Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Curlew Sandpiper at BHM

With rough weather forecasted from the early hours of this morning I was hoping some more waders would drop in. Only a few seconds after arriving at Tower Hide I spotted 4 Turnstones flying downriver at 07:40. 4 Turnstones is a flock by our standards; I'd not seen more than one at a time here previously. My camera was still in the bag due to the weather so I thought I'd missed my chance but luckily the birds parked up and sat on the estuary just south of Tower Hide for a few minutes.

I'll warn you now that all pics that follow are bad (except perhaps the Cattle Egret). It was dull, rainy and birds were distant but any patch scarcity is worth a pic or two.

Shortly before 08:00 I saw a wader fly in and a quick check revealed it was a moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper, our first of the Autumn. As Autumn Curlew Sands go this was a relatively bland one with little colour (not helped by the light) but nice to see none-the-less.

More waders continued to drop in and repeated scans through them revealed a Sanderling at 08:35. This is another Autumn first for the patch (first one I've seen all year although I recall Steve having double figures off the seafront in Spring). A Greenshank was also heard.

From Tower there were 2 maybe 3 Cattle Egrets (can't guarantee the 3rd as I didn't see them all at the same time). Awful conditions for pics but I quite like the pose here:

Kingfishers were also performing well again but I'll save those pics for another post.

Today (August 2nd) is the 1 year anniversary of the arrival of the first of our 2 Least Sandpipers. I used to change my blog header image regularly but I can't persuade myself to let the current one go just yet. I still can't believe how showy and obliging that cracking little bird was; it was a shame the 2nd bird never came close but the performance by the 1st remains comfortably in my top 5 birding experiences here.

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