16th May

We've now got to the middle of May - a time when historically the spring wader passage is winding down and this year is no exception.  Indeed the floods are basically virtually empty despite looking great thanks to all the rain we've been having. Still, since my last post we have managed one more decent wader in the form of a Grey Plover, found last Sunday morning by Thomas Miller. This is the second of the scarcer waders (along with Wood Sandpiper) that was on the wish list that we've now ticked off with only Sanderling eluding us so far.

Grey Plover courtesy of Thomas Miller

In the poor weather last weekend we also had a good surge of Dunlin and Ringed Plover going through with a mixed flock of a couple of dozen on the floods. Sadly since then it's been much more modest numbers before fizzling out to nothing by this weekend though we did have a sighting of a Common Sandpiper along the river courtesy of Manoj Nair.

Apart from waders there have been some interesting things to report. Firstly Manoj Nair had a cracking male Whinchat briefly at the southern end of the floods last weekend though sadly it moved through quickly. Also we had a record (with recording) of a Nightingale singing in the scrub near the boat moorings by St Edwards playing fields on a couple of evening this week. Sadly by mid week there was no further sound of it despite several of the Patch birders going to listen for it. This is only the second record on the Patch area since 2008 when I first started birding the area so is one of the rarest birds of the year so far.

Apart from that we have a record of a Greenland Wheatear passing through courtesy of Matthew Lloyd and a Sedge Warbler singing in bushes along the river near the sailing club as well as another Cuckoo record. The Swifts are now back in the area and can be heard screaming overhead. House Martins are now gather mud from the river bank for their nests. 

House Martins collecting mud courtesy of Andrew Siantonas

Whilst things seem completely dead on the floods at present, looking back to past years interesting bird have still been seen in the second half of the month. Indeed in 2018 we had a Red-necked Phalarope on the 30th of the month and in past years we have had Spoonbill on the floods at this time of year though they seem to have become rarer again in the county over the last few years. There is still that Sanderling to get on the list as well!



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