Thursday, 1 August 2013

Birding in a Wader Wonderland

One of the great things about mid-summer is the return of waders from their northern or upland breeding grounds.
Aldcliffe typically gets the first, and the largest number, of green sandpipers in the local recording area and so far this year is pretty much on track with expectations. Of course, we local patchers are also very keen on finding an oddity here and there; wood sandpipers for example are annual, while other scarcer species might just show up on any of the pools or on the river if we're lucky.
Post-breeding little egrets also start to really show up in numbers along with grey herons and a wealth of gulls.

Here are selected highlights from recent days:
Black-tailed godwits

Monday 29th - A trawl around the patch during the morning turned up the following:
1 adult little ringed plover was flying around calling by the Lune at Marsh Point - presumably recently fledged young were nearby. 2 common sandpiper were on the river bank.
There were 5 green sandpiper and
2 little egret at the Wildfowlers' Pools.
26 black-tailed godwit, including a colour ringed bird (photo), were feeding near Reedy Corner. The bird had been ringed in Iceland - I'm waiting for further details.
Another little egret was on The Flood. There were 16 common sandpiper at the Creek and scanning through the black-headed gulls on Gull Bank I picked out 2 adult Mediterranean gulls

Colour-ringed black-tailed godwit
Thursday July 25th - Following the (re?)appearance of 5 avocet a couple of days previously, there was still one juvenile on the Lune off Marsh Point in the morning.
A greenshank was on Freeman's Pools as were a newly arrived mass of greylag (c320 birds).
3 green sandpiper, 1 common sandpiper & a little ringed plover were all at the Wildfowlers' Pools.
Raptors-wise peregrine, kestrel (including newly fledged pair) and a sparrowhawk were all seen in the area. 

A smart black-tailed godwit in full breeding garb was on the river at Gull Bank while 2 whimbrel and 5 common sandpiper were on the river near the pylons. 
Black-headed (left) and Mediterranean gull (right)

Tuesday July 23rd - 5 avocets were on the river in the early evening (1 adult, 4 juv) just off Marsh Point.
There were 4 green sandpiper, 3 little ringed plover and a snipe at the Wildfowlers' Pools.
The little grebes on Freeman's Pools increased from 3 to 5 birds, all of them adults.
The little ringed plovers on the industrial estate still had at least 2 healthy-looking near-to-fledging chicks.

Monday July 22nd - At least 6 green sandpiper were in the area during morning, though there were possibly as many as 9. Their rather flighty behaviour made a definitive count impossible with birds present on Freeman's Pools, Frog Pond and the Wildfowlers' Pools. Six were definitely visible at one time, so at least we know an absolute minimum. 
Also on the patch were a minimum of 4 little ringed plover.
It was nice to see a single stock dove over the maize fields, though I suppose it would be nicer still to see several! 

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