Saturday 30th April

The end of April and the start of May is traditionally the best time of year on the Meadow in terms of the variety and number of passage birds and fortunately, after a lean couple of years recently, we've returned to this pattern. We've been getting great counts of RINGED PLOVER and DUNLIN in particular with an amazing 18 and 10 respectively on Saturday along with a few LITTLE RINGED PLOVER to boot. We've still got two or three COMMON SANDPIPERS and the OYSTERCATCHERS are still around though there seems to be fewer of them about now that previously. Other bits and bobs to report include a YELLOW WAGTAIL and a couple of SHELDUCK but sadly the Garganey seem to have moved on.

One of the nice things about this time of year in particular is that we get a chance to see some of the less common county waders as they pass through and the highlight of the last two days was a splendid KNOT on Friday. This species is somewhat less than annual on the Meadow and not much better throughout the entire county in fact so it was great to have it grace the floods. On Saturday we had the first GREENSHANK in a few years - they used to be relatively common on the floods but I think that recently the floods haven't been full enough to attract them during this late April passage time.

A couple of really rough record shots of the Knot. Viewing conditions have been really terrible over the last couple of days with really bright sunshine, strong winds and lots of heat haze making it very tricky indeed
I was thinking about what of the scarcer county waders we still actually need this year and came up with just Whimbrel, Turnstone, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank - after that we're getting on to genuine rarities such as Temminck's Stint etc. Early May is the traditional time for Wood Sandpipers and it's worth looking through the Plover flocks for Stints of either species. Spoonbill is also a distinct possibility for the start of May so with some good flood water still with us there's everything to play for now.

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