Small object of desire

Many thanks to Tom Tams for allowing me to publish his breathtaking images of the Red-Necked Stint at Blyth in Northumberland today – and to Jason Stannage for contacting Tom and passing my request to use them on to him.

Gents both.

Tom’s brilliant images of this mega-wader illustrate why a long drive north was a no-brainer this morning.

Although I’ve seen the species by the flockload in Thailand in winter dress I never quite realised how badly I needed to see a breeding plumage bird until the first images of the Blyth bird emerged last night.

Gasp. I am in love.

The bird was feeding across the river from me when I arrived at lunchtime today and through the ‘scope showed off that lovely red face, streaked breast band and white undercrackers as it scurried along the edge of the water amongst Ringed Plovers.

As the tide rose and the heat shimmer kicked in, the tiny wader became harder to watch from Cowley Road, although still visible whenever it broke cover on Sleekburn Spit, so I stuck around for a few hours hoping it would come closer to our position.

It didn’t, but obviously Tom was sitting in the right place!

Just to contextualise how fine Tom’s images are, here’s the best I could get with the P900 through the heat haze…

Ahem.

I should have realised video was a bad idea too, but no, I never learn – scurrying blur on YouTube here

A few Eiders on the river and plenty of Ringed Plovers.

Some of the guys down from me thought they had a Kentish Plover, and I must admit the bird seemed good through the wibbly wobbly heat haze – bright white face and chest with no band, dark bill, big head, white forehead etc, but video from the other side showed it to be a female Ringed Plover.

That’s the way it goes sometimes – if you ain’t learning you ain’t having fun!

A stint-tastic afternoon.

Thanks once again to Tom and Jason for sparing you my usual blurs….