Sunday 11 September 2016

Yorkshire Yank Double

Packards South, Hatfield Moors

Although I had been planning to go to Spurn Mig Fest for the day, the quietness of the coast and absence of much in the way of migrants meant the prospect of a Yorkshire tick in the shape of a Baird's Sandpiper down at Hatfield Moors was too good to resist. I also fancied a trip to the area as it is somewhere I have never birded, so it would be good to check it out. It is a massive area and following some directions from a local's blog, I finally reached the New Moor cells, which were disappointingly bereft of birds. This was presumably due to a stonking juvenile Peregrine, happily bathing in a cell just south of the tramway! A lovely bird, but I scowled at it through my scope, as it presumably had flushed all the waders earlier.

Having finished his bath, the young Peg soaked up the early morning sun.

Following a conflab with a few other birders, we decided to try and find Packards South where the Baird's Sandpiper had been seen earlier in its stay. We walked a long way! Stacks of Black Darters and a few Common Darters kept the interest, but very few birds on the wet, peaty cells. Eventually, I found some waders. Only one guy had made it this far with me, and I whistled him over. Among the mix of Dunlins and Ringed Plovers was one juvenile Little Stint, but we couldn't see anything rarer. We could see another birder further along, so we carried on. On the next cell, there was a pale blob on the nearest corner, so I set my scope up and oof!, there was the dapper juvenile Baird's Sandpiper!

My first Yorkshire Baird's.

The bird was sharing the cell with about ten Ringed Plovers, and wait, a Pectoral Sandpiper! I knew there had been one around but certainly didn't expect the two birds to be together. I watched the birds, which were quite confiding for an hour and a half, well, I had walked about four miles to get here, so I may as well put some time in. The last Baird's I saw was at Paxton Pits, Cambs, incredibly about eight years ago, so it was nice to soak up this pot-bellied, long-winged scalloped little chap. The Pec Sand was being gawky as usual, wandering about along the edge of the grass, peering around with a stretched up neck. It was quite tiny, though it's long-necked, long-winged structure made it look bigger than it was. A fine, well-marked juv.

The Pec.

I strolled back, failing to photograph Black Darters with my phone. This is am amazing and big area. I am glad it was rescued from the devastation of peat cutting. Well done Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the local conservation group for pursuing it and getting the EU to enforce the protection of the site. Shame we won't be able to use that avenue in a post Brexit Britain.

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