Sunday, 16 August 2009

Wader Challenge

Whilst out with Steve H and D McK this morning we decided to try and count as many species of waders as we could. The record to beat was 23 in one day.

We started the day at Castle Island doing the WEBS count. Most of the Island was showing and soon we were onto are first wader species:
3 Common Sandpipers, Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, 6 Dunlin, 5 Snipe, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and 3 Ruff.

The surprise bird of the day was a stunning summer plumage Grey Plover which was amongst the Lapwing, the second bird we have seen hear this year.
As well as the waders and the other resident Island species, 2 female Goosander were swimming together further up the river.

At Cresswell Pond we thought things were going to get easier as the sand bar in front of the hide was exposed but only 30+ Dunlin, Redshank and Lapwing were on it.

At Hauxley a Greenshank was running along the shore in front of the visitors centre.
The Tern hide held a good number of roosting Turnstone as well as 12 Dunlin.
6 Black Tailed Godwit were on the water but like Monday they flew off after a couple of minutes.
From the Ponteland hide a Greenshank and a group of Dunlin were almost within touching distance.
3 Pied Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail were in the channel to the left of the hide with two Common Sandpipers.

We then went to the Blyth Estuary were we added Whimbrel, Bar Tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover to the wader list as well as a good count of 134 Curlew.
A female Red Breasted Merganser was asleep amongst the Curlew.

With no sign of Curlew Sandpiper or Little Stint at Cresswell or Hauxley we knew that today was not the day for the record to be broken, but it was still fun trying.

Are last stop of the day was at Seaton Sluice. We scanned the rocks to the left of the sea-watching hide and soon found 12 Roseate Terns – Lifer.
At first I couldn’t make out the differences between the Roseate and Arctic but this was mainly because there was a lot more red showing on the bill than I imagined.
I then noticed its other key feature such as its distinctive call, shorter Orangey-Red legs, more white body and longer tail.
5 Knot and a Kittiwake were amongst the Roseates and Sandwich Terns. Young Terns of both types were also on the rocks.
A Gannet was flying around and there were 20+ Common Scoter on the Sea.

At the end of the day the Wader table looked like this:
Common Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Grey Plover
Black tailed Godwit
Bar Tailed Godwit
Ringed Plover


admc said...

Hi Crammy
Enjoying your blog-its good to know some younger people are coming into birding!
You say that Roseate Tern has shorter legs than Arctic Tern-this is not the case!Arctic Tern has the shortest legs of the Sterna terns and Roseate Terns legs are at least as long as Common Tern.
All the best

Vanellus said...

Haven't come across the sea watching hide at Seaton Sluice. Is it somewhere near the museum?

Had a trip to Newbiggin on Sunday and did my usual Med Gull deterrent act - not a sniff; even though someone else saw 12. Oh well!