In the absence of Hudwit and in pleasing spring sun, and after a long drive, I was dozing nicely. But was awoken by a cry: 'It's there!". Leaping to my feat, panic ceded to elation as I clasped eyes on a sumptuous female Hudsonian Godwit. What an absolute cracker. It even had the good grace to do a couple of aerial flypasts, enabling us to see the impoverised pale upper wingbar (making the bird much darker than Blackwits, and thus easy to discern). And, of course, the blackpits - black underwing - for which this blogpost is named. Even if I did steal the title fromthe infinitely wittier Peter Moore. The bird was distant, so photography of the record kind. But I'll stil bombard you with pics, for this bird was a reet cracker. And, as Rich Bonser astutely says on his blog, an Old Money Rare that we have grown up yearning to see in Britain.
A group of Whimbrel bombed through. Marsh Harriers sauntered around. The vegetation was full of warblers: Cetti's, Garden, Sedge, Willow and Chiffchaff. Two Garganey swam nonchalantly around the mere. Single Dunlin and Ruff joined the Black-tailed Godwits. Ah, Black-tailed Godwits. Did I mention that there were a few of these:174 of them, to be precise. But no Hudwit. So I went to sleep.
Meare Heath in Somerset is part of the fabulous Avalon Marshes project, where oodles of quality wet habitat has been created and is being managed by the RSPB and Natural England. (And probably others besides; I plead ignorance.) It has also hosted Britain's second twitchable Hudsonian Godwit on and off for the past week. A trip to see it was inevitable, so eventually I pootled down with Richard 'Stitch' Johnson and Stu Butchart. The first few hours didn't bode well. In terms of seeing the Hudwit, at least, for of this rarity there was no sign. For every other type of bird, Meare Heath was simply spiffing. We saw at least four Bitterns, including one low overhead as we stepped out the car and two flying very very high, as if off on their holidays. We heard several more booming from the reedy depths. Mear Heathe is renowned for Great White Egrets, and they didn't disappoint. One flew over nearby, three others did so distantly and one bird fed in the lagoon in front of us.