With good numbers of Sandpipers and a selection of other passage wading birds, the day (1st) was mainly dedicated to seeing as many ‘species’ of ‘waders’ we (Jason Nichols and I) could find #Wader Watch! However, by no means was it a ‘blinkered approach’, far from it; at a time when interdisciplinary science and habitats are far away more important than just species recognition alone!
The first wader we saw was a Lapwing, en-route along the Norfolk coast and then we had the fortunes of seeing a Weasel running across the road in front of us at Weybourne.
A Curlew followed at Salthouse and then a Wood Sandpiper at the edge of the pond at Walsey Hills, where Jase also serendipitously saw a Water Rail, on the back of his camera, which was probably the reason the sandpiper flew further along the muddy edge!
Oystercatchers and Black-tailed Godwits followed with 12 Curlews of note on the Eye Field at Cley.
At east Wells, the flooded areas produced more new waders for the day, with Green and Common Sandpipers, Dunlin, Avocet and Ruff. The Sandpiper trio totals here amounted to 8 Green, 10 Wood and 2 Common Sandpipers.
11 Spoonbills and 10 Little Egrets, as always were great birds to see and 3 Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzard, Common Whitethroat and Hirundines flying low over the water and Black-tailed Godwits were also of note.
At Brancaster Staithe a Common Redshank, 2 Greenshank and a Turnstone were added to Wader-watch, a running total of 13. Also here were 3 Spoonbills feeding in the channels (despite the human disturbance!) and 3 Little Egrets.
Titchwell had many Avocets resting on the islands and 4 Spoonbills feeding. Amongst the Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwits, 2 (possibly 3) Little Stints and 3 Little Ringed Plover were seen and from the beach Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Sanderling (flying past) were added to the total of waders, which had now reached 17. A Great White Egret dropped in one of the reedbed pools on the way back along the path and Bearded Reedlings were also heard.
Back along the coast and at Wiveton 2 Red Kites were together in the sky and a stop at the ‘middle hides’ at Cley found Wood, Green and Common Sandpipers in relatively good numbers alongside Greenshank, Avocets (including chicks of varying ages), Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin and Ruff. But it was 2 Whimbrel calling as they flew across the scrape and a Common Snipe that ventured out from cover (and back into it again!) that gave us a respectable total of 19 waders for the day.
There was an obvious increase in Painted Lady numbers during the day and one was seen coming in across the beach at Titchwell. Including the Painted Ladies, 11 species of butterflies were recorded during the day: Large and Small White, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and my first Small Skippers of the year (as none in the garden yet!).
Bar-tailed Godwit Great White Egret
Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit & 2 Bar-tailed Godwits Wood Sandpiper
Common Whitethroat Spoonbill Avocet Black-tailed Godwit