Saturday 9 May 2015

Our effort for Global Big Day and World Migratory Bird Day results in a rare find but few waders.

Our intention for the eBird Global Big Day and World Migratory Bird Day was to search out waders in our local area. We had hoped that a Curlew Sandpiper and a Wood Sandpiper seen earlier in the week would stay, but it was not to be. We started our day at Little Linford Nature Reserve.

Little Linford Nature Reserve from Near Hide.

It was relatively quiet and we were disappointed not to hear a cuckoo although we did see some other migrants like warblers, swallows, martins and swifts but saw no waders at all.

No, not a Sand Martin  Riparia riparia bank but a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis bank, but the martins don't know that and have moved in anyway! Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus swimming past in front.

As we were preparing to leave we heard that a Eurasian Whimbrel had been seen at Gallows Bridge Farm, so we headed there next.

Upper Ray Meadows, Gallows Bridge Farm BBOWT reserve.

As we got out of the car I scanned the field and clapped my eyes on three Common Cranes.

Common Cranes Grus grus.

Knowing that this is a rarity in these parts, we alerted the local grapevine, but sadly only one person was able to get there before they headed north. These birds had blue and black colour rings on the their left leg indicating that they were ringed in the UK so are most likely from the Slimbridge re-introduction programme. We have sent the ring details to them and would encourage anyone seeing ringed cranes to do the same. The birds stayed for about an hour and a half in which time only one other local birder got to see them before they headed off, drifting north and circling away on the wind.

Common Cranes drifting off north.

We never did see the whimbrel, but there were some Eurasian Curlews and a few Northern Lapwings that looked like they were sitting on eggs on a recently ploughed field. We will see if contact can be made with the landowner to mark and avoid these nests if further work is to be done before hatching.

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus.

Following that we headed for a Manor Farm.

Manor Farm

Here we expected to see more waders and we were not disappointed but found nothing out of the ordinary admittedly. We saw Eurasian Oystercatcher probably sitting on eggs, Common Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers the latter conspicuous in display flight and Common Redshank, in addition to the Northen Lapwings that were harassing the local crow population along with the oystercatchers.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (left) and Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula.

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