred. After seeing a Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Wood Sandpiper and a Greenshank, we watched the godwit stretch open its wings and saw the black under wings and its tri coloured upturned beak. It then flew and a small white wing bar was seen and very distinctive tail pattern. It began to feed in amongst the Black tailed Godwits and the size was apparent. The bird had a greyish head and stood shorter in the pool on grey legs. It did not feed with a “sewing machine” action, but a more slow probing action was noted. We checked out a nearby hide and heard and saw a Bittern and another Hobby, then Cetti`s Warbler, Great White Egret, Garden Warbler and a cracking Whitethroat. Bob K has been to this area before and everything he said about is true, its a cracking reserve. We managed to miss a Wood Warbler on the car park as a little rain fell. We left the reserve at 3-30pm, the Hudsonian Godwit was still present. We later found out that it was gone by 4-10pm. We managed to see 57 species with a “lifer” for us both and about 9 new birds for the year. A steady drive home with us calling at Gloucester services farm shop for Bob K to stock up on steak etc (Sue would have killed him if he would have forgotten) We reached home around 8-30pm a great trip to “Cider County”

Dave O.


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