Monday, 9 July 2012

South Pacific


Weekend 7-8th July

Arriving ridiculously early at the Ramp at Grove Ferry a little after 4.30am taking in the sounds of the still very vocal Reed and Sedge Warblers, with the odd Cetti’s and Whitethroat singing out. From the Ramp were 3 Tufted Ducks, 1 female Garganey and 8 Green Sandpipers. I moved on to Harrison’s where I sat out a short shower adding a further 2 Green Sandpipers and 120+ Lapwings. I decided the best course of action was to head for the Water Meadows as this appears to be the most productive of late. As I arrived the rain started falling but I did notice there were still Green and Wood Sands there. Realising I was about to get soaked I carried on to the Tower hide overlooking the lake at Stodmarsh. After about an hour of heavy rain it started to ease and with only 5 Common Terns, a sprinkling of Ducks and 9 Canada Geese I knew it was time to head back to the Water Meadows, pausing briefly under a Hawthorn during another shower. I arrived at the Water Meadows about 7.40am and started to scan the pool from right to left clocking up 10 Green Sand Pipers, 4 Wood Sandpipers and a couple of Redshank before wallop!...there it was, on the far bank, a summer plumaged Golden Plover but immediately noticing how black from head to tail it was my immediate thought was ‘Pacific’. A Lapwing made a couple of lunges at it and it flew towards me to land on the closer edge of mud and in doing so revealed the grey-brown underwing and axillaries, no white as in our European Golden Plover. An extremely black bellied bird with typical gold, black and white back markings and a strip of white from the forehead down the neck and along the edge of the wing stopping before the start of the tail. Another Lapwing started to hassle it where the smaller size was evident but with very long legs that projected just beyond the tail when in flight again after being chased of again by the second Lapwing. I sent out a few texts informing the locals (two who were on site) that a probable American/Pacific Golden Plover was present although my gut feeling was that it was a Pacific Golden as I was sure there was less white on the American. I lost sight of it as it flew towards Marsh hide and over the next four hours the with at least 8 other birders including Jack & Phil Chantler, Sue Morton, Mark Chidwick, Brendan Ryan, Phil Beraet and Geoff Burton, it was not relocated. Because of the inclement weather my camera was in my rucksack on my back with its rain cover on so, sadly, no photographs were taken.
Saturday I added my first Spotted Redshank of the year in the form of a just starting to moult summer plumaged bird while other bits and bobs noted over the weekend included 8 Marsh Harriers including the first fledged juvenile, 1 Greenshank, 7 Ruff, 3 Turtle Doves, several Bearded Tits, 1 drake Wigeon, 1 Hobby, 1 Sparrowhawk and 4 Little Egrets. I stopped in at Restharrow scape Sandwich on the way home on Sunday where a single Dunlin was present and passing by the Chequers Pub the Little Owl was sat on his usual barn perch.
Dunlin Restharrow Scrape

Great Black-backed Gull Restharrow Scrape

House Martin Restharrow Scrape

Little Owl Ancient Highway


  1. Another good blog Martyn with some good shots to accompany it .You seem to be getting a few bits down there lately.

  2. Excellent find Martyn , great selection of waders down there at the moment .