Sunday, 30 April 2017

Beddington Farm - Spring Arrives In Style! Part 1

There had been much talk about a weather front moving W through Europe coupled with strong SE winds that would in effect create a corridor funnelling birds that had been held up on the continent during the cold N/NW winds. The rising temperature would encourage a large push through the UK! With all that said I was surprised to be the only one on watch at the Farm this morning!

The day started with a unintentional sleep in which in hindsight turned out to be a blessing in disguise. News from surrounding sites had already filtered through. Had I missed the action?! I walked onto the corner and had a quick look through the binos and the lake seemed tranquil and rarity free! I started scanning with the telescope and picked up a lone Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the NE area of the main island. This species was one of my targets for my Spring watch. I was pretty happy with that and made my way down to the hide to get some pictures of my newest addition to my Beddington Farm list.
The Godwit was being chased about by the residents but returned to the same corner so I set up my digi-scoping unit and took some shots. As I was flipping the camera unit to view the Godwit I caught a glimpse of a small wader attempting to shelter out of the wind by a small piece of debris in the same area of the island. The scope was set at x20 and to get better views I had to dismantle the unit and put the eyepiece up to x60.

The bird was Stint sized with a curved bill which was dark and thin towards the tip. The head and breast band were grey/brown .  A breast band was evident but uneven and untidy. The breast appeared puffed out in relation to the slender long body. It was far too small to be one of the Common Sandpipers that were present on the lake. I put the word out to Dodge to get to the farm pronto! (Similar words used!). I realised this could be a Temminck’s Stint but I needed a better view of the body and legs. Pictures were not an option at this stage as the scope was maxed out and if I lost sight of the bird identification would not be complete!

The bird shuffled around in its attempts to shelter appearing side on to the  rocks and debris. I could see its grey/brown mantle which had a slight rufous tinges beyond the neck, a white underbelly and a long extending tail. The legs had some mud on the lower part but I could see they were a soft yellow. There was no striping down its back. Crikey it was a Temminck’s!! A short excited phone call to Dodge later and I watched the bird move down to the far edge of the island which was lower and out of sight.

I sprinted scope in hand towards the corner to get to get some elevation to view the bird but could not re locate it at the back of the island. I made my way around the lake checking the same area making no sense to Dodge and others that were now arriving. Apparently as well as being out of breath I was talking complete gibberish!!

The bird sadly was not re-located but could have been hidden away amongst the masses of rocks scattered over the island. News of other Temminck’s filtered through from Little Marlow and Tyttenhanger including a find by Beddington Farm’s own Pete Alfrey at Otmoor RSPB!

This will be the eleventh record at the Farm most records are from May the last was seen in 2004 by Gary Messenbird. This will be my 184th species at the Farm. What a crazy start to the day which continued with a range of other migrants part 2 to follow!

REF: The Birds of Beddington Farm by Alfrey,Milne, Coleman and the BFBG


  1. Great find!
    Shame you were the only one two find it.
    Nice meeting you last week Kojak.
    Hopefully I can come again in the near-future.

    1. It spoilt the flavour of the find. However its not a MEGA bird just one we have not had for a few years.. I'm sure we will see you again soon!