Sunday, 3 August 2014

A week in waders

Waders dominated the last week's birding during a family holiday in Northumberland - twenty-one species in all without really trying too hard. Top marks for rarity went to a Collared Pratincole and a Stilt Sandpiper (which I never managed to photograph), but just as rewarding was time spent on various beaches with some less celebrated, but still very attractive species:
Sanderling: a characterful and beautiful bird in almost any plumage - this one sporting the rufous face of summer plumage
Sanderling: one of a small flock on the beach near Amble
Sanderling: a roosting bird
Sanderling: looking more like a spring-plumaged bird
Sanderling captured in motion - not easy given the speed at which they run
Sanderling: another one at a canter
A flock of Sanderling roosting on a rocky promontory - with patience I got pretty close and managed to leave the flock undisturbed. This almost cost me wet feet though as the tide came in behind me - just below the welly-tops fortunately
Sanderling close-up 
Part of a Sanderling flock in flight
A few Dunlin were with the Sanderling flock
This was as close as I got to a (Red) Knot - a small flock in flight with Curlew
Ringed Plover
Golden Plover - a small flock were on the beaches around Holy Island
Avocet in flight at Cresswell Ponds

A Pacific Golden Plover in Staffordshire on the way home, just a four mile detour from our route, would have made it 22 waders for the trip. Unfortunately, it chose the hour before our arrival to disappear after having been a sitting duck for most of the previous week. Spooked, no doubt by the spectre of Mitchell and Son, who arrived to dip it too en route to Derby shortly before ourselves as we headed in the opposite direction. This Little Ringed Plover was one of several at Middleton Lakes RSPB where the Pacific Golden Plover had been seen.

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