Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wood You Believe It?

Wednesday morning was too windy for ringing so I grabbed the camera bag and set off birding. 

Conder Green provided a good selection of species and some very good counts, much better than my last visits. I guess the “star” bird of the morning was a single Wood Sandpiper, a species best described as “uncommon” in these parts. In most years I would see them in their teens on the annual visit to Menorca in May, but not this, 2020 The Year of the Virus. 

The Wood Sandpiper breeds in subarctic wetlands from the Scottish Highlands across Europe and then east across the Palearctic. They mostly nest on the ground but also use an abandoned old tree nest of another bird, such as the Fieldfare. The one this morning didn’t come terribly close as can be gleaned from the record shot below. 

On a couple of occasions it fed with both Redshank and Common Sandpiper when the comparative sizes of each became more marked. In fact, the common Redshank (Tringa totanus) is the closest relative of the Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola). 

Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper 

Common Sandpiper 

Other waders this morning - 21 Redshank, 7 Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 3 Curlew and 4 Avocet – two adults and two half- grown chicks. Not to mention the 200+ Lapwings roosting when I arrived on site but which dispersed out to the estuary in bundles of tens and twenties. 



Many birds were drawn into the early morning’s hatch of flying insects, such a swarm of both insects and birds that it proved hard to estimate numbers. Let’s try 65 Pied Wagtail, 60+ Swallows, 40 Sand Martin, 8 House Martin and 10 Swift. The wagtails brought along a single Meadow Pipit that joined in a feeding frenzy that had all but subsided just an hour later. 

What’s that about the early bird? The Robin joined in too.


For students of moult, here’s a picture of a Starling from which to sort out the new feathers from the old ones. 


Wildfowl and Odds & Sods – 4 Common Tern, 2 Little Egret,4 Little Grebe, 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Stock Dove. 

I just looked at the forecast for tomorrow morning’s pencilled in ringing. Would you believe it? Yes, more rain is likely between 0700 and 1000.


Wally Jones said...

Nice find on the Wood Sandpiper! Not to mention the other waders hanging about.

I have no problem locating clouds of insects, but, unlike you, seem to be too late to observe the birds feeding on them.

Many of our resident birds have the look of your poor Starling. Most of them go quiet during molting since they can't fly as well, or in some cases, not at all.

Hope your weather provides frequent birding/ringing opportunities in the coming days. For us - a tropical storm is scheduled for the weekend. Just what we need, more rain.

Gini and I have been side-tracked a bit with family matters, but all is good and tomorrow we will be headed afield. Report imminent.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,

Great sighting, congrats on finding the Wood Sandpiper. Love the cute Robin! All the birds are beautiful. The Lapwing will always be a favorite of mine. Great photos. Take care, enjoy your day!

Angie said...

Hey Phil - glad you spotted the Wood Sandpiper, and had some good fortune with other birds as well. To answer your question in your comment: We can access Salvage Hunters here, via Amazon Prime, so it's on my list to start watching. Thanks for the tip!

Mike Attwood said...

Nice post Phil. Stay safe. Mike.

Rhodesia said...

I do love lapwings, they only seem to pass through here briefly and I have only seen them a couple of times. The weather has been very odd this year as has everything else. I wonder if we will ever get to live a normal life again!! Keep safe and take care, enjoy the week, Diane

Lowcarb team member said...

The robin is my favourite bird.
He seems to feature in some of the Christmas Cards I send :)

All the best Jan

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