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Common Sandpiper passage

27th August 2010
Having opted for a lay in rather than seawatching (thats another chance of L-T Skua gone!), I decided to see if the northerly winds had blown any Common Scoter inland. At the start of Whitlingham Lane I walked across a rather soggy Trowse Meadow, and on reaching the eastern end I heard a sandpiper call, followed by two Common Sandpipers flying past and onto the riverbank. Walking quietly along I located them, and noticed four more bobbing up and down near the first two. I watched them for about a minute before they got restless and all six flew downriver, followed shortly behind by another two. I can't recall seeing 8 Common Sandpipers at the same site before, and certainly not at Whitlingham.
For once there wasn't a single car parked along the lane, so I was hopeful that there wouldn't be much watersport going on. I stopped along the edge of the Little Broad to look through the Long-tailed Tit flock, turning up two silent Chiffchaffs. Leaving the Little Broad behind I began my wildfowl count, which was made harder by a fleet of around 30 small sailing boats. Great.
Mute Swan - 100 (6 Little Broad, 94 Great Broad)
Mallard - 107 (45 Little Broad, 62 Great Broad)
Hybrid-type Mallard - 9, "Peking" Duck - 1.
Coot - 151 (4 Little Broad, 147 Great Broad)
Egyptian Goose - 3
Hybrid/Domestic Goose - 7
Moorhen - 2
Great Crested Grebe - 2
Cormorant - 10
Notably not a single pure Greylag, Canada Goose, Tufted Duck or Pochard, presumably because of the disturbance. Large numbers of hirundines (mostly House Martin) were hawking low because of the cloud cover, whilst Sparrowhawk, Common Tern and Bullfinch were also decent birds for the area.

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