Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bunny Meadows, Warsash - In Search of Wading Birds

After the heavy midday rain had passed, the clouds cleared and the mid-afternoon sun warmed the air, I grabbed my scope and camera and headed down to Bunny Meadows in search of waders. The tide was rising and I was hoping to find some colour-ringed birds as they were pushed up onto the islands to roost. Black-headed gulls were already settling down to roost on the highest points of the salt marsh, all of them wearing their winter plumage.

Adult Winter Black-headed Gull

Northern Lapwings and Redshank were also settled amongst the tussocky vegetation, with a handful of Oystercatchers. Suddenly a flock of around twenty Dunlin appeared and flew directly towards me, and landed on the shingle shore only five meters away. Scanning through the flock my attention was immediately drawn to six slightly larger birds, with slightly down curved bills - Curlew Sandpipers.

Mixed Flock of Dunlins and Curlew Sandpipers

Despite the large number of people walking along the track, the flock settled on the beach, some roosting whilst others fed.

Dunlins and Curlew Sandpipers

The Curlew Sands provided some excellent views, with the occasional individual flapping its wings to show off an obvious white rump.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpipers are slightly larger than Dunlin, and have a longer down curved bill, which is finely tipped. Juvenile birds have uniform scaly patterned feathers on the back, and have white under-parts, with a peach wash on the breast.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpipers

A bold white supercilium is present, and the bill and legs are black. Unfortunately, it was not long before an over eager dog ran along the foreshore and flushed the flock, and the Curlew Sands headed south whilst the Dunlin flew north.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper

Large numbers of waders were present further along the track including 5 Greenshank, 9 Grey Plover, 16 Redshank and 6 Black-tailed Godwit. The Godwits were all adult birds in winter plumage, with their plain brown-grey breast and upper-parts.

Black-tailed Godwits and Black-headed Gulls

Single Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel were soon added to the species tally, and another lone Curlw Sand was located feeding with a flock of 15 Dunlin before disappearing into the vegetation......

Roosting Black-headed Gulls and Solitary Whimbrel (centre)
 .......and as the tide continued to rise 14 Little Egrets dropped onto the salt marsh to roost.

Little Egrets and Grey Herons

All in all it was a great couple of hours birding, which ended with 11 species of wader and two species of heron, unfortunately none of them were wearing colour-rings.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...