Sunday, 29 July 2012

Weekend Waders

After finishing work yesterday it was obvious that there were a few passage waders turning up, the red drops of adult Curlew Sandpipers were splashed along the east coast, the remnants of an overnight wader nose-bleed. So I decided to put in a few hours at some local sites yesterday afternoon and again this morning.

Yesterday afternoon the Blyth Estuary flattered to deceive, Redshanks dominated, I counted 113 but there were undoubtedly more in the channels upriver, 15 Dunlins were almost all adults. Three Ringed Plovers were nearby and a single Bar-tailed Godwit on the south shore.

This morning I chose to head north and see if there were any new arrivals at Warkworth Gut. A Wood Sandpiper had been present since Friday and was still lingering this morning in the company of a single Greenshank.

 Greenshank & Wood Sandpiper (distantly)

Three Little Egrets were also around the gut, two loafing together north of the wooden footbridge and a single further downstream midway to the main estuary. Three is a record county count for me and with individuals also around at Castle Island and Bothal Pond (and no doubt several other sites) the post-breeding dispersal numbers are increasing. Like Mediterranean Gulls they have reached a point where in a national context they are pretty much not 'newsworthy' in any English county anymore, though they remain scarce in Scotland.

Phonescoped Little Egrets

On the main estuary again Redshank numbers dominated, I counted 167 this morning. Dunlins were more numerous than on the Blyth (71), mainly adults making pulling anything different out amongst them an easy task, even the small number of ginger juveniles; four Black-tailed Godwits added a dash of colour, 3 adults and a juvenile islandica.
A drive-by at Cresswell Pond added a further 7 Black-tailed Godwits (all islandica I think) , another Greenshank and a single Ruff as well as more Dunlins (no count). Castle Island  my final destination threw another wader species into the morning mix with three Green Sandpipers around the north bay; Castle Island always seems to do well for Green Sandpiper in late summer/early autumn. The water levels are still relatively high so 22 post-breeding Cormorants here the only other note in my notebook this morning.

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