Sunday, 4 September 2016

Purple Swamphen & Spotted Crake on big Humber double

Western Purple Swamphen
Very pleased twitchers outside livery
Destination One
Destination two
Spotted Crake with nice size comparison with Moorhen
Spotted Crake
Spotted Crake

Spotted Crake video

When a Western Purple Swamphen reappeared on the news line at the end of last week I was delighted it was not at Minsmere (4 hours each way). This time it was reported from Alkborough, Lincolnshire. A quick check on the google maps told me it was within my twitch zone at 2 1/2 hrs and I could shave a bit of time off that with an early weekend start, and so it proved correct.

Quickly parking up I like many others did a large square of the stunning reserve before heading back up the steep hill to a viewpoint outside a livery that looked down on a pool out of view of the main hide. Despite reports of birders having a long wait the Swamphen kindly appeared in the left hand corner and then showed well, albeit distantly through scope along the reed edge. 

Reading the reports on the internet this species had northward dispersal from southern France due to a drought. We will have to wait and see if this bird is accepted given the evidence available to date. The local birders were very happy to show all the day visitors their super reserve and other species on show included eight Spoonbill, Spotted Redshank, Avocet, Ruddy Shelduck, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Heron & Hobby.   

A species that I've never had any luck in finding are Spotted Crake. I've always fancied finding one at the pits, one for the future hopefully.  When I noticed a juvenile (showing well) was reported at North Cave, about 40 minutes from Alkborough, it couldn't be missed. Making good time around the Humber I was quickly parked up and marching round the reserve to the viewpoint. On arrival there were about a dozen birder watching the Crake on the far side of the lagoon about 200 metres away. Apparently the bird had been seen on the island closer but I was not complaining having seen my second lifer of the day. Sadly the forecasted rain duly arrived not giving me chance to explore North Caves fully before setting back down the motorway for Worcestershire.

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