Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Patch tick - red-necked phalarope!

An insignificant little bay in local terms but it's orientation shelters birds during westerly winds. Today it held a red-necked phalarope (a scarce patch bird), in the past it has had white-rumped sandpiper (a mega)...

A reasonably strong westerly greeted me at dawn so I headed out to Ripagården to see what was moving. The wind was too light and of insufficient duration to have dragged many seabirds out of the North Sea, but the wader passage was fun for a couple of hours. Good numbers of grey plover (35 south) were on the move and in amongst them the odd knot (4), golden plover (13), redshank (12), oystercatcher (3) and bar-tailed godwit (1). Three lesser black-backed gulls rested up in the gull flock.

Got home for breakfast and checked the 'puter gen to find that I had missed a red-necked phalarope on patch yesterday! The wind direction had stayed the same overnight, so I figured optimistically that the bird would still be present and it certainly was. I rarely search the west coast for waders during strong westerlies, as I had thought that there were few sheltered spots for them to feed... It was educational therefore to discover the tiny, seaweed-filled bay at Lervik, it was jam-packed with waders sheltering from the wind. Apart from the glorious phalarope there were greenshank (8), redshank (9), spotted redshank (1), wood sandpiper (8), common sandpiper (7), snipe (1) and whimbrel (1). I was pleased.

Spent the afternoon shopping with Mrs B and the gang, on the way back I had to stop and re-tie a brand-new and rather stubborn mattress back onto the car. Driving north 45 km with a mattress lashed on to the roof with a bit of old clothes line during a medium westerly severely frayed Mrs B's nerves for some reason. Anyway we stopped for a break at Hasslarps dammar and had a few more waders; greenshank (1), spotted redshank (1), ruff (9), wood sandpiper (2), as well as several little grebes, a single red-necked grebe and a dozing wigeon. A good day.

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