Thanks to a tip-off this morning from Farmoor Reservoir patch watcher Dai, my jinx county bird for 2016 is no longer so. The call came as I was at home considering a trip to North Wales to try for a Booted Warbler. Having just found a well-rated Llandudno B&B offering last minute single rooms with breakfast for a mere £28 I was thinking that potential lifer might indeed be meant. Then upon hearing of the local interest I started to feel even luckier.
When I got to Farmoor Dai was on the causeway watching the Knot that even at a distance stood out as being larger and plumper than the more frequent reservoir waders featured in part 2 of this mini-series. Definitely not a species that I would confuse with any of those others, no matter what some county seniors might have liked to tell me in the past. Though showing fairly close, the Knot seemed very aware of our presence, so we passed it on the blind side of the causeway and went to check out a Little Stint that Dai had also found at the western end.
Mindful of needing to get started for Llandudno if I was going to I didn’t spend too long with the second wader and walked back. On approaching the Knot again it looked more comfortable with the attention it was attracting and seemed less nervous. So I skirted round the bird again then sat atop the wave wall and let it approach. Now the beauty walked right past me and another of those close up Farmoor photo opportunities arose that I so enjoy in the autumn passage season. By now I had been joined by Clackers who though one of 2016’s leading Oxon year listers had also missed out on Knot until now. Then, greatly satisfied with the belated sighting, we went our separate ways.
It has been a good Oxon year for both these species that are not always seen annually here. Whether I will yet add the two missing waders of Grey Plover or Bar-tailed Godwit to my 2016 county year list, and hence post a fourth entry in this mini-series, I cannot tell.