One of the reasons for writing this diary is, unlike the scrape at Rush Hills, which can be seen via the public hide on the Weaver's Way, the scrape at Swim Coots cannot be seen without going on one of the boat trips at Hickling.
Swim Coots is a very tranquil and special place and whilst conducting wildlife boat tours for the NWT, it enabled me access, sometimes up to 4 times a day to the hide and therefore the scrape allowing me to record on a regular basis what occured at Swim Coots during the Spring and Summer.
A Water Pipit was seen behind the hide in the sparsely growing reedbed (9th) and 30+ Avocet were on the scrape.
Bearded Reedling were heard in the reedbed and a Dunlin and 2 Ruff were present (11th).
A better array of waders today (20th), with 2 Little Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank, 13 Ruff and 17 Avocet.
A Fox was seen along the outer wall on the scrape (21st) and a Chinese Water Deer also put in an appearance.
3 drake Pochard were on the scrape, reflecting the water levels. A Whimbrel flew over and a Common Sandpiper was perched on the 'goose fence' (low fences placed at the edge of the reedbed to dissuade the Grey-lag Geese from grazing the reeds) behind the hide.
With the water levels far more to the waders liking, May started well with a Kentish Plover on the scrape in the evening (4th). Unfortunately the plover disappeared later in the evening and was only seen by its finder (Mark Crossfield) and myself. A supporting cast of waders included: 10 Knot, 7 Greenshank, 30+ Ringed Plover, 18 Dunlin, 8 Avocet, 3 Whimbrel, Turnstone, 2 Common Redshank and a Common Sandpiper. A Yellow Wagtail was also present.
Left to Right: Kentish Plover, 3 of the 10 Knot, Yellow Wagtail
Avocets arriving on scrape
A Fox was once again present on the scrape (6th), but wader numbers had gone down (unrelated to the fox) with 3 Knot, 4 Greenshank, 5 Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Redshank, Oystercatcher and an Avocet. A Cuckoo was also seen, as it flew over the scrape.
A Temminck's Stint was new (7th), as was the first Curlew sandpiper of the Spring. A Spotted Redshank. Knot and 2 Ruff added variety.
A Spoonbill appeared on the scrape in the morning (10th). A very bright individual, mainly due to the 3 colour rings on each leg!! 4 Little Ringed Plovers were new arrivals and also present were 3 Avocet, 26 Ringed Plover, 26 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and a Common Redshank. A male Bearded Reedling was behind the hide in the reeds.
The Spoonbill was once again present (12th) and Ringed Plover numbers had increased with 50+ on the scrape. 5 Avocet, 25+ Dunlin, Whimbrel and 2 newly arrived Bar-tailed Godwit, one in non-breeding and one in breeding attire, were also present.
Two immature Little Gulls graced the scrape (16th) and a Whimbrel, 11 Avocet, Common Sandpiper and a pair of Bearded Reedlings were also seen.
More like a scene from the coast today (17th) with 7 Turnstone, Sanderling, 3 Grey Plover, Ringed Plover and a Dunlin!
Both a Temminck's and a Little Stint were present (19th) both in the same view at one point giving a good comparison. 2 Curlew Sandpipers were also new in and Sanderlings now numbered 4. 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, Grey Plover, Dunlin, 60+ Ringed Plover, 2 Avocet and a Bar-tailed Godwit made for a good selection of waders.
Two Little Stints were now present (20th), along with 3 Curlew Sandpipers. 3 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Avocet, 50+ Ringed Plover and 15+ Dunlin were also seen.
Continuing with a really good period for wader variety, 2 Wood Sandpipers were new in (26th). A Curlew Sandpiper remained as did a few Dunlin, 15+ Ringed Plover, 2 Avocet and a Greenshank. Two Ruff were also present as were 2 immature Little Gulls and a Northern Wheatear perched on the hide roof.
During some inclement weather the only bird of note today (31st) was a Hobby down on the left-hand Island.
Little Gulls with Avocets
Little Ringed Plovers
Bar-tailed Godwits-non-breeding & breeding
Little & Temminck's Stints with Ringed Plovers
Little Gull (flight) with Common Tern