Personally, I think the next few weeks looks good for a rare, even mega, Wader here in Norfolk. The warm weather has allowed pools, lagoons and scrapes to look particularly inviting to any flyover flocks. At Surlingham, the water levels are the lowest I have ever seen them, almost too low. Pictures below. However, we are now due some stormy weather and a continuation of South-westerlies. Rain tends to ground, or at least push around, any Waders in an area. I would love to stumble across a Pectoral Sandpiper, and both Cantley and Buckenham have a decent record with this species. A straightforward Semi-P, or summer plumage Stilt Sand, and I'm dreaming. So, it was with these thoughts that I made my first visit to Cantley beet pools this morning. Selected counts as follows:
Green Sandpiper 12
Common Sandpiper 1
Also here, a Common Tern passed though and I was noisily harassed by a gang of Black-headed Gulls who decided I was a clear threat to their chicks out on the pool.
Buckenham Marshes were splendid today, and hopefully a sign of things to come. I counted a total of 4 Wood Sandpiper, I would tentatively suggest at least 2 were juveniles but need to do some more reading in this area. Such a fragile looking bird, a pleasure to see and a sure sign that Autumn is on the way. Counts:
Wood Sandpiper 4
Green Sandpiper 2
Black-tailed Godwit 52 (Stunning mix of plumages).
Marsh Harrier and Little Egret also.
I think 4 Wood Sandpiper is the most I have ever seen at Buckenham. There are also 6 birds being reported from Carlton Marshes in Suffolk. It's now or never for one at Surlingham!
Speaking of my patch, a couple of visits to report. On the 26th a single Green Sandpiper was on the lagoon, as were 2 Grey Heron. I enjoyed watching one wrestle with an Eel. Southern Hawker Dragonflies were new for the year. On the same date at Wheatfen, 4 Snakes that slithered into the undergrowth before I could get a look were probably Grass. I did manage to see a Fox though, near the small broads. On the 27th, it was a warm hazy evening before the rain came. Sparrowhawk begging calls were heard from the wood. 2 Stock Dove fed on the edge of the lagoon and the Green Sandpiper remained. 3 Sand Martin passed overhead. I was again lucky with mammals. Firstly, a vole sp shuffled off into a dyke before I could get a look at him. I was more fortunate with the local Water Deer though; a mother had bought her fawn down to the lagoon to drink and feed. I felt very privileged to watch, the second year in a row I have seen a youngster here.
PS I dipped the Two-barred Crossbills at Lynford. I do like Crossbills, but I like Waders more. Not feeling too disappointed, there will be more.