Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Black-winged Stilt - First record for the Isle of May

On the 30th April I'd just settled down for a late lunch when Mike Harris dashed in shouting he'd seen a Black-winged Stilt at Horse Hole. I dropped my Sandwich and ran to the other end of the island. Unfortunately the bird had gone. I proceeded to search all other water bodies on the island with Mark.

The last place to search was the South Plateau where there are two small pools. As we climbed the slope Mark spotted the bird at the back of the pool. We were delighted. It was a very unlikely vagrant first for the island.

The bird is an elegant wader. Black above and white below with a black cap and a needle thin mid length. It's most defining feature is the long pink legs.

Black-winged Stilts are resident in the Mediterranean with a few breeders in creeping up to northern France. They are a rare visitor to the south coast of Britain with only eight previous records for Scotland. The last time this species was seen  was in the Outer Hebrides in July 1990.

We released the news. The bird was twitched by just a couple of mainland birders but hopefully more visitors will be able to enjoy it if it stays.

 Mikes field notes!

There was also a Nightingale present on the island. This is another very rare bird for Scotland. David and I managed to photograph it to help identify from it's very close relative, Thrush Nightingale.


The board on Monday.

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