Monday, 18 July 2011

Top Quality Waders

Adult Spoonbill

An early start saw me heading north to Blacktoft Sands rspb reserve in the hope of seeing the adult Marsh Sandpiper , i arrived at about 7.30 am and the weather was awful , consistent rain and quite windy , i met a couple of birders and the news was negative , not a good start but i was undeterred and i checked  out several hides where the Sandpiper had been seen on and off over the past week , i encountered a superb adult Spoonbill which was later joined by another adult bird ,  i also had some great views of   Wood Sandpiper .

Adult Wood Sandpiper.

I encountered 3 Wood Sandpipers , at least 5 Green Sandpipers and 1 Common Sandpiper at this reserve plus a really smart couple of Ruffs put in an appearance .

Two Ruff.

I also had fantastically close views of a female Marsh Harrier right in front of the hide , i have never been as close to one before , truly a remarkable sight and well worth the journey on its own.

Female Marsh Harrier.

There were plenty of waders flying in and out , lots of Egrets and at least 5 Marsh Harriers were spooking everything every now and again , i moved onto the other end of the reserve and bumped into another birder named Rich , we exchanged information of what we had seen and he said he was going to check out another area of the reserve where the Marsh Sandpiper has been seen from whilst i checked out a different area , we exchanged numbers so we could inform each other if we see the bird .

Well i was in the Marsh Hide checking out at least 50 Black tailed godwits , there were Dunlin, Snipe and various ducks but no Marsh sandpiper , then my phone went off , it was Richard with positive news , the Marsh Sandpiper was showing from the Ousefleet viewing screen , with a rather quick dash around to the viewing screen i was greeted with the news it had just waded out of sight . 

So after a fretful 10 to 15 minutes wait the Marsh Sandpiper  gave its self up  ,  really super sandpiper , a miniature version of a Greenshank is the nearest comparison i can think off , a delicate thin bill , longish legs . This was  my third bird in the UK but this was by far the best view of one i have had , i also added at least 5 Spotted Redshanks at this viewing screen including one very black bird .

From here i decided to head to Rutland Water which was on the way back and hopefully try and see the summer plumage Spotted Sandpiper , i arrived there in good time and the weather had improved i parked up and and got my permit from the visitor center .

I set off to the Shallow water  hide , and as luck would have it i connected with this super wader straight away , it was a bit distant on the far bank but you could make out the orange/ yellowish bill and spotting on its breast and flanks , it was along side a Green Sandpiper which was much bigger .

Spotted Sandpiper wing stretching.

Spotted Sandpiper

And in flight

There were five Ospreys in close attendance and one bird spooked the Sandpiper and it flew towards the hide and landed on my side of the water , wow a stunning bird to see the spots were much more evident at this close range , it had a striking supercillium  , i have now seen four Spotted Sandpipers  but this is the first one i have seen in this plumage , the Ospreys were really stunning to see at such close quarters too.

Two of the five birds on the nest.

And an Osprey in flight.

Other birds seen here were a female Goldeneye , Common Sandpiper (at one point there was Common , Green and Spotted Sandpiper all in one view) plus several Common Buzzards were flying around ,  there was a huge number of Sand Martins nearby giving some fine views.

Several Sand Martin.

Then it was time to head home  very happy after a superb days birding with some quality birds in the bag.