Friday, 5 September 2014

Farlington Marshes - 5th September 2014

It was a bit of  dreary start to the day this morning but I had the day booked off and so headed down to Farlington Marshes for a spot of birding. There have been occasional reports of Curlew Sandpipers on the marsh and yesterday an Osprey was seen, so I was quietly optimistic. I arrived just as the tide was falling and headed straight to the main lake to check on the high tide wader roost. The islands just off the car park were my first stop as there was a flock of 45 roosting Grey Plovers and three Black-tailed Godwits. All of the plovers were greys, but it was worth the look at many were still in summer plumage.

Grey Plovers

The last few times I have visited Farlington the water level on the main lagoon had been high, and today was no exception. A couple of Little Egrets and a roost of 24 Common Redshank were the only birds of note, although a Whinchat and three Common Whitethroats were flitting around the scrub. A quick scan of the horizon picked up the Osprey, but it was a long way off, roosting on trees on North Binness Island.

The quickest route to get a better view of North Binness was along the stream, and as this was also the most likely place for Curlew Sandpipers, I headed that way. There was a good sized flock of Black-tailed Godwits roosting and feeding along the stream, with around 50 Common Redshank and five Curlew Sandpipers. At least 10 of the godwits were colour-ringed but I was on a mission to get better views of the Osprey, so decided to come back this way later in the hope that they were still there.

Black-tailed Godwits

I did linger long enough to scope the Curlew Sandpipers and take a couple of pictures. All of the birds were juveniles with their neatly fringed upper parts.

Black-tailed Godwits and Curlew Sandpipers
Black-tailed Godwits and Curlew Sandpipers
Roosting Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew Sandpipers

I headed along the track, but was slightly stumped by the fence being across and cattle being moved. Fortunately the farmer had not really started herding the cattle and so I was able to get past. There were at least 100 Yellow Wagtails feeding around the cattle, but again I did not linger too long.

As I got up onto the sea wall the Osprey was still sat there and now the views through the scope were much better, but it was really to far for photos. I took a couple with my trusty old SLR before reverting to a bit of digiscoping with my very old Sony. 

Osprey on Tree on North Binness Island

The combination of poor light and a crap camera did not do the bird any justice, but at least it was a record shot.

Digiscoped Osprey on North Binness Island

I headed back along the stream and through the bushes, the Curlew Sands were still their but unfortunately all the godwits had gone. I watched the Curlew Sands again for a while until they took flight and headed over the scrape and out of sight. 

The bushes were bursting with birds with the majority being a flock of at least 1000 Starlings, but also good numbers of Blackcaps and Common Whitethroats.

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