Saturday, 23 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.

Robin

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

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and then of course the ere were goldfinches.

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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.

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Even the gulls seemed to stay far away at sea!

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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.

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

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

Mallards

…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.

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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.

Waders

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

Dunlin?

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

Dunlin?

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.

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

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

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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.

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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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