Tuesday 30 August 2016

Wader therapy

When the full horrors of existence loom larger than my joie de vivre, which they did this weekend as a blissful fortnight's holiday with the family approached its end and a return to work beckoned, I go look for waders. Don't embarrass me by asking me to name them all, that's a cruel test. Especially since our second child arrived and there are now more of them to remember.
Knot, Ferrybridge
Knot, Ferrybridge
The waders, by contrast, were all utterly memorable. Even the common ones - Lapwings, Ringed Plovers, Blackwits - I find exquisite, and the rare ones when they turn up are also a delight, untainted, as they generally are, by thoughts of escapes, hybrids and so on associated with other bird families. The long weekend therefore saw me checking out some of Dorset's current wader hotspots - Lytchett Bay, Lodmoor and Ferrybridge. Oh, and of course Swineham, which was briefly a wader hotspot during the summer floods of 2012, but which hasn't offered much since bar some insolent Stilts which visited while I was elsewhere. No, I won't let that go.
Ringed Plover, feeding with the Knot at Ferrybridge on a small muddy island by the car park
A juvenile bird with frosted feather edges
A Green Sandpiper and a Greenshank were about all Swineham had to offer on the wader front in three recent visits (though a few other migrants were around - more on that in a later post). Bank Holiday Monday visits to Ferrybridge and Lodmoor were more productive, presenting some good photo opps in perfect light. The former would have been even better but for the inability of members of an allegedly smarter species to read the signs urging them not to disturb feeding and roosting birds.
Black-tailed Godwit wading in deep water at Lodmoor
Even this juvenile Dunlin, the regulation wader of British shorelines, is a stunner in my eyes, despite not being quite as smart a plumage as the adult
I arrived at Lytchett a few days after reports of the fields teeming with waders had peaked to find them not exactly teeming, but still good. As top Lytchett Bay-City-Roller Shaun Robson remarked, the fact that a trio of Little Stints was a slightly disappointing highlight of my visit is really testament to just what a good site it has become. The other top Bay-City-Roller, Mr Ballam, who I also bumped into at the Lytchett Fields (of dreams?) viewpoint, was kind enough to comment on the absence of posts in this space. At least, I interpreted it as kindly as 'I thought you were dead' can be interpreted. So this post is dedicated to Ian: for noticing the silence, and appearing to care.
Little Stint, of which there were three at Lytchett Bay, and four at Lodmoor
This one was photographed at Seaton Marshes in Devon earlier in the month en route to our Dartmoor holiday cottage - more on that trip later
Speaking of readers, regular ones will no doubt be delighted to see the return of gratuitous jokes at the expense of my nearest and dearest to these pages (para 1, if you missed it). New ones may be shocked at the flagrancy of the familial abuse, so, to reassure, it is all in jest: Claire, George and, er, the other one all know I couldn't live without them.
Evening light showed off this Lodmoor Lapwing at its best
Common Sandpipers were at Lytchett and Lodmoor (this juvenile again from Seaton Marshes)


  1. Replies
    1. Good to be back Ian - earning your new moniker already I see with today's Aquatic - well done Sir!

  2. Thanks for your excellent photographs. Visiting Dorset this week so hope to catch up with some of the birds that you have 'captured' so well. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you R Pulley, good luck on your Dorset visit.