Monday, 17 August 2009

Dashing Greenshanks

I couldn't resist returning to the Backsands Scrape, in the hope that the Greenshanks that I'd missed photographing when my camera gave up one me would once again give me a chance of a photo or two. Ever since I read Desmond Nethersole-Thompson's "Greenshanks" this wader has had an extra magic about them. When I got to the hide there were two mike and some maintenance gear outside but no one in the hide. The view from the hide was now considerably improved as much of the vegetation that had partly obscured the scrape had been trimmed. One of these volunteers turned out to be "toffee" who dropped me a note the other day. I'm not good at remembering names, so drop me another message and remind me who I met please!

Once it all settle down I wasn't long before the ringing "Tu Tu Tu" call of a Greenshank rang out over the scrape. At first they gathered a fair way away on the same patch of mud that they were resting on two days ago.

I think that there were about seven and soon a small group , three or four, decided to be a bit more energetic and dash around, bills in the water feeding.

Two of them came quite close to me and for most of the time my old 10D let me take uninterrupted pictures, with just the occasional "error 99" message, needing a quick turn off and on again.
Some of the time they were working in a group of four, but these two had broken away and dashed around as a pair quite close to the hide.

And then there was one, as almost right in front of me, one demonstrated the sweeping technique they employ, not completely dissimilar to the Avocets that had been here earlier.

I wasn't able to see if it caught anything, but it certainly was very energetic trying to.

At times the head was almost submerged in the water. I presume that like most waders the tip of the beak has a lot of sensory nerves that help them find food in the mud.

The suppoting cast of waders wasn't large, a few Redshanks came in at much the same time as the Greenshanks.
Green Sandpipers were nosily chasing about, I would estimate there were ar least six.

Common Sandpipers were also very evident with at least eight, but none with spots unfortunately.

I quite liked this picture of the tail as this one flew away from me.

Two Black-tailed Godwits were feeding to my right, but didn't venture as close as the Greenshanks.

On the far side a Common Snipe was probing in the mud. I did go round to the other hide, but the light wasn't as good and there was nothing new from there. It took me 26 mins to walk back to the car, and measuring the route on google earth, I make it 2.50 Km. The means that I walked at 3.6 mph, which is quite pleasing.

At Bockhill this morning I had my first two autumn Wheatears and a Whinchat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greenshank, "the Queen of the Marshes". Smart birds & smart photos. Nice ones, Tony.