High tide was at 10.00 this morning so I arrived at 7.45 (birds normally start appearing 2 hrs before the high tide).
To get there I used the old route. This is possible because the work on the Sandwich flood defence scheme is strictly a Monday to Friday job. Going this way gave me the chance to see what excavation work has been going on.
At the Sandwich end the new river bank/bund looks pretty complete and already stretches several hundred yards. It has a very gently sloping bank compared to the old bund/bank. This bund has been constructed by taking dirt from the field between the old access track and the river and this has produce a depression that already has some water in it . I suspect as the autumn wears on this could be an interesting spot for wader watching though viewing will be restricted to weekends. Today it just had a couple of hundred herring gulls roosting on the exposed dirt.
When I arrived at the scrape there were mainly mallards (~30), BH gulls (44) and lapwings (11) in residence plus a single greenshank, however over the next 15 minutes a few more redshank and greenshank turned up. 2 small islands have now appeared and the waders (and the gulls for that matter) were roosting on these (to the right looking from the Photographic hide).Things didn't change until around 9.00 (an hour before high tide) when more shanks appeared and a green sandpiper showed (there’s been one there all week but it’s often hidden behind the large permanent island on the left).
Around 9.30 I heard a new call and spotted a wood sandpiper coming in with another clutch of shanks. I could hear a second one but it didn't land for a few more minutes – it must have been circling behind me.
To start they were on the newly emerged island to the right (looking more or less straight into the sun) but they seemed restless and flew around several times before landing on the other newly emerged island. By this time the shanks had increased to 17 green and 18 reds.
|Greenshank, redshank and the first wood sandpiper|
|2 wood sandpipers having just arrived|
Their final destination was the bank of permanent island on the left where they had a difference of opinion with the resident green sand.
|Wood sandpipers in a flap|
It was now around 10.00 and I had to be going but I popped into the main hide to see whether I could get some slightly better shots of the wood sands. This proved to be a good call because while I was there 2 common sands turned up as did a little egret.
|Common sandpiper plus 2 wood sands|
Another few inches of water still need to evaporate before the islands in front of the hide emerge but a few more days like today and things could be pretty good. All we need now is a few rarities to turn up (when I'm there!).