3rd May: Wood Sandpiper

On the last day of April we got one of the three outstanding waders that we might reasonably hope for still in the form of a cracking Wood Sandpiper. First found late afternoon on Friday, it hung around for the weekend before departing overnight on Sunday. This species is just about annual and is indeed something of a speciality of the Meadow though this spring the entire county has excelled itself with quite a few turning up in different locations so it was good that we were part of that general movement.

Apart from that we had our first summer plumaged Dunlin. Late April and early May there is often a noticable passage of this species, often accompanied by Ringed Plover. There have still been one or two Little Ringed Plover about as well. Nick Boyd had a Common Sandpiper along the river on Saturday. One other noteworthy sighting was of 13 Snow Geese that were briefly on the floods this morning. These will be part of the feral flock of about 100 birds that often frequent Farmoor. Whilst not being officially BOU sanctioned Category C birds, to my mind they certainly seem like a sustainable feral flock and so are going on the Port Meadow year list.

We also had yet another female Blue-headed Wagtail in amongst the Yellow Wagtail flock. Now that we are into May numbers of Wagtails should tail off sharply but we can't really complain given the stellar counts we have had for April.

Female Blue-headed Wagtail, courtesy of Thomas Miller

The change to more inclement weather and some decent heavy rain has perked the floods up no end and they should now see us through to the end of the spring passage. Now that we are into May and with some floods still intact there's always a chance of us getting something genuinely rare. Fingers crossed!

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