We parked up in the layby half way down the road. I set my scope up at the back of the car using the boot as a shade due to the fact that the sun was shining in my direction.
I was expecting it to be a little busy, but there was only a handful of people there, one of them being Mike Hook. he has a Flickr account so feel free to look at it, the address is http://www.flickr.com/photos/58239862@N02/.
We had a good ol chat about this and that, mainly about what birds was about. Mike then went off to do his own thing.
There was the usual species, Greylags, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Coot Moorhen, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Teal. On the island where the gulls tend to roost was a Common Tern. The gulls there was B/H.Gull, Herring Gull, and a solitary L/B/B/Gull.
The majority of birds was wader species, 14 in all. While I was checking them out there was a heavy down pour, which didn't affect me because being at the rear of the car sheltered me because the rain was coming from the south but it didn't last long. There was a god few hundred Black Tailed Godwits feeding and resting most of them in one large flock, and many of them in breeding plumage.Now one of the birds that I heard was there was a Knot in breeding plumage. Now Black Tailed Godwits in breeding plumage are Ooange/rufus below and a mixture of grey/black/orange upper parts, as are Knots. I had a good scan among the loose birds that was spread about but no sign of it, the only place left to look was in among the Blackwits. As Bill Oddie once said, it was going to be like looking for a Bittern in a reed bed. I had a good look but I couldn't see it, so I started checking out the other wader species, many in breeding plumage: They was as follows: Avocet, Common Sandpiper(one behind the gull island) Dunlin, Golden Plover(good number on the island close to the road, with Starlings mixed in with them) Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover(juveniles) Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Ruff(feeding close in by the reeds), Snipe(8), Greenshank(2 heard in the direction of the far side of the scrape). A small bird flew in and landed close to the Golden Plover, it turned out to be a juvenile Sanderling, looking very smart indeed.
** It has been suggested that the bird seen at Oare are summer plumaged. I know that one has been seen there recently, but the one I saw in my opinion is definately a juvenile, black and white spangle back, slight showing of a collar, white under the neck. I have found a picture of a Sanderling that is as close to the one I saw, see below. I watched this particular bird through the scope at about 40x zoom.** Isn't it possible that one did fly in for a short time??
|Juvenile Sanderling. Photo found birding website|
I was going to look for the Knot again but before that I started to look though the B/H/Gulls to see if the Bonapartes Gull was about. It wasn't showing, but there was some swimming at the far side. I checked them out and there it was,happily swimming about. at one point it swam in front of a B/H/Gull, and then the jizz was obvious.
While I was watching it Mike Hook returned and I told him that I had found the Bonapartes Gull. Because it was distant I let him have a good look though the scope, I understand that it was his first.
He decided to take a walk to the far side of the scrape in the hope of getting a shot of it, so I got back to looking for this elusive Knot and after a while of staring though the eyepiece, getting eye strain I finally found it. It wasn't until some of the Blackwits decided to move that it showed. I was determined to see it because I have never seen one in breeding plumage.
Now selecting my bird of the day was a choice 2 birds, but after weighing up the odds I have chosen as my ** Bird Of The Day.** the ** Sanderling.** ( now you might think why not the Knot, but I chose it for it contrast of colour: black bill, black legs and black and white spangle upperparts)