Conder Green enjoyed a purple patch of late with a superb selection of species which has kept birders entertained and then coming back for more. But a run of high tides and nights of rain has dramatically filled the pool to such a degree that this morning I struggled to see much bird life on or around its breezy and choppy waters; after all, “waders” pass their days picking through muddy margins or sandy shores, herons and egrets prefer to fish the unmoving shallows, and dabbling ducks favour a dip not a dive.
The regulars were there, 4 Common Sandpipers, 1 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank and 4 Dunlin in the creek with tiny numbers of Oystercatcher and Lapwing on the pool, plus an overflying Black-tailed Godwit which landed in the field beyond where Curlews and Lapwings fed. Two Little Egret and 1 Grey Heron stayed mostly out of sight, not so the 2 Wigeon, 2 Little Grebe and single Goldeneye which although present, kept a distance away.
Many Swifts appear to have left these shores in recent days, numbers this morning counted on one hand. As I watched Swallows and House Martins feeding across the marsh I saw some break off to pursue a Sparrowhawk that was cruising the hedgerow alongside the railway bridge; the hawk eventually disappeared out of sight into the trees above the car park. It's many weeks since spotting a Sparrowhawk and while they do go more than a little secretive in June and July, I get the feeling that Sparrowhawk numbers are low at present as they are absent from regular spots I know of.
Three noisy Ravens flew over, the trio heading together towards Glasson and beyond. Passerines consisted of 3 Tree Sparrow, 3 Pied Wagtail, 6 Greenfinch, 2 Linnet, 2 Whitethroat and a still singing Reed Bunting.
A look at calmer Glasson revealed 1 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Tufted Duck, 15+ Swallows and 2 Swift.
From the bowling green but looking directly into the sun and the backlit waders there were lots feeding at the incoming tide, approximately 450 Dunlin, 200 Redshank, 80 Lapwings and 2 Grey heron; later I would see most if not all of the Dunlin arrive at Cockersands after the tide filled the Conder sandbanks and stopped the waders from feeding.
The full tide at Cockersands held the aforesaid Dunlin, 42 Eider, 3 Whimbrel, 25 Curlew, 2 Ringed Plover, 120 Oystercatcher and 7 Grey Heron.
It was good to see a flock of about 30 Linnets here feeding in the depths of the marsh grass where the seeds fall to the sand below. Come November the Linnets will be gone, replaced by their northern cousin the Twite.
Just along the road I found a family party of 5 Whitethroats, a species which appears to have experienced a good breeding season. After a cold spring the season has been an average one for Tree Sparrows, so after their slow start it was good to find a flock of 50+ flitting between a ready to harvest field and the roadside hawthorns.
“Click the pics” for a closer view and then log in to Another Bird Blog soon to see what Friday brings.