Monday, April 30, 2018

Black-winged Stilt, Eldernell

This bird was found by the Cambs bird race team of Mark Hawkes and his crew on Saturday morning (28.4.18). I have been saying for the last few weeks that the flooded fields of Eldernell have been looking like they were going to be ripe for a stilt at around the end of April. This is the fourth time I have seen stilts in the Peterborough area.
The previous occasions (and dates) were:
Maxey Pits, 1 bird, 26 April 2009,
High Wash, Nene Washes, 2 birds, 17 April 2015,
March Farmers, Nene Washes, 5 birds, 29 April 2017

So, it would appear that late April is good time for them around here. The current Eldernell bird was unusual in that it actually stayed overnight, and these photos were taken on 29.4.18. I don't know if it is still present today, but it certainly favoured a particular spot on the washes. On Saturday morning John Saunders and I watched it being pestered and pursued by a Black-headed Gull and it appeared to fly strongly north. We assumed it had gone for good, but it was back in the same little area within half and hour or so.
Let's hope it stays until the weekend when our mob are doing a Big Day around the PBC area.
By the way, it may look like it only has one leg in these photos, but it was just that it was sleeping with the other tucked up when the Grey Heron came fishing nearby and flushed it. Its other leg looked fine (as in the bottom photo)! I believe that dark cap and dark back makes it a male. It also has a pinkish flush to the breast. It is not easy to see from these photos, but it has a grey nape, at the base of which were dark splodges, just above the 'shoulders'. This pattern and the missing feather in the left wing at the join between the primaries and secondaries should make this particular individual easy to track, if seen again...

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