I spent about 6 hours in my hide today waiting for the birds to be pushed up by the tide.
I have to say it was quite a disappointment. Despite the tide being high, the heat caused a haze that affected visibility and photography, and after waiting hours for the birds to get pushed up in front of the hide, they were spooked at the critical moment and roosted either side of me rather than right in front. Oh well, it made me realize how fortunate I had been the previous couple of visits!
Numbers of everything were well down, including Nordmann’s Greenshanks – only about 20 present today, and this is the closest they came.
This is typical of the conditions today! A Little Stint (right) at the roost in the heat haze. Note the much longer legs than the Red-necked on the left and the bill shape, which is slightly accentuated by the angle in this pic. There were 2-3 Little Stints today, all identified on leg length and bill, head and body shape. None are yet showing distinctive plumage characters.
Part of a flock of Eurasian Curlews.
Mainly small calidrids – Red-necked Stints, Broad-billed Sandpipers and Curlew Sandpipers (the latter in the minority). Broad-billed have a distinctive dark leading edge to the wing in flight (above and below).
Great Knots and Bar-tailed Godwits incoming.
Thes two dogs (leash still attached!) had great fun chasing the waders at the roost. In truth the waders weren’t that bothered, only flying when absolutely necessary and landing again just out of reach.
I took a lot of pictures of flying Tringas today. They could have been closer, but were still interesting. Here’s a Marsh Sandpiper (top left) with two Common Greenshanks. The overall paleness of Marsh Sandpiper, including the whitish underwing, makes them more of a confusion possibility with Nordmann’s at a distance than Common Greenshank in some ways.
The upperparts of Marsh Sand are generally paler and greyer than Common Greenshank.
Lined up for handy comparison! The easiest way to tell Marsh Sandpiper from Common Greenshank (apart from size) is to look at the overall structure and bill, not just the leg projection beyond the tail, which can be difficult to judge.
Nordmann’s (right) look legless alongside the much more attentuated Common (left).
I had a good look at the stints today on the rising and falling tide and during the high tide roost, and feel pretty sure I would have seen the Spoon-billed Sand piper if it had been there.