Sunday 1st May: wood sandpipers, grey plovers and barwits

Yet another superb day birding on the Meadow. I didn't intend to wake up early for May Day morning but our cat came into the bedroom at 5:50 and once I'd put him back down in the kitchen I couldn't get back to sleep and so decided to check out the floods. It was another day for waders with many birds coming and going. First thing this morning there were 4 COMMON SANDPIPERS, 3 GREEN SANDPIPERS, 2 RINGED PLOVERS, the 2 OYSTERCATCHERS, 1 REDSHANK and 1 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER. As I was watching with a couple of other birders a flock of 17 BAR-TAILED GODWITS and a single GREY PLOVER flew in, spent just a few minutes resting on the floods before heading off again. To round things off there were up to 6 COMMON TERNS on the floods (per James Grundy) and first thing a male LESSER WHITETHROAT was singing as it worked its way along the hedge bordering the Trap Ground allotments. In addition Mari Esashi repored a PEREGRINE which made a sortie over the floods and took a duckling for its troubles.

The grey plover accompanying this morning's barwit flock

After I'd returned home I got a text from James Grundy saying that there was a WOOD SANDPIPER on the floods but it didn't stay too long before it headed on. Later in the afternoon when Richard Foster checked things out there was nothing there apart from the ringed and little ringed plovers.

At dusk I went for a quick yomp around the floods to see if anything had come in and was rewarded for my efforts with a WOOD SANDPIPER of my own, accompanied by a GREY PLOVER (in more advanced moult into summer plumage) and a single BAR-TAILED GODWIT. Given that there had not been anything about in the afternoon these birds would have been fresh in this evening.

A lovely sunset on a great birding day on the Meadow

As far as barwit numbers are concerned I received an e-mail from Sydney Penner saying that he had a different flock of 12 birds which flew over when he was visiting yesterday. In addition Tom Wickens reckons that his Friday night birds were different from the Saturday morning ones in which case the total count that has passed through so far is 118! That combined with two different wood sands and two different grey plovers on the same day is not bad going. We reported a count of nine different waders yesterday, with today's bird added to the mix we've now had 13 different species in two days. Next up should be a Temminck's stint and possibly even a spoonbill - they're becoming almost regular in May now!

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