What a crackin' couple of hours this afternoon.
Tried for the Spotted Crake at Shibdon Pond first and was rewarded within a matter of minutes, thanks to Andrew Kinghorn who arrived at the hide as I did, and just as a couple of more mature birders were leaving (I don't have a key, which would have made watching a little tricky!). What an obliging and smart-looking little bird it was/is. How it made it across the North Sea is a miracle in itself. But Andrew and I were very glad it did. It was frequenting the reeds to the back of the floating island opposite the hide (to the right of the white depth marker post).
Off north to Arcot (it looks very Shibdon-esque and so ripe for a crake too). Nothing much noted in the short time I was there, but two other bona fide birders told me of a Spotted Redshank on the Blyth and so off there asap. And continuing the day's luck, I dropped onto it straight away. And what a super bird too, with its incessant wading and feeding, only punctuated to chase off its Common cousins.
So 200 for the year, and only ten more required to break my year's best. Next!