Sunday, 11 September 2016

Family Fun

After a couple of days at Birdfair, met up with the family and headed east to Norfolk. Camped under canvas, having sold the Bongo a couple of weeks earlier, at Northrepps. Checked out a few old haunts, such as Breydon Water and Winterton Dunes, and tried to find some migrants on the coast early in the morning. Sadly, the wind had gone back westerly, and not a lot turned up, but the weather was glorious and a fab time was had. Visited Frampton Marsh, Lincs, on the way up to Derbyshire which turned out to be fantastic, with 97 Curlew Sandpipers and eight Little Stints. One of the best wader spots I have been to in recent years and somewhere I will return to no doubt.

A couple of phonescoped shots of a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper from Titchwell. It has been an incredible autumn for these elegant guys with up to 267 at Frampton Marsh and many others elsewhere, numbers not recorded since the 1980s. It seems that this has been down to the easterly winds in mid-August drifting birds across the North Sea on their way south. They have clearly had a good breeding season as the birds are virtually all juveniles, with the adults having headed south earlier in the month. Whether the high number of birds indicates a 'Lemming Year' on the Tundra where these guys breed, meaning less predation by Arctic Foxes etc on birds, or not, is another matter, with some authorities saying that Lemmings do not have such boom and bust cycles any more. Either way, it is an absolute privilege to see good numbers of these birds. One interesting behavioural feature, was to see how they would often sink their bills in the wet mud right up to the face, often successfully extracting a small invertebrate by doing so.

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