The morning did not so much as break as peak out from under the duvet and say it was just going to have five more minutes when I drove across to Manchester. There to present a report to an organisation that did not want to receive it from me. I knew it was not going to be easy as they had given me the wrong postcode for the venue of the meeting. But it was all over by 10am and even if I had driven straight back to the office I had already done more than my contracted hours that week. So I went back to RSPB Blacktoft with the view of watching more waders.
The week had been spent watching the three main players on the Tyne muds -Redshank, Curlew and Lapwing. The latter seemed to be low numbers on Thursday, but bounced back on Friday with @joe_dobinson score of more than 900. He also picked up the Black-tailed Godwits which have started to come out from Shipden Pond again to feed. Also during the week Dunlin and Common Sandpipers added to the wader show but the constant flux of birds is exciting.
However, back at Blacktoft there was one Lapwing on the newly flooded grazing field and with high water elsewhere all the wader action was in front of the Xerox Hide. Most of the time I had the hide to myself and gave a good chance to get down to just examining the detail of the species there -Greenshank, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe and Ruff. It felt like a real treat to sit down and examine the subtle details of these birds. I could even start to get a feel for first year versus adult Snipe plumage -it was that good a day.
Last week the Ruff were all juvenile birds with their buff bellies. This week they were all non-breeding adults so like the birds on the Tyne this constant turnover and movement of birds is evident. Inspired by a photo by @leeharris of Sanderling colour ringed in Greenland four years ago I examined the legs of all the birds and came up with a colour ringed adult (probably female) Ruff. Its proving a bit difficult to track down its origins but I will report later. So for World Shorebirds
Day Week much of it has been spent on the Tyne, but waders are too good to not try to watch them all the time where ever you find yourself.
In other news.
Two Sandwich Terns flying up the Tyne seen by @rossahmed adds to the NZ26 total on the Costa del Bill Quay.