Superb day of wader watching around the Ribble today – a little bit more luck and I could have had a Norfolkesque figure but I’m happy with a round 20!
The Met Office had worked their magic with the forecast and were still managing to quote <10% chance of rain as it tipped it down for much of the morning. A spell in Nels for my 1st shelter session of the day and a glimmer of what was to come began with a few groups of Dunlins flashing about giving their creaky calls. An odd Ringo in with them as well, always a good sign.
Down to Hesketh Road and a very brief scan picked up a lovely little LRP and the resident drake Garganey (pic from yesterday), but then the heavens opened again so back to the car!
As I waited, John Dempsey pulled up in his car, we waved and then waited…… After what seemed like an hour, the rain subsided and out we got. This top end of Rimmers looks mega at the minute, and after a brief scan I picked up a lovely Wood Sand which was all shining super and spangly mantle – a nightmare to photo in the flooded grasses, and the rain had started again which meant keeping optics dry was difficult, but a few record shots achieved eventually.
We watched it on and off, distracted by the LRP again and a couple of Whimbrel. Then John thought that it seemed to have moved a distance between his last 2 sightings – were there 2? Bird 1 stopped feeding for a while and roosted up in some tussocks, not long after I watched bird 2 get flushed from a hidden channel and we were treated to a decent view for a few seconds before back to the channel it went – bird 1 was still in the tussocks – Nice.
A quick pit stop at the Marine Lake via the sandwich shop produced a Common Sand – the wader count was building. I’d fancied doing the sand road at high tide for a couple of days, but not had chance so gave it a go today. A decent tide and the birds were gradually pushed into my position. At one point they were literally 20 meters away before all the sand disappeared and they were forced to find somewhere else to roost – what a spectacle, the images below don’t do it justice, but I didn’t find the wanted Curlew Sand in the throngs of Dunlin.
Banks held another bunch of hazy Dunlin and Ringed Plover as well as a stunning breeding plumage Turnstone – shame the distance and heat spoiled the view.
Finally, a Greenshank at Hesketh brought up the Score – no hoped for Spotted Red, but a great count none the less……
Final wader counts and totals as follows:
- Oystercatcher – 50+ Sand road, Marshside and Hesketh
- Avocet – 40+ Marshside, same at Hesketh
- Little Ringed Plover – 1 Marshside
- Ringed Plover – 500+ Sand road, Banks, Marshside
- Grey Plover – 300+ Sand road
- Lapwing – 20+ Marshside, Hesketh
- Knot – 1,000+ Sand road
- Sanderling – 30+ Sand road
- Turnstone – 1 Banks
- Dunlin – 5,000 Sand road, Marshside, Banks, Hesketh
- Wood Sand – 2 Marshside
- Common Sand – 1 Marine Lake
- Redshank – 50+ Marshside, Hesketh
- Greenshank – 1 Hesketh
- Black-tailed Godwit – 50+ Marshside
- Bar-tailed Godwit – 1 Sand Road
- Curlew – 2 Marshside
- Whimbrel – 2 Marshside, 1 Sand road
- Snipe – 1 Marshside
- Ruff – 15+ Marshside