There has always been a fairly good number of waders here that are on passage, feeding up before their long trip to various parts of Africa,although there are those that over winter, and stay with us.
When Pam and I arrived we then knew it was going to be hard to find somewhere to park, as there was quite a lot of cars here. I headed for the East Hide and to my surprise there was only one guy in there, and it wasn't until I started to scan around that I found out why, there was a party of about 20-30 birdwatchers doing the rounds, obviously a local club outing, anyway I knew I was safe for a while because they was down on the sea wall. I had look up on line to see what had been seen over the last couple of days, so I knew what to look for as well as the usual species I would see.
I got the scope set up and started to scan around. I noticed that a few other birders,not ones of the group was looking towards the hide, so I scoped up the area, and one of the first birds that I saw was the Wood Sandpiper that had been reported. It is a bird not often seen on passage, as they don't normally stay in one place very long, plus they are a scarce visitor, some birders never see them either going to their breeding ground up in the taiga or when they are heading south for the winter.
It would then have been difficult not to have seen the Black Tailed Godwits.There must have been about 300-400, maybe more.There was no feeding going on just resting up which made it nice to see the breeding plumage on many of them. On the island close to them was another bird that isn't very common and that was a Curlew Sandpiper with its faded brick red breeding plumage along with 1 of the 3 Common Sandpipers that was there.
The other species in large numbers was (the rough counts was the number of birds that I could see) Avocet=110. Golden Plover=341. Other species seen was as follows: Redshank=84..Greenshank=1..Dunlin=2..Ruff=7(1f,6juv).. Lapwing.. Ringed Plover=1juv.. Common Gull..B/H/Gull.. Herring Gull.. Kestrel.. Marsh Harrier=1f..Peregrine Falcon(which made a fly by putting all the birds up, as they do)..Mute Swan=4..Coot..Moorhen..Cormorant( 4 gulating on the long island).. Greylag Geese=7.. Mallard.. Pochard.. Wigeon=1f..Gadwall.. Shoveler.. Swallow=6..Yellow Wagtail=1juv..Starling..Wood Pigeon..C/Crow..Magpie..
It was surprising just how cool it was in the hide, because as I left, mainly because I had seen all I could from here, and the large party of birders was heading my way, the heat hit me as soon as I opened the door.
The west side was very quiet, there was hardly any bird life, of the few species that I did see I have already named above. I did see and hear some birds in the paddock and scrub area: Blue Tit..Great Tit.. Greenfinch..Blackbird..Cetti's Warbler.. H/Sparrow..Linnet.
I was not going to go to the sea wall hide so it was a bit of sea watching, well, river watching from the shingle next to the causeway. The tide was about half way to low tide.There was Terns sitting on the posts that go down the causeway, on 2 of them was Sandwich Terns, the yellow tips of their bill showing very bright ,with the sun on them and a Common Tern on another. Across the water was a good number of Grey Plover, looking nice in their breeding plumage, their black and silver speckled backs, and when they flew about their black armpits showed up well. My rough count was about about 120-130.
There was the usual gull species about: B/H/Gull..Herring Gull.. Common Gull.. plus 4 L/B/B/Gulls. Off of Swaleness point a Great Skua( aka Bonxie) was harrassing some gulls. There was a handful of Cormorants diving for food. plus there was 2 Whimbrel feeding on the mud in front of the old watch house.
7 Marsh Harriers was over Harty,to the left of the Harty Ferry Inn, in the mocketts hill area. I counted, 4 riding the thermals, and 3 quartering the fields(2m3f,2juv). I would have found it even more difficult if I hadn't been able to zoom in slightly due to heat haze.
While scanning the river I could see a couple of heads bobbing up and down..Seals Common Seals. They was waiting for the tide to drop so that they could rest up and have a doze on their favourite sand bank, Horse Sands. While I was watching them clumsily waddle onto the sand bank, more came into view, and the final count was 11 Common Seals, all facing the same way, tails up, heads up, usual pose. This has been the Common Seals favourite place in the area for more years than I can remember.
So now we come to my "Bird Of The Day." This is not a difficult choice, it has to be the ** Wood Sandpiper.**
Below is my chauffeur. Don't tell Pamela I said that otherwise I am a dead man :-)