Wednesday 1 May 2019

Great evening visit to Pit 60 - Monday 29 April

Hearing the news of the Barwit and Whimbrel (both amazing birds for Pit 60 regulars), I left work as early as I could. However as I first had to go home to get the optics, it wasn't until about 18:20 that I finally made it to the North Shore Hide. Presumably there had been some birders and photographers there earlier, but it was completely empty for me.

By that time, the sun was fully out and beginning to sink into the west which gave superb light, looking in the right direction of course. On arrival, the Barwit was in the right direction (i.e. east of the hide) but on the shore of a nearby island where it was too distant for good photos. After a bit of feeding it promptly stopped and went to sleep. Not quite the hoped for outcome!

Shortly afterwards (at about 18:40), a pair of Curlew flew in for an evening bathing session. They were in the same general direction as the sleeping Barwit but in the small bay between the shore and the island and considerably closer.

One of two Curlews
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Shortly afterwards the Curlews departed and then the Barwit woke up and starting feeding again. Amazingly it then flew past the hide, and then turned around and alighted on the water's edge on the bank just in front of the hide, where it started feeding (at about 18:55). This was more like it!

It then gradually moved away from the hide, but not before I had managed to take numerous photos of this stunning bird in full summer plumage.

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Bar-tailed Godwit near to the North Shore hide.
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A few minutes later, the Barwit had moved away until it was at a less interesting distance, whereupon I heard distant Whimbrel calls and caught a glimpse of it flying off to the north east. The Barwit followed suit, and I thought that was it.

However the Barwit was then back just a few minutes later, and I then had a distant view of the Whimbrel down on the island near to the Langley Lane Hide. So as the light was beginning to go, I made my way down there, only to find it had moved off again!

After a short time, there were more Whimbrel calls and I had a brief view of it and another larger wader, that I took to be the Barwit, flying off over the LL hide in an easterly direction.

Despite the lack of any close Whimbrel views, this had been a remarkable visit indeed for what is generally a site of only occasional rewards. These photos must be my best for Pit 60 by some margin and certainly made this evening visit a really great one!

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