Aug 262018

A Stilt Sandpiper was discovered at RSPB Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire during this past week (22nd Aug). I was away on holiday in Dorset and so was keeping my fingers crossed it would stay until my return. So today, Sunday 26th August, I managed to get across to Frampton and was able to see this rare visitor from North America. 

Looking like a large Curlew Sandpiper, the Stilt Sandpiper is one of the rarer North American waders to visit our shores. It was difficult to pick out amongst the huge flock of Black-tailed Godwits, with which it was feeding. Every so often it would come into view, albeit briefly. As the flock began to disperse, it became easier to view, until a Merlin flew over the marsh and put the whole flock into a flying frenzy. Fortunately, after a few anxious minutes, the bird returned with a hundred or so Godwits and began feeding again. It was never close enough for anything more than a record photograph.

Stilt Sandpiper – RSPB Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire – Above 5 images – Tony Davison©

Snipe – RSPB Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire – Tony Davison©

Black-tailed Godwits – RSPB Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire – Tony Davison©

Lapwing – RSPB Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire – Tony Davison©

 Posted by at 7:30 pm
Aug 132018

Our local reserve at Willington is by far the best place in South Derbyshire, at the moment, for passing waders. This morning there were some stunning Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits, with at least 15 individuals, most of them juveniles. Along with 6 Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper and 12 Common Snipe and the usual Lapwing flock, was a good mixed bag. The eclipse drake Ring-necked Duck was still present but distant.

Black-tailed Godwit – above 5 images – Icelandic race – Tony Davison©

Common Sandpiper – one of 2 birds present – Tony Davison©

Snipe – above 2 images – Tony Davison©


 Posted by at 3:19 pm
Aug 122018

An eclipse drake Ring-necked Duck was discovered at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Reserve at Willington Gravel Pits on Saturday morning (11th August). I made a visit there this morning (12th) and despite no sign of the bird on my arrival, I very quickly re-located the bird preening just in front of the main hide, much to the relief of some visiting birders. The morning was very wet and the rain was certainly causing birds to drop in on the reserve. Ten Dunlin arrived in separate parties and at least 17 Black-tailed Godwit were also present. A single Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Yellow Wagtail, along with several Little Egret were other highlights.

Ring-necked Duck – eclipse drake – Above 2 images, Willington Gravel Pits, Derbyshire – Tony Davison©

Black-tailed Godwit – Good numbers have been seen during passing through Willington Reserve during the past few weeks – Tony Davison©

Little Egret – Lots of these elegant birds in the county at the moment, due to low water levels at most reservoirs and gravel pits through the Trent Valley. Tony Davison©

 Posted by at 5:11 pm
Jul 312018

The delicate Lesser Yellowlegs, a North American wader, has been gracing the fresh marshes at RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk for several weeks. I have been meaning to pay a visit to see it but something else always seems to have gotten in the way. Any how 30th July paved the way and as there was also a Semipalmated Sandpiper in Norfolk, 2 North American waders in a day sounded tempting.

Reading all the social media posts, the Lesser Yellowlegs seemed very unreliable to photograph, as it appeared to change it’s habits almost on a daily basis. Sometimes showing very well and close, other times distantly out on the fresh marsh. When we arrived at the reserve there had been no news on the bird. After scanning from Island Hide, I eventually picked up on the bird right across the far side near Parrinder Hide. Watching the birds movements, it was an obvious choice but to move location and I’m so glad we did. Richard and I entered Parrinder Hide and the bird was in fact a lot closer than I had expected. So I spent the next 15 minutes or so taking photographs, all on my own! 

There was a good selection of waders on the marsh including 14 Curlew Sandpiper, numerous Ruff, 100’s of Black-tailed Godwit and large numbers of Avocet, a few Spotted Redshank, Snipe and Little-ringed Plover. Also 23 Spoonbill.

We left Titchwell and made our way to RSPB Snettisham for the Semipalmated Sandpiper. The bird had not been seen since early morning but with plenty of eyes scanning the vast area of mud flats, it was soon re-located. Fortunately it was not too far out, certainly not close enough for me to photograph, but did show well enough to see all the subtle ID features. A tiny little cold grey wader, obviously smaller than Dunlin alongside it. Short, thick based black bill, black legs, flank streaks, no rufous tones to the upper-parts and randomly marked black centres to upper feathers(Mantle and tertials). Amongst the thousands of Dunlin were a few Curlew Sandpiper, moulting from their red summer plumage and a Little Stint.

Walking back to the car park, the flint shingle beach was covered in Carmine Thistle, Sea Spurge, Sea Bindweed and Viper’s Bugloss.

Lesser Yellowlegs – 1st summer – Titchwell, Norfolk – 30th July 2018 – Tony Davison© 

Little Egret and Sea Lavender – Titchwell, Norfolk – 30th July 2018 – Tony Davison©

Carmine Thistle and a Cuckoo Bumblebee – Bombus Bohemicus (above 2 images) – Snettisham, Norfolk – 30th July 2018 – Tony Davison©

Viper’s Bugloss – Snettisham, Norfolk – 30th July 2018 – Tony Davison©




 Posted by at 6:56 pm
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