Monday, October 7, 2013

Green With Envy

A wholly frustrating couple of hours at Lane Ends today when birds wouldn’t come close and there didn’t seem to be much happening anyway in the grey and overcast light. 

Masses of Pink-footed Geese out on the marsh - several thousand at least, possibly into five figures now. Little Egret numbered 9, with just 2 Grey Heron, one on the marsh and one along Broadfleet. Skylarks were much in evidence again, and I totalled up 60+ on the marsh and around the Hi-Fly fields, the birds at one time scattering at the appearance of the local Kestrel. Just a single Meadow Pipit seen/heard!

Skylark

The incoming tide brought a number of waders off the marsh, most noticeably a pack of 21 Black-tailed Godwit, 35 Golden Plover and 20+ Snipe. 

Snipe

The Teal weren’t for moving much from the tideline today, my count of 250+ from the wildfowler’s pools only. Also on the wildfowler’s pools, three Green Sandpipers, two departing the moment I set foot over the stile on the sea wall, the third as I explored the flooded ditches. No chance of photographs of the Green Sandpipers, a species frustratingly difficult to approach in the field, always seeing and avoiding a birder either before or just as binoculars are raised. It’s my most frequent encounter, a series of frantic, liquid calls and the rapidly disappearing white rump of an apparently black bird. 

I am indebted to Sergey Pisarevskiy for the superb photograph of a Green Sandpiper which shows the true colours of this beautiful bird. Oh to get a photograph of a “green sand” even approaching the quality of this one. 

Green Sandpiper - Photo credit: Sergey Pisarevskiy / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

For anyone who doesn’t know the call, turn up the volume on the PC and click on the xeno canto button to hear a Green Sandpiper flying away from a bird watcher.


From Birdlife International "Green Sandpipers have an extremely large range across Europe and Asia, the global population estimated to number c.1,200,000-3,600,000 individuals (Wetlands International, 2006). In the UK the species is a common passage migrant in spring, but more so in autumn".

Range of Green Sandpiper

"Green Sandpipers are wholly migratory and move overland on a broad front with European populations making well-documented stop-overs in Saharan oases. Southward movements to the wintering grounds occur between June and early November, with the species present in the north and equatorial tropics from late-August to early-April, and in southern Africa from October to March.

The return passage to northern breeding grounds occurs between late-February and mid-May. In mild winters the Green Sandpiper is a fairly common sight in the UK, and some birds may also remain in the breeding grounds of southern Scandinavia. The species generally occurs in low concentrations during passage and at stop-over sites, although it may occur in small scattered groups of up to 30 individuals.

During the breeding season this species inhabits damp areas in swampy, old pine, spruce or alder woodland and montane forest with many fallen and rotten tree stumps, marshy forest floors and heavy carpets of lichens and mosses, generally in the vicinity of rivers, streams, swamps, ponds, lakes and bogs.

Outside of the breeding season Green Sandpipers show a preference for a wider variety of inland freshwater habitats such as marshes, lake edges, sewage farms, small dams and ponds, ditches, riverbanks and forest streams. It is also found in intertidal areas such as creeks and the channels of saltmarshes This species is unusual for a wader by frequently nesting high in trees in the abandoned nests of passerine species such as Woodpigeon, thrushes, crows, jays and shrikes, but may also nest in squirrel dreys or on natural platforms up to 20 m high."

More soon from Another Bird Blog. In the meantime I'm linking to Stewart's Gallery of birds .

22 comments:

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Phil Well I thought the birds you saw ere great adn you got a lovely shot of the Skylark. You are right about the Green Sandpiper photo. It is superb

Gail Dixon (LaBelle) said...

Handsome skylark (and I thought that was only a model for Buick!). The white underbelly of the green sandpiper is so pristine!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Delightful one! Duck hunting season began last month here. I loathe it!
Cheers from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Carol L McKenna said...

Always wonderful bird photography on here ~ love the closeups of 2 very beautiful birds ~ thanks, carol ^_^

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, sounds like a great outing. I love the Skylark and the Snipe shots. And the Green Sandpiper(very pretty) is new to me, thanks for sharing their info. Happy birding and have a great week!

Carole M. said...

skylark is impressive with that little raised tuft of feathers. Shame it was a frustrating outing but you always seem to achieve lots to blog about; it is a lovely off-shoot and good reading to your subscribers. I love to read the personal accounts of people enjoying getting out and discovering and photographing to share with others. Thanks to Sergey indeed; it is a fabulous photo of the Green Sandpiper. I'd never get to see one only for him (or you one day Phil). Also to Marco for the wonderful audio; it's a sweet call.

mick said...

I hope you get your photo of the Green Sandpiper sometime! I read in my birding book that they are "vagrant" down here in Australia - so I can live in hope! Great photo of the Skylark - haven't heard one of them since I was a child in NZ.

Russell Jenkins said...

It is a great picture of the green sandi. Looks so relaxed and in the beautiful pose. Doesn't look a bit trying to get close to. Nice info about it too, thanks Phil.

Stewart M said...

A photograph of any bird approaching that quality would be good!

Nice post.

Stewart M - Melbourne

Findlay Wilde said...

I am really hoping to see a Green Sandpiper this Autumn. So far they keep escaping form me. From Findlay

TexWisGirl said...

i like that skylark!

Kenneth C Schneider said...

Very interesting narrative on the Green Sandpiper, and a great shot of the Skylark!

Carletta said...

I lovely Skylark capture! Lovely feather pattern.
I bet someday we see an impressive 'green sand' shot from you Phil. You are a passionate birder with patience so I feel sure it will happen. :)

HansHB said...

Nice post, a lot to study!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

It seems to be a consensus ... the skylark is a beauty!!!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

PS...Phil, I do not mind your ideas and commenting on open minds and drivers in storms!!! I value everyone's opinion. And guess that means I have an 'open mind'. :o)

Gunilla Bäck said...

The skylark is beautiful! Good luck getting your photo of the green sandpiper.

Amanda said...

Love that white belly of the sandpiper, it is beautiful isn't it. Great Skylark shot.

Arija said...

Such a nice capture of the skylark even if it was a frustrating bird watch. That sandpiper really is a great shot.

Karen said...

Oh yes, lovely capture of the Skylark!

Dave said...

Interesting post Phil and an interesting time of year now. Look forward to more updates form your patch over the Autumn

Mary Howell Cromer said...

I am on the run Phil, but wanted to stop by and see what shares you have made. Oh the Skylark is absolutely the stunner of the day! We are 2,000 miles from home and the journey continues in less than one hour. Take care~

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