A free day. Oare marshes has been on a good run, so with high tide at half 4 I set off in good time to navigate the many road works and arrived at 2pm ish to find I (almost) had the place to myself.
The Red-Necked Phalarope was soon pointed out by the one other birder. A study in sepia and white, it really is tiny. Soon the air was filled with a cacophony of wader yelping and two flocks of Whimbrel both numbering about 20 appeared and flew away. Whimbrel were to be present throughout the day in small numbers, with one further flock of 10.
Further scanning yielded about 50 Golden Plover, lots of Lapwing, 3 Snipe, a number of Avocets, a dense flock of 150 Redshank (plenty of plumage variation giving challenges for the unwary - I think I saw 5 Wood Sandpipers and a Tatler today), and a large flock of Black-Tailed Godwit which slowly increased to around 1000 birds. Searching produced a few Ruff, and on the edge of a spit a mixture of Turnstones, summer plumage Red Knot and some Dunlin and running around with the Dunlin a Little Stint.
At this time a flock of Common Tern descended from toward the estuary. I eventually counted 123. These birds were with us for several hours until as the tide fell they began to disappear. About 10% were juveniles. The rest full summer plumage adults. These were quite the spectacle and a highlight of the day,
I walked round to the hide on the southern edge and from there was a winter-plumage Spotted Redshank and I was shown two sparkling summer plumage Curlew Sandpipers.
On returning I stopped to look at the dragonflies in the ditch and it soon became clear that the larger ones were Southern Migrant Hawkers. I saw about four. The clinching evidence was the fact that the grass round the path was trampled flat so clearly a lot of photographers had been here.
Back for another sit and view; I couldn't find the Bonapartes Gull, but did find a consolation Mediterranean Gull, a Little Ringed Plover, a couple of Ringed Plovers and a distant Greenshank.
So quite a spectacular day. The birds were a bit far for my camera skills, but just to show that the last set of photos was a fluke here's a few from today.
|some of the Common Terns on the ground ..|
|... and leaving back into the estuary|
|I think the club-shaped abdomen makes this a Ruddy Darter|
|an 'action shot' is all I could manage of the SMH.|