Sunday, 28 August 2016

Baird's Sandpiper: Reculver Lagoon, Kent

Heading to Reculver this morning hoping we didn't encounter any knock on effects from the M20 bridge collapse the previous day. Having left at 5am we arrived at the pay and display car park at Reculver Towers around 6.30. We headed up the slope passing the medieval church towers and started the mile or so walk along the sea wall towards the lagoon the Baird's Sandpiper had called home for the previous two days. 
The walk out produced good numbers of Ringed Plover and Sanderling among the shingle banks, along with smaller numbers of Turnstone and a single Wheatear. More of a surprise and a much over due year tick was the presence of a Whimbrel at the water's edge, three more were seen in flight as we headed for the lagoon.
The last reported sighting of the Baird's had been at 7.50pm the previous evening, with no news of the birds presence this morning we were left hoping the clear skies of the previous evening had not persuaded the bird to move on.
As we reached the lagoon the worries ended, as we found three birders already present and watching the Baird's as it fed among the stones at the waters edge. It was showing extremely well in the company of a Little Stint and two Dunlin, seemingly unconcerned by the constant stream of birders, joggers, dog walkers and cyclists during the 2-3 hours we were on site. 
My last sighting of a Baird's Sandpiper was at Holland haven on the 7th October 2010, that was a rather distant individual, In stark contrast today's bird was the complete opposite, showing down to a few feet.

Baird's Sandpiper (B Anderson)

Little Stint

We moved on to Dungeness and drove along Galloways to find good numbers of Whinchats and Wheatears present. We drew a blank finding any Wryneck and there were no reports of anyone else having better luck with this species in the area.
Best birds reported from the reserve were of a single Glossy Ibis on Hayfield 2 and Wood Sandpiper from Firth Hide along with a Garganey.
As we left for home a Kestrel was perched on a nearby fence post and on the opposite side of the road a Buzzard had the same idea although at a much greater distance from the road.

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