Thursday, 5 January 2012

5th January 2012

A quick post from a couple of hours on Sheppey this morning (backdated posts to follow when I have time!).  I arrived at Shellness for high tide; Knot, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover all in attendance, huddled, heads down in the unrelenting wind. 

The large flotilla of Mallard were just off the point along with c 15 Common Scoter.

Common scoter, Shellness

On the way back up the entrance track towards Leysdown I picked out a small wader with 4x Ringed Plovers.  Unfortunately it was keeping tucked down in the wind, and I couldn't hold my bins steady so struggled to ID it.  I managed the shots below (which may or may not held), before car came up behind me, and the group flew off while I moved! Any help appreciated.

Mystery bird in the middle (double-click to enlarge)

Mystery bird on right (yeh I know, but it shows it has a dark bill!)

Plenty of Brent Geese and Curlew in the adjoining field.  I'd heard a report of a Pale-bellied Brent, and it's not my thing to go through massed flocks for such things, but this particular bird flew past that seemed to have a paler-belly.  Having never knowingly seen a pale-bellied Brent before, and at risk of showing my complete ignorance to this subspecies, is the bird on the right hrota (pale-bellied)?! 

I pulled up at the seawall at Leysdown and this fella walked towards me - nice ring, possibly Polish, I need to check.

Next stop was the RSPB fields just west of Muswell Manor.  The clouds looked more threatening, and the wind picked up ahead of the storm clouds (was blown off my feet at one point).  

I didn't fancy my chances with the Laplands in this weather, but arriving at the fields there were a couple of flocks of passerines bouncing around in the wind.  One was a small flock of Skylarks (10-12 birds) and the second was of buntings, consisting of c 30 birds.  They were extremely restless an flew up within seconds on touching down. Luckily the flock passed directly overhead and I could see that at least some of the birds consisted on Lapland Buntings.  Eventually I did get views of three birds on the deck, but the flock also consisted of Reed Buntings so I can't be sure how many Laplands were on show.  Quite a result considering the weather!


Warren Baker said...

Cant really tell what that Wader is Adam.

You were one bave man going out to the coast in that weather!!

PS: drop some Fieldfare off around the Pub end of Ashes lane :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Adam, great to catch up with a few Lapland Buntings, they used to be so regular on Sheppey when I started birding. Unfortunately I can't help with the wader ID either, I would go down the Dunlin route but can't get much from the photos :-)

Adam said...

Cheers fellas, Lee Evans has confirmed it was a Dunlin - should have known but I'm used to seeing hundres at a time, not single birds in a field!


Ken. said...

Hi Adam.
well done for going there is those weather conditions. I agree, I has all the hallmarks of a Dunlin
As for the Brent Goose, I would say that it is the pale bellied. Would love to know what if it isn't.

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