Saturday, 3 December 2011

More Duff Wader Pics

Well I had more time off yesterday, and we were going to make another attempt at the Northumberland Yellowlegs. However, I had been feeling pretty rough all week and could not face another ten hours in a car. Add the fact that no-one could find it after first light on Thursday at any of its regular locations and I was very reluctant to dip again. Luckily, the Semi Palmated Sandpiper at had been at Cley for a few days now had been looked at closely, and there were a number of people suggesting it could be a Western Sandpiper.
Looking at the published photos, I was undecided, though there were a number of pro Western features, but the big problem was the apparent delayed moult. Still it was only a couple of hours away so worth going for whatever it would be.
Arrived at 0900, and being NWT members went straight in to Daukes Hide. The Dunlin flock was a long way off, but the peep was easy to pick out (though we had to be aware of a second small stint/runt Dunlin also present). Initially very active, getting any sort of plumage details was impossible, but it did get closer at times. I noticed an obvious gingery tone to the cap, cheek and shoulder when the light was right. At times the bill looked to be pretty long with a decent curve to it, as well as being a bit more lanky than the few Semi Palmated that I have seen. However, the scapular patterns proved to be very hard to see with certainty. The photo below does seem to show the requisite anchor mark on the retained juvenile feather, so I am pretty sure it is a Western.

 We moved hides to scan Pat's pool, at about the same time the waders decided to move, but luckily they did not stay long. A few Avocets remained and there were good numbers of other waders and wildfowl. The light was pretty dire but with patience the Green Winged Teal could be picked up.
Moving to the brightly lit and calm sea, it seemed to be pretty quiet. A small Common Scoter flock and the occasional Guillemot and Gannet was about all that we saw for some time. One or two Red Throated Divers were present and someone noticed that one hard to see individual looked better for Black Throated, and so it proved when it drifted past. A few Little Auks had been reported, and eventually I managed to see two-one distant and one close in. At about the same time a small flock of Little Gulls fed off shore.
 Both of us were feeling pretty tired achy so we decided to return home, but called in at Salthouse briefly. The usual Turnstone flock was present in the car park along with a few Teal and Redshank. Climbing the big hill, I saw a flock of Snow Bunting approach from the west, but they dropped down and when I got closer i could not find them.

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