Thursday 17 August 2017

A fall of Curlew Sandpipers

Dungeness - mild, cloudy, rain, sw 4 - 1000hrs - With rain around dawn the omens were good for some grounded migrants this morning, although I didn`t expect such a large fall of waders to be on the cards. Curlew Sandpipers were most prominent with at least 50 on ARC and Burrowes, all adults in various plumages from russet to pale grey and many shades in between. This is without doubt the largest number of Curlew Sandpipers in my time here, but by early afternoon most had departed as the weather improved.

                                Curlew Sandpipers and Dunlins

                                Wood Sandpiper

                                Mixed wader flock from Firth hide

   The flock of waders in front of Firth also included 35 Dunlins, 30 Ringed Plovers, three Blackwits, three Common Sandpipers, two Little Ringed Plovers, plus singles of Green and Wood Sandpipers, Little Stint, Turnstone, Redshank and Ruff. Also on Burrowes hundreds of Sand Martins, a Yellow-legged Gull, a Yellow-billed Teal and on our second visit in early afternoon, two Black Terns. As we were checking the waders a juvenile Sparrowhawk nipped in low and flushed the flock whilst attempting to grab a Dunlin. It then tried for a Pied Wagtail and missed, before moving onto  Sand Martins and failed again. This bird has a lot to learn in the hunting stakes.

  Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull - note white neck collar, stout all black bill, inner primary panel and black and white tail

                                Juvenile Sparrowhawk

  On ARC around noon eight Curlew Sandpipers, five Dunlins, seven Avocets and two Garganeys amongst the wildfowl and Coots.
  Together with CP we checked out the front fields at Scotney where 20 Curlews and two Whimbrels were present along with 150 feral Barnacles and hydrid Snow Geese.
  Finished off with an hour at the fishing boats this afternoon with PB and TG where a steady passage of Common and Sandwich Tern was underway, plus three Little Terns and a few Gannets and Kittiwakes

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