Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A stint (9 to be exact) in Norfolk

With a couple of errands to run in East Anglia, we decided to make a day of it.

We started by heading to a small village near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk to deliver the BBF Wader Quest competition prize of an Ibisbill print that has been signed by the artist Steve Cale which, Steve had kindly donated to Wader Quest. 

Michael Hicks with his Ibisbill prize.
From there we headed to the Wash and had a brief visit to The Old Schoolhouse, the field HQ of the Wash Wader Ringing Group. They were between catches so we had a quick catch up and chat about the Wash Wader Festival with Nigel Clark and Ruth Walker before they had to dash off and catch some oystercatchers.

Next we visited Titchwell and enjoyed some stunning close-up views of Little Stints (we saw nine of the 14 seen that day including one adult) 

Juvenile Little Stint Calidris minuta feeding. Their method of feeding is obviously different from the larger Dunlins which vibrate their head back and forth in an action known as 'stitching' as it is like the action of a sewing machine needle. Little Stints will pick and probe as they walk seldom if ever 'stitching'.

Juvenile Little Stint Calidris minuta wing stretching.

Juvenile Little Stint Calidris minuta. Note the small tight wing feathers and white fringed lower scapulars. The split supercilium, dark central crown and white 'braces ' all clearly visible.

Adult Little Stint Calidris minuta. Compared to the juvenile above note how the feathering is larger and it lacks the white fringing of the lower scapulars and has rufous ear coverts and lower neck. There is one new winter plumage scapular feather showing

There were many Dunlins feeding near to the hide. Among them were some really pretty juveniles and the odd adult bird. 


Delicate juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina. This pale bird shows the buffy brown typical of juvenile birds and the spotting, in this case very delicate and well defined on the breast.


Adult Dunlin Calidris alpina.
We were keen to see Curlew Sandpiper as we hadn't caught up with one this year and had to be satisfied with a fairly distant view of a juvenile in the end along with a single Spotted Redshank. We also enjoyed some close views of our favourite wader Northern Lapwing, a dapper Common Ringed Plover and also a few Ruffs.


Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus.

Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula.

Juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax.

There was also a bit of a kerfuffle when a couple of teal decided to set about each other, spreading the startled sandpipers in all directions. This spectacle was enjoyed by the admiring crowds in the hide including the young man in the photo below.


Commotion in the mud.

That's what we like to see, get them started young!

After this we visited the Wildwings team in Salthouse for a chat and then headed home satisfied with an excellent day.


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