Monday, 19 July 2010

Oh - Ah, it's a long way!

I had an urge to revisit the Restharrow Scrape early in the hope that the Pectoral Sandpiper was still there and that it would give closer opportunities for photos, but not luck, it appears to have gone, or at least gone missing for the time being.

There were still lot of juvenile Yellow Wagtails dropping in and as I found later they were numerous on the way out to Backsand Scrape.

Anyone who's sat at the back of a coach on a school rugby outing will be familiar with the Oh Ah bird, and Backsand Scrape reminded me of that verse today, except it Oh it was a long way by Ah WAS it worth it. I knew that there was some mud as the water levels had been dropped by pumping. There is always a chance towards the end of July that something out of the ordinary might drop in. In today's heat it certainly did seem a long walk, but there were quite a few butterflies to keep me amused including one rather worn Painted Lady. As I carefully opened the window in the hide there was a juvenile Grey Heron straight in front of me, and a second one further to the right.

Very soon after I arrived a Little Egret arrived, soon to be followed by two more.

When it go close to the |Grey Heron the enormous difference in size was very evident, but there didn't seem to be any interaction.

This wasn't true of the Little Egrets, they seemed to expend a lot of energy chasing each other. Looking at the bills it looks to me as it this is an adult chasing a juvenile.

When one of the |Herons landed in front of me it beautifully demonstrated how the alula (bastard wing) acts in the same way as the flaps on an aircraft to stop it stalling at if slows to come into land.

In front of the hide a couple of very busy Reed Warblers were commuting at regular intervals. They didn't stop around in the open at all and I had to snatch a picture of one half hidden in the reeds. I presume that this was a pair that were still feeding young.

This lone Shelduck has recently acquired it's juvenile plumage. Later it will be off to the moulting grounds, where thousands of Shelducks gather together. During their annual moult the become flightless and they gather in large numbers on isolated sand banks away from most predators and seeking safety in numbers.

I only found three waders, two Green Sandpipers and a Little Ringed Plover. All were tucked away on one of the islands.

The Green Sands were quietly dozing when the squabbling Little Egrets came through and flushed one of them.

The Little Ringed Plover also kept it's distance, and wandered off out of sight round the other side of the island. I have to admit that it was probably around low tide when I was there so there was little chance that many waders would come in.

On the walk back I watched numerous Sedge Warblers in the ditches, there frog like croak always giving away their presence.

In the middle one one large wheat field I could here the rather pathetic attempts at singing coming from a Reed Bunting. They normally sing from a higher song post in a bush and this one did fly in to sing from a near by tree.

I thought that it was looking rather worn as if the breeding season was beginning to take it's toll on it. I guess it have had two broods. Although they are monogamous a study showed that 50% of young resulted from extra-pair matings, and we thought out society was in trouble!

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