Monday, 1 August 2016

A fall of calidrids

Lade - warm, dry, cloudy, nw 2 - I wasn`t intending to count Curlews this morning but as the tide came in the flock from the bay flew to roost on the Desert, passing directly overhead as I stood beside south lake, enabling a count of 256 birds, the highest since last winter. In amongst the throng were five Barwits, two Knots and a Whimbrel. Also on the move hundreds of Black-headed Gulls, 55 Sandwich Terns and a trickle of high-flying Swifts south down the coast.
Greatstone Beach, midday - Decided to count the waders on a falling tide from the Tavern. Due to there being a few holiday makers on the beach I wasn't expecting a great deal, but was astonished when I scanned the ever increasing acreage of mud to see hundreds of shorebirds, mostly calidrids, busily feeding away. Fortunately the majority were concentrated on two small ridges of gloop affording a fairly accurate count at a staggering 720 Dunlins and 430 Sanderlings, everyone, as far as I could see, adult birds in breeding plumage. The Dunlins varied greatly in overall size, depending on race and sex, and consequently the extent of their black belly patches, It was certainly a sight for sore eyes, waders being my favourite birds and all.
  There was also a good supporting cast of 340 Oystercatchers, 21 Bar-tailed Godwits, 18 Knots, 12 Ringed Plovers, eight Redshanks and, eventually, the aforementioned Curlew flock from earlier. Tern numbers were impressive too with 86 Common, 62 Sandwich and 5 Little Terns. In amongst the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls were a few Common Gulls and two Mediterranean Gulls.
  Happy days - August has arrived in style.

                                Adult Dunlin, one of hundreds on the beach today

ARC - It was a case of after-the-Lord-Mayors-show here with just 50 Lapwings and a Blackwit from Hanson hide amongst the eclipse ducks, feral geese, Coots and gulls.

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