In the recent hard weather the East coast has had an influx. Videos, photographs, tweets and facebook postings have all been about ‘Woodcock’. Indeed there has been a large hard weather movement from the continent of this woodland wader.

I went out last week and inadvertently flushed at least two from within 200m of the front door. Another flew high overhead. I went out with the camera a couple of days ago to see if I could at least get a few shots off. The snow had become crispier and it crunched as I placed my feet. Not as easy to get close to these birds now as it was when it was sugary soft silent stuff (try saying that after a few Shackleton’s)

As I crept towards the small pine belt where I had previously flushed up a bird from under a wall, I stood still and scoured up and down for at least 20 minutes. Nothing. I went around the belt on the other side of the wall only to flush a bird from open ground where I least expected it to be. At the same time a second bird flew up from exactly where I’d been standing minutes earlier. I must have been almost stood on it. Grrrr. It wasn’t until I wandered the other side of the coast road and searched a likely looking spot I saw one feeding in among brambles. The lovely underestimated cryptic plumage these birds have makes them difficult to find unless they move.

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Feb 2021


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