Saturday, 29 September 2012

Departure of the Pectoral Sandpiers

Friday 29th (Now with pictures!)

There are several expressions that extol the virtue of continued endeavour - "Persistence pays", "If at first you don't succeed try, try, try again" well I can tell you on good authority they are rubbish.
This last week I have been on a quest to get a close-up pictures of the Backsand pectoral sandpipers. Each morning I have diligently trekked down to Backsand optimistic in the expectation that eventually, due to the rise in water levels,  one or both of the birds had to come close (or at minimum closer) to the hide than they had been before. Well today the quest ended, not with the a fanfare of success, but because the birds have departed. I have taken the odd image of them during the week but in reality they have been little better than those I got when they were first found. So what saying should be invoked??????? "If at first you don't succeed give up" seems more appropriate.

Pectroal Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
My time down there hasn’t been entirely wasted though. High tide this week have been (relatively) early in the morning which meant I was down there by 7.30 or so.  Egret numbers have been good this week with normally 5-7 being present with the highest count of 13 being seen on Thursday. The egret fly out in dribs and drabs as the mornings progress irrespective of the state of the tide so by late morning they have all gone.

Some of the little egrets
Greenshank and redshank numbers, most of which come in on the high tide, have been around 20 and 40 respectively and lapwings have also been up in the 40’s. The only other waders seen all week were a lone green sandpiper (on Wednesday I think) and a black-tailed godwit (today)
Duck numbers are now increasing with the teal count being 40-50 and wigeon number increasing through the week peaking today at 15 and the little grebes seem to have raised a brood with 4 being seen most days.
The photographic highlight has undoubtedly been a female kingfisher. Normally Backsand does not enjoy the presence of kingfishers but the last few days has seen one move into the area and what is more it has found the post just outside the “photographic hide” allowing some cracking shots to be obtained. One also turned up last autumn but was only around for a few week and never posed for the camera. Let’s hope this one sticks around for a few weeks. Is there a saying to account for the kingfisher shots - I think there is "Better to be lucky than good".

Today, after Backsand I popped into the Elms to see if I could find something to photograph - few goldcrests and decent numbers of chiffs and blackcaps have been present this last few days. Well I failed to get a shot of any of those but I did find a pied flycatcher. That too refused to come out and pose for me so all I got was this record shot. Still, "Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick"!

Pied Flycatcher


  1. i lend you my stick if u like steve lol, great write up so so true on photos

  2. Are you sure the KF is a female? The dark feet indicate to me a juvenile and both sexes can have orange on their lower mandible at that stage.


    1. Arnie, Thanks for the comment.
      Looking at my pictures I think the feet of the bird are red though it must be said that the soles of the feet are more red/orange than the uppers which are clearly darker. My books only says the feet of the juvenile are greyish which I don't think describes what I see in the pictures. It says nothing about the soles being a different colour to the uppers.