29 August 2010

Curlew Sandpiper.

I did try again.

0715hrs: Saul Warth. Blustery conditions first thing, with an ever-present threat of rain. Other than Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit, the only wader action came from two Common Sandpipers. Two Peregrine Falcon's passed through as I walked to the shore. One stopped in an unsuccessful attempt to pluck a Blue Tit from a small tree. Along the dividing hedge a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming furiously.

0845hrs: Middle Point. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday the wader flocks were far too distant to the right, or hidden from view too the left - and the strong sunlight made viewing conditions difficult. Today huge numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover (adults and juv.) were occupying the mud infront of and a little to the right of the hide. Tremendous. The Sun was poking out from behind clouds, but the light was predominantly good and even.

In amongst the Dunlin and Plover were two Little Ringed Plovers, two Little Stints, one Bar-tailed Godwit and c20 Curlew Sandpiper (lifer 196; year tick 172)!!! It was amazing... myself (and a number of other birders present) couldn't stop picking them out from the crowd. You could point your scope at any part of the flock and pick out a few of them. At times they came quite close providing truly excellent views in truly awesome numbers. Most were in juvenile plumage, but a couple were sporting a little deep red on the breast.

An awful snap of (left to right) one Dunlin, one Ringed Plover and one Curlew Sandpiper:

Eventually the waders all flew off to the left and out of site.

1030hrs: From the Zeiss Hide were Redshank (possibly a Spotted, too), Greenshank, Ruff, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Snipe, Green Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwits. Also present - coming in off the high tide as predicted - were some of the Curlew Sandpipers (I counted six).

Ducks too, but this wasn't a Duck trip.

In conclusion... WOW! So many Curlew Sandpipers! A triumphant lifer, and one of my best birding moments of the year.

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