Sunday, August 26, 2018

local birds

the eclipse drake Garganey still present at Barton, Black-tailed Godwits at Killingholme up to 4300 before the water level was raised to a silly level and the Common Sand

Stilt Sandpipers

the latest addition to my Lincs list taking the total to 362 I am informed given the latest BOU taxonomic stupidity, the adult or 2cy? at Frampton Marsh has proven less than co-operative for me photo wise hence the terrible record shots below but it has also thrown up memories of past Stilt Sands-- In Britain I have seen two the rather uninspiring bird at Frodsham on April 23rd 1984 and a fine summer plumaged adult at Catwick near (Hornsea Yorks) on July 4th 1989 but these were both predated by an adult that Julia and I found at Salinas de Levante on May 6th 1983; the first for Iberia and a good European record at that time -- poor scan of a very small image on a Kchrome 64 slide below -- Others include the following in April 1995 in south Texas
Stilt Sandpiper:   
4 north of Rockport 9th; 1 pond south of Sarita on Highway77 10th with 7 Mc Allen sewage farm 12th and 3 Santa Ana  12th; up to 12 with one in full summer on south-east oil field High Island 17-21st. - I have some excellent slides of these birds somewhere hidden in the house!

and latterly 2 juveniles on a prairie pothole south of Calgary in August 2007 - images below taken with the old Canon 1D mark 2N and 300 f4 lens with 1.4 converter into the sun --these are my notes from the day --

Having checked the sunrise and sunset times on the BBC weather site on the web for Vancouver I was up bright and early at 05:00 and wandering around on a nice boardwalk through a little marsh in Canmore in the dark for one and half hours; entertaining but not good birding; of course I had not taken into account that Vancouver was 1 hour different to the Rockies; mistake number three. As it eventually got light birds started to call; then others called and sparrows called and warblers called and chipped and ticked and maybe I should have swatted up on my calls before leaving. But in spite of the noise the only visible birds were American Crows and Ravens. Then just before having to leave for breakfast birds became visible; American Robins and Audubon’s Warblers, all seemingly dropping to bits in moult, Oregon Juncos and Lincoln’s Sparrows also moulting and scruffy and a Yellow Warbler perching nicely in front of the lower window of a house by the roadside. Maybe the residents of Canmore are used to opening their curtains and seeing a birder with a telephoto lens staring into their window or maybe not; quick exit needed. Day one we headed back to Calgary on the recommendation that a drive south to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump was an essential spot to visit. Only two hours south of Calgary—indeed but I had forgotten in five years since my last trip to Canada just how many sets of traffic lights there are in every village! Three hours down the road through wide open prairies we were passing large shallow lakes, Prairie Potholes, covered in wildfowl and waders but we were on a mission and I couldn’t see a way to get off the highway anyway and we needed food from the café as well. Not all things go as planned though as anyone who has been on birding trips with me will realise. Our arrival at the historic site just happened to coincide with a funeral of one of the key members of staff so after our 4 hour drive the café was closed for the day; it was blowing a gale, red hot and dusty; birds one Gray Catbird seriously abraded to say the least and a Say’s Phoebe; all the Cliff Swallow nests were empty and vacated. Now I had to work out how to try and get into one of those potholes as the party were ravenous and there didn’t appear to be any eateries within 100 miles! Passing numerous Swainson’s and Red-tailed Hawks on the long drive back we managed to get some dodgy fast (I miss typed this as fats which may seem appropriate) food at a small habitation called Nanton and just across the road was a track which went apparently quite close to a rather nice looking wetland. Just an hour folks. Access seemed easy but the high barbed wire surrounding fences seemed to suggest that birders were not too welcome except in the corner near the slaughterhouse where the fence had fallen down to allow people to walk in, obviously. It was windy and muddy but what a place; in  a scan of the nearby waders I managed to locate 8 Killdeer, 8 juv Baird’s sands, 3 juv Least and 10+ Semi-p Sands, a Solitary Sand, 2 juvenile Stilt Sands, a Wilson’s Snipe, Spotted Sand, 30+ Lesser Yellowlegs and at least 40 Wilson’s Phalaropes. This was not to mention the 30 odd Blue-winged Teal, a tern probably and Forster’s which flew off before I had chance to have a good look and the skulking sparrows some of which were Savannah. In an hour I managed to photograph quite a few of these stunning juvenile waders before the crew needed to move on and it was back to Canmore via 700 sets of traffic lights in Calgary.

The adult Stilt Sandpiper at Salinas de Levante Majorca May 1983

Juvenile south of Calgary August 2007

and rubbish images of the Frampton bird

Sunday, August 19, 2018

juvenile Common Sandpiper

juvenile waders are exquisite -- poor perspective but no option from fixed hide