Friday 17 September 2021

Mobile waders

The breeze started SE drifted as far as SW by mid afternoon before settling back to south.  Mainly overcast but the sunny spells were very warm.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing and vis report from Jean:


Only 16 new birds today.

Grey Wagtail 5

Meadow Pipit 3

Chiffchaff 2

Wren 2

Whitethroat 1

Blackcap 1

Reed Bunting 1

Goldfinch 1

and 2 Blue Tit recent retraps

Vis was equally low key:

Grey Wagtail 11 (includes the ringed birds)

Meadow Pipit 16 (includes the ringed birds)

Linnet 4

Chaffinch 6

Pied Wagtail 1

Goldfinch 13

Snipe 4

Pink-footed Goose 3

Swallow 1

The surprise was the flocks of Starlings moving through, all heading south. A total of 171  was counted in an hour when the ringing was quiet enough to allow me to monitor vis properly.

Red Nab - saltmarsh area towards high water (MD)
Wheatear just 1
Rock Pipit 2
Little Egret 7
Mediterranean gull 5 adult on Red Nab plus 1 out from saltmarsh 
Shelduck 5
Lapwing 34
Redshank 15
Kestrel 1 on foreshore 
Robin 2 on saltmarsh 
Meadow Pipit 2 over to south
All the above were close in, the following were all further out.

These neap tides do not cover the mud out from the saltmarsh, there were loads of waders today, unfortunately flushed by tide and a dog, but more walkers near Potts flushed some back.
These are only very loose estimates as they were so mobile (almost certainly underestimated)
Knot c2,000
Dunlin c1,000
Bar-Tailed Godwit c100
Grey Plover c80
Oystercatcher unusually just a handful.

I have been asked which section of beach the waders settle on, so this clip is just to show the location. In it are: Bar-Tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin (plus the last of the Oystercatcher flying off). At the end of the clip you can see Ocean Edge foreshore on the right.
Anyone viewing from the foreshore would have been closer to the birds than I was. The above birds plus many, many more flew off towards Potts not long after this clip, fortunately some returned to the beach just out from the saltmarsh, easily visible from the slipway. 

In this clip, there are already Knot and Grey Plover in the shallow water as a flock of Dunlin comes in. Watch the pale bird land in the middle of the screen, in the front line of waders. After landing it quickly makes its way to the water's edge on the right, clearly paler than the Dunlin.

This short clip of it feeding is as zoomed in as I can manage. Not long after this, they were off south again.
I'm pretty confident that it is a winter plumage Sanderling (MD). These are about as distinctive a bird as you can see, wonder what subtler waders could be amongst the hoards around.......

Talking of distinctive birds. This Grey Plover was the sole remaining wader after a while. It's coming out of summer plumage now, but still unmistakable.
Grey Plover moulting out of summer plumage 

This is a nice comparison shot of an adult Mediterranean gull and an adult Black-Headed gull
Med gull left, BHG right

Finally, I like this shot of a Common Darter from Janet, just south of Middleton, technically out of the recording area, but we have lots of Common Darter within. Janet speculates that it can't read. I just think that it is a guard dragonfly (MD)
Female Common Darter on guard duty!