Sunday, 24 August 2008

In search of waders on Severn beach

I was out cycling cum birdsnapping today and I chose to see what bird life on severn beach would be like in summer. The cycle route to severn beach leads along fields and farms and there were quite a few birds about. This robin sat in the trees and sang away as I passed.


Not sure what this one is, I thought it might be a whitethroat, but someone said it could be a meadow pipit.


and then of course the ere were goldfinches.


It was still sunny when I arrived at severn beach, but look as I may, there were hardly any birds in sight except an odd magpie or two.


Even the gulls seemed to stay far away at sea!


I had to go past the “beach” into more inhospitable terrain to actually catch some sign of birdlife. This grey heron gave me a pointer as it flew away.


I went out to the location to investigate, and saw several wild mallards flocking.


however they didnt hang around for me to get close and flew away…


…to join a huge flock of several other waders,which looked like dunlins to me through my binocs, but they were simply too far to see clearly.


There seemed no way to venture closer and I had to reluctantly head back, cursing myself for choosing to come to severn beach instead of some other bird rich area, when all of a sudden a big flock flew in from the sea and settled on the shore in front of me.


I noticed that the flock was not homogenous, there seemed to be two species of birds:


I whipped out my book and identified the ones below as dunlins, UK`s commonest small wader.


and the ones with a dark eye band as ringed plovers.

Ringed Plover, Dunlin?

that's another two birds to my UK bird list. I watched them both for quite a while as they fed off god knows what from the muddy shore.

Ringed Plover, Dunlin?

The gulls though, were not entirely absent.


These black headed gulls seemed to be the most common ones around.


I was busy photographing and watching the above birds when I noticed that there was another bird in the background.


It looked like a duck to me, but it clearly wasn’t a mallard. its coloration was entirely different, with a black and white body with brown wing tips and a slightly upturned beak.


I had to wait a bit for someone more experienced (Flickr forums) to identify it for me as a juvenile shelduck.


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