Sunday, 22 January 2017


Took my eye off the ball (again) this morning with a nice lie-in. In my defence I'd done a decent shift the day before and I'm no chicken!
Anyway, I woke around 9 and checked the pager...amongst other messages was this one..
Lincs WHITE-BILLED DIVER west of Woodhall Spa on River Witham 1mile North of Kirkstall Bridge
Now THAT'S what I call a bird!!! Definitely tempting.
It was a clear cold morning in Holmpton and I hoped it would be the same in south Lincs. Only one way to find out. I grabbed my stuff and headed for McDonalds in Hull. A quick Latte and Sausage Mc and onto the Humber Bridge and South.
The roads of Lincolnshire are always a challenge and I eventually weaved my way to Woodhall Spa. I picked the right chap to help me fine tune my final approach to the River. I found a parking spot, sorted out my stuff and headed down the riverbank with Bud.
There were plenty of fisherman by the bridge. Thoughts strayed to the unfortunate 1996 bird in the same County that perished after swallowing a hook. More on that later.
Birders were coming and going along the river...
It took us around 20 minutes to reach the area. I could see a few people looking out onto the river. I was amazed how few there were? Anyway after a few minutes up it popped...

I spent a wonderful hour with this magnificent bird as it fed along a half mile stretch of the river. It really was special. I think I can safely say I'll NEVER get a better view. A few teams came and went quickly. Dashing onto the next bird. Some spending less than 5 minutes!? I had a smile to myself. How could you not spend a decent amount of time with this special Arctic visitor, especially when it was so close?
I'm old enough to have seen the Yorkshire bird off Flamborough Head in September 1987! I also saw one in Barrow, Alaska in 2007. I realise there have been plenty of records over the years but this one ticked my boxes...
There was some debate over material drooping from the birds mouth. Weed or fishing line? Hopefully the former...

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