Wednesday 10th September 2014.
The immature Red-backed Shrike at Sandy Point this afternoon.
Yesterday, an immature Red-backed Shrike was reported in the south east corner of Sandy Point, Hayling Island, late afternoon, but I was too busy in the evening to take a trip down there to see it. Instead, I waited to after our Office meeting to take the journey south to view the bird. Andy Johnson kindly text me this morning that the bird was still present, but I had to wait several hours to see it for myself.
Crap photos, I know, but you can see it is a Red-backed Shrike quite clearly.
Arriving around 2pm, I walked up to the south east corner of the reserve to view the gorse and bramble bushes looking north west. It didn’t take long to find the bird (I was very lucky!) perched out of the wind which was coming in from the sea on a high tide, low down on a bush, where it remained for about 10 minutes or so. I quickly grabbed my iphone adapter and took as many photos as possible and some through my bridge camera, before the bird flew down to the ground and was never seen again (at least by me, anyway).
This heavily cropped photo of the Shrike was taken with my Bridge Camera, but to be fair, it was some distance away.
I waited a further hour to hopefully view the bird a little closer but there was no sign of it. However, during my wait, a male Dartford Warbler, another year tick, was flicking around the gorse bushes but kept low all the time, until it also simply disappeared. Never mind, two year ticks on my trip here, so I was pleased with that. A raptor grabbed my attention and I quickly identified it as a female Merlin, which put up all the waders along the beach way to the west. These all passed me and were a mixture of Sanderling, Ringed Plover and Dunlin.
Speckled Wood butterflies were abundant along the footpath leading Sandy Point.
Quite a few Small White butterflies were on the wing over the reserve and a Clouded Yellow flew past also, but would not settle as it disappeared northbound. I quickly checked out Birdguides, which said that a group of 4 Curlew Sandpipers were on Farlington Marshes and so, before heading home, I popped into the reserve to hopefully view my 3rd year tick of the day.
Three Curlew Sandpipers, in the foreground, in front of the Gulls and Grey Plover on the Lake at Farlington Marshes.
Luckily, I could park up by the front entrance as I grabbed my birding gear and made my way to the Lake to view the waders. Low tide was around 4pm, but there was plenty of waders to go through during the hour I was there. All four Curlew Sandpipers were present and correct as they fed on the north side of the Lake, joining in among a couple of Knot and Grey Plover. At least a 100+ Redshank were present with several Greenshank among them. Up to 6 Common Snipe were present along the edge of the reedbeds, while other waders included several Bar-tailed Godwit among the 100 strong Black-tailed Godwit. Most of the Grey Plover were sporting their summer plumage still and a few Dunlin were dotted around the Lake.
Knot and Curlew Sandpiper in front of the Plover and Gulls.
On the wires behind the Lake, up to three Whinchat could be seen, but little else in the fields. I must apologise about the quality of the photos, but I am starting to have little faith in the iphone adapter I bought in Norfolk earlier this year. I might simply revert back to digiscoping again to get some half decent long distance shots. So, three year ticks today which put me 7 shy of 200 for the year.
Curlew Sandpipers on the Lake.