Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The perfect storm - big wader day!

Other than keeping me awake for most of the night, I underestimated just how big an impact the deluge was going to have on the wader passage through Shropshire! It was a text from Martyn Owen that got me kick started and then had to somehow battle through gridlocked traffic!

Eventually I made it to VP where 2 Sanderling, 29 Dunlin and  2 Ringed Plover were waiting (I'd missed a Black Tern plus 3 Arctics passing through!).

Here's the waders. It was impossible to get them all in the frame but some nice counts here! (some bigger images than normal!)

One of the two Sanderling taking centre stage!

By 9.30, the Dunlin count had reached 37 - surely the highest for the reserve. Most of them plus Sanderling are here......

Tom Lowe and Martyn Owen had gone on to Long Lane and Chelmarsh with impressive wader counts coming out including a lifer Turnstone for MO at Chel (nice find eh!) Having been joined by Mike Stokes, we opted to check what wader megas might be lurking in the north of the County. Answer: absolutely none!! Too much water at Wood Lane and Whixall meant absolutely nothing doing and all we came away with were 2 Common Terns on Colemere!

A check of  VP after lunch and the original wader flock had cleared out at 10.30, only to be replaced later by another 13 Dunlin plus 1 Sanderling but the weather was now quite settled. Would the Turtnstone still be at Chelmarsh?? We set off and 40 mins later were totting up 1 Turnstone, 8 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sand on the dam plus 3 Common Tern, the scrape looked good but was empty.....

We just had to check Long Lane next. Goodness only knows  why this flooded field has become a wader hotspot, presumably the presence of waders attracts even more!! It's also 'out of the way' and the birds don't get disturbed! An initial scan indicated that the count here was going to top the lot so far and MS picked out a summer plumage Knot! Repeated counts eventually confirmed we were looking at 1 Knot63 Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, 15 Ringed Plover plus 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew plus at least 4 Lapwing. 

The 'perfect storm', the'Big Day'......., superlatives peppered the news services as Twitter went into overload and for once Shropshire was head and shoulders ahead on the Midland scene!

I ended the day with an evening check of VP where 1 Sanderling, 13 Dunlin and an Arctic Tern remained. I've not added these to the day tally at three sites for MS and myself......

Turnstone, Knot, Redshank, Common Sand 1 each
Sanderling 17 
Dunlin 117 
Ringed Plover 17
LRP 2,  Curlew 2 ,  Lapwing 4 , Oystercatcher 6.....

One of the Dunlin.....

Two of the Dunlin!

Dunlin with Sanderling!

One Sanderling and one heck of a day to remember!

All I can say and I've said it before (sorry Sir Alex) Shropshire Birding - Bloody Hell!