Sunday, 5 September 2010

Curlew Sandpiper

Having seen a small flock of curlew sandpipers at the Flashes, I was rather envious to see Max and Dave had managed to capture some terrific close up shots of a few over at Draycote, and I crossed everything that they'd stay around for the weekend.

Another early start and I was soon pulling up at the carpark at Draycote, and having the good fortune to bump into Max, on site for another go at the birds. Walking along the path, Max was concerned for his well-being, with cyclists whizzing by at speed, silently approaching. He has a point - the place can be dangerous, especially when windy as you can't hear anything.

However, the wind from the previous weekend had eased, the lake was calm and photographing the one remaining juvenile curlew sandpiper, were George and Dick. George is infamous for being the (motorbiker) dweller of the Carlton Hide at Brandon Marsh, for dropping his camera out of the window there, and being able to go collect it, with one of the kingfishers remaining on its perch, unconcerned at his daft antics!

I quickly set up and began taking shots, though getting any with a catchlight in the eye proved tricky, and I had to find a spot on the rocks to do so, which was rather uncomfortable, and prickly, as Max discovered when he sat on a bramble.

The bird seemed oblivious to us and carried on feeding, occasionally being chased by aggressive ringed plovers, also juveniles. After bagging a fair few shots, I heard a familiar voice behind me, and casting a glance up to the path, I spotted Steve Seal. He'd driven 85 miles to get some shots of a bird he'd never photographed here before.

It was quite a difference to the previous, lonely and horrid visit to Draycote, being surrounded by friends (old and new), all trying to get a shot of this rather rare bird. Eventually we managed some shots with that glint in the eye, and retreated to the path when the skies clouded over.

I eventually headed back to the Flashes for the juvenile ruff, but not before we had a good natter by the refreshments van. The ruff failed to deliver, as it stayed at a distance, but was good to see anyway. As I type this now, the skies are blackening again, so I think my birding for the weekend might be done. I'm not that disappointed, as Saturday has left a smile on my face.

1 comment:

Max Silverman said...

Nice report and great shots Pete.

Draycote was on form again on Sunday morning I'm told with 4 Little Stints showing up.