Friday 4 January 2013

Wader Quest meets The Biggest Twitch

In 2008 Alan Davies and Ruth Miller rushed around the world in ever decreasing circles in an attempt to break the world record for the number of bird species seen in a year. They didn't just break the record they pulverised it! They wrote about their experiences, both good and bad, in a very frank and often funny book called The Biggest Twitch, if you haven't already had a chance to read it do so, you'll be verily entertained. Anyway, when Alan and Ruth heard about Wader Quest they were very helpful and gave us loads of advice, and as if that were not enough they heard we were after a couple of birds in the UK and, as they had them on their local patch, decided to help by inviting us up to North Wales to look for them.

An offer too good to refuse.

We arrived late yesterday afternoon and Alan took us straight away to Rhos-on-Sea where we soon found our main target bird, Purple Sandpiper. The light was a bit bad but Elis managed to get some record shots.
Purple Sandpiper
This morning we headed to Conwy RSPB reserve to look for the Jack Snipes that have recently been seen there, but no luck. We then tried Foryd Bay. There we were luckier and we saw one as it flushed from the marsh. Sadly even Elis was unable to fire off a shot of it, so we have included this fantastic photo taken at Conwy RSPB last week by Jayne Westmoreland of a bird she nearly stood on!

                                 Jack Snipe. Photo Jayne Westmoreland
After this we did a bit of general birding waiting for high tide and then returned to see the Purple Sandpipers at the same spot.
Purple Sandpiper
Our thanks go to Alan and Ruth for their hospitality and expert help in finding these birds and also to Marc Hughes who helped scout for the birds before our arrival.

Alan and Ruth
Alan, Rick and Marc.

Ruth and Alan plus a troll rising from under the rocks!
We saw a number of other waders during the day, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Common Snipe, Dunlin and Ruddy Turnstone.

Eurasian Curlew

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