Friday 25th May: Sanderling & Red-crested Pochard

Despite the lack of blog updates I've still been faithfully visiting the Meadow each evening. However there are only so many times I can report exactly the same birds before it starts to get a bit boring. The delightful LITTLE GULLS have been there with the numerous black-headed gulls on each occasion, as have the pair of SHELDUCK, a few LITTLE EGRETS and the usual collection of ducks (gadwall, shoveler, mallard) & mute swans. When the weather is nice such as it is at present the hirundines and swifts all disperse away from the floods and so are seen in much smaller numbers

A couple of evenings ago I came across an ominous collection of pipes by the gate at the end of Walton Well Road and I started to panic that they might be about to drain the floods.

Ominous drainage pipes

However it turned out to be used for drainage for the bank just past the railway bridge.

Drainage of the bank by the railway bridge

Finally, on Friday I was rewarded with a nice flock of waders comprising 27 RINGED PLOVER, 3 DUNLIN and one SANDERLING, the latter being a nice Patch Year Tick. Sanderling are less than annual on the Meadow though this time of year seems to be quite good for them and we had one this time last year. Talking of wader Year Ticks, we still need wood sandpiper (certainly annual), turnstone (less than annual), green sandpiper (annual though not easy) and spoonbill which we've had for each of the last three Mays.

The mixed wader flock with the sanderling in the centre

A few more sanderling shots, all taken with my super-zoom
 camera so not very close-up

To round off what was a good day on the Meadow, Steve Goddard reported a RED-CRESTED POCHARD early afternoon on the Meadow along with 8 of the ringed plover. I've had red-crested pochard before on the Meadow at around this time of year but it's a most welcome Year Tick.

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