Monday, 4 August 2014

White-rumped Sandpiper at Hickling

Saturday was a busy day at home. I had 7 sheep to prepare for yesterdays Wayland Show but managed to get them done in time to nip out for the evening to Rush Hill scrape at Hickling. We arrived by the church and were told by 2 leaving birders that the White-rumped Sandpiper had been very elusive as it was feeding on the near edge of the scrape under the bank, and "not with the Dunlin". Undaunted we walked to the scrape and a birder there pointed out the area of banking behind which the White-rump was lurking. The bird refused to show so I took to scanning the scrape for other waders between scans along the bank edge. Wader passage on the East coast seems to have been particularly good this year and there was an excellent selection of waders on the scrape including a Wood Sandpiper, Green and Common Sands, several Little Ringed Plover and Ruff. There was also a small flock of Dunlin at the back of the scrape which was slowly increasing in number. After 45 minutes with no sign of the White-rumped Sandpiper I scanned through the Dunlin again and noticed a smaller, longer, greyer bird with a whitish supercilium. Although distant this was clearly the bird we were after and we watched it for 15 minutes as it fed actively on the mud.
Today I nipped out at lunchtime to Breydon Water for half an hour. The tide was rising pushing waders towards their roost at the eastern end. There was a dense flock of several hundred Avocet and another of several hundred Black-tailed Godwits, but the highlight was a summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper plus several Spotted Redshanks, Greenshank, Whimbrel and 2 Golden Plover.
By the way, the Wayland Show went well with 2nds for my ram, shearling ewe and ewe lamb against stiff competition. That's it for my show season this year but preparations for 2015 start next weekend when the rams finally get to do some work

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