Good Wader Passage – 9/ix/14

I headed to Goldcliff once again, arriving at 8:00, but this week, the car park was noticeably quieter, with just a few Long-Tailed Tit in the trees. A few minutes later – looking out from the first hide – I was greeted by the sight of a large flock of waders, feeding actively in the shallow lagoon. The first birds that I saw through the ‘scope were a pair of juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, looking tall and ‘lanky’ amongst the hordes of juvenile Dunlin. I didn’t have long to scan through the waders though, as everything went up and a Peregrine belted in low, catching a Dunlin and landing on the island.

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It seemed quite wary though, and soon flew of with its dinner. The wader flock flew around for a while, splitting into several smaller groups. I checked through the remaining waders, picking out a remarkable seven juvenile Little Stint. However, clearly most of the flock had disappeared which was more than a little frustrating. Here is a shot of a small part of the flock, which contains 37 waders; one Curlew Sandpiper (fourth from the left), four Little Stint (one which is right next to a Dunlin, a short way behind the Curlew Sandpiper; one is in the center of the image; one is the ninth bird from the right; and one is the bird on the far right).

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The ducks and gulls, contained only the usual species, Teal, Pintail, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler and Gadwall. However, the days highlight species soon appeared; a juvenile Wood Sandpiper, which was picked up feeding along the shoreline at the back of the lagoon. It gave good ‘scope views in the morning light, but was too distant for good views. Too keep up the trend forming in recent posts, here are some poor quality record shots of the bird:

Wood Sandpiper

And here is a shot of the bird, just to the right of a Teal:

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A Common Sandpiper was also in the same area of shoreline, along with two Snipe.

Moving on, I soon discovered that the newly built platform gave excellent views of the second lagoon, which conveniently held another large flock of waders. The staple birds here were Black-Tailed Godwit – there were 80 in total – and they were all juveniles. Lapwing numbered 34, 37 Redshank were also present, eleven Knot, three Dunlin and eleven Greenshank rested amongst the group. Checking each bird with care, I was able to pick out a juvenile Spotted Redshank, and a juvenile Bar-Tailed Godwit – here pictured near the middle of the group:

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As I headed toward the third lagoon, I briefly saw a pair of Blackcap and a Whitethroat in the hedgerows, and a pair of Wheatear and a White Wagtail (with several Pied’s) on the manure pile. A female Yellow Wagtail was also seen in flight.

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At the third lagoon, yet more waders were on show! 36 Avocet were in a large flock (including several juveniles). A small group of Dunlin (about twenty) also held another two juvenile Little Stint, taking the days tally to nine! Three female type Ruff (or Reeve) were taken in, along with a couple more Greenshank and Lapwing.

As I left the reserve, I heard and then saw a male Grey Wagtail flying overhead, heading east. This is only the second time I have seen this species at the reserve. A Ruddy Darter showed briefly in the car park – a new species of dragonfly for me!

I later spent several hours searching the paths to the west of Goldcliff, in the vane hope of finding a Wryneck, but the walk was fruitless. I did see a Skylark, a Reed Bunting, a Sedge Warbler and many Meadow Pipits but nothing of any note.

It had been another good day at the wetlands though!


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