Friday, 7 August 2009


weve had wader-fest,now its tern fest.
ariving from the main entrance we started walking towards the lake.a few pigeon were on the field but a bit distant.looking through my bins i could pick up 2 stock doves.walking slowly towards them with my friend camera.i got this shot,before hearing an exited yell from my friend that he'd just seen a slow worm.i joged over and he said it had dissapeared,but as it went into dense undergrowth,and i had a huge earge to get to the lake to see if the 2 common terns were still here.a quick check of the small fishing pool got us 4 reed warbler and a whitethroat.

then over the wooden bridge thing(not really a bridge just a few planks of wood).then down the gravel bank to the waters edge to view the rocks.nearry fall flat on my face but managed to stand up.then looked over the lake and...god damm

thats a lot of terns,at this point i counted 16 commons in the air and i had a shout from my friend calling arctic,but on getting onto the bird he said was an arctic it was a deffo common tern.
after my friend taking some pics,we resumed our walk,next stop the scrape friend fell behind but when i got over to the island i imediatly saw a wader scuttle away to the opposite water edge,just out of view.i quickly called my friend and again used his camera(my camera doesent have much zoom and i need my scope to take close pics).we waited a few minuites before his head popped out and i got a pic:
(stop press,1st pic)

than it ducked down again and we had to wait again.after another few minuites he came out and shown himself to be a summer male of the 'schinzii' race.he gave a good op to get some good photos:
then giving my friend his camera back i turned my attention to the terns.there were 19 terns flying and 4 landed on the island.looking through the terns i picked up 2 odd ones with longer tail stremers flying together.they looked darker than the commons and had a plainer outer primarys or 'hand'. the underwing it was a pale white/grey,with all the primarys been translucent with a thin blck line on the trailing edge of 'hand'.they were too distant to see anything other than the red bill(too far to tell for the black tip).at this point we were thinking arctic,by the compact structure and basic shape.after a few minuites of watching them they suddenly came in closer and lookind as if they were landing on the island but at the last second a woodpigeon flew through and flushed all the terns,but in the time they were closer i noted the all red bill which was noticably shorter than the acompanying this point we were confident enough to put the news out as 2 adult arctic terns(we had give the dunlin news out earlier).after a good hour watching the terns and dunlin we decided to walk on to see if we could find anything else.not a long way up the path we flushed 2 birds from the bank,that flew off so quickly,these later turned out to be 2 common sands,they flew off so quick i didnt have time to note the wing first i was sure we had green sands,by the lack(or what i thought) of the wing bars,they flew some distnce to the 'doulder island and couldent be refound.on a quick check of the chemical pool we had a lesser whitethroat near the path along the railway line.we walked back to the dunlin,who was still there and showing well but there was only 16 common terns left and no artics.not long after this a common sand flew on the island and i managed to get one pic,which i am not wlling to show(but its on birdfourum).highlights are:
3 little grebe
1 ruddy duck
1 dunlin
2 common sand
21 common tern
2 arctic tern
2 stock dove
2 sand martin
1 lesser whitethroat
1 whitethroat
6 reed warbler
1 bullfinch(female)
the arctic terns were again reported presant at 6pm that night.not a bad day i think.


Reg The Birder said...

A good haul and always an entertaining read.

midlands birder said...

thanks for the comment reg,good to see someone reads it,it really was a great day

Anonymous said...

Shepwash can be brilliant and is generally good for for all sorts of species. Recently really good days are hard to come by, I do really know this from experience with many visits to "The Wash".

You certainly had one of the good days here, Stock Dove almost taking pride of place, I have only seen two birds myself and they were years apart.

I say this again, in the eighties wader passage was ok and it was not uncommon to seen Dunlin, Green and Common Sandpipers whilst on your rounds....

Well Done......

Martyn Yapp

midlands birder said...

if you want to see stock doves there there are a few around still on 3/08/ stock doves are rare at sheepwash.thats just made the day even better.but they are an expanding species.nice to meet one of your friends from sheepwash martyn,i forgot his name but he found the night heron and the recent spoonbills.
how many times now is it youve said about the old days at sheepwash,i would love to hae seen it back then,should be going tomorow so i look for some stocks

Martyn Yapp said...

I can't twitch Stock Doves I have a little bit of a reputation to hold onto.

Where did you see them?

Of course I have seen Grey and Red-legged Partridges there in the past, I am sure they will not return.

Yes you obviously met with Mr Sheepwash, Dave Waite. Regretably Geoff Williams the original Mr Sheepwash looks at the bigger picture now.

By the way September down the "The Wash" can be great for vis-mig........

I will have to meet you down there one of the days and see what we can find.......

midlands birder said...

thats his name,thanks for reminding me,
im up for going to sheepwash with you,if you ever get lonly around sheepwash drop me a post or email and i might be able to show.
i dot think any partridges will show up any time soon,no real habitat for them,but the field where the stock doves were(ill post a map of where the stock doves were on birdfourum) looks slightly good and yesterday when we were there a lapwing landed on this field which is now quite waterlogged.and it was nice to see that the male pochards were back(eclipse male) and 7 common tern are still around on the rocks not the island.

Martyn Yapp said...

The partridge areas were the tip, which is basically under that bloody great lump.

midlands birder said...

which bloody great lump,i know 2,one by the main pool and the other at the chemical pool

Martyn Yapp said...

The one by the chemical pond.

It is worth scouring that for Whinchat and other grounded migrants in late August/September, they have occured recently and Woodcock winters every so often around there to.

midlands birder said...

right 1 last question martyn,where is the acsess to the mound,i have looked for it before but only found a no tresspassing sign,sounds like this area could be up for a few visits during passage.

Martyn Yapp said...

Oh right, thats easy.

You need the left-hand tunnel as you look at the railway embankment. As you climb from the otherside you will be able to see a clear path that runs up onto it. I notice there as been some earth banks put up and channels dug so as to stop bikes, but you can easily clamber over them. I would not go over there if you can hear bikes, I think they still use the slope. You can view the chemical pond from up there too.

You can do an all round trip taking in both tunnels and there is a historical area that used to be good a little way down the canel.

If I can get my hands on the old reports, I might publish them on a seperate blog.

midlands birder said...

thanks,will check that out the next time i go to sheepwash(probs next monday).do bring up some old sheepwash reports it would be nice to see them.why did they stop coming out.some good stuff still turns up.oh god thats another question.
do you think we should start a birdfourum area about quizzing martyn about sheepwash.

Anonymous said...

I used to have them all, but scrapped them some years ago. They were produced just to let local folk know that the site could be good for wildlife. A local artist supplied some great line drawings.

Alas when the local council got it's hands on it, they usued the "plant trees" method to show the public a quick result, but they planted to the edge. The sand wall face island was supposed to attract Sand Martin to nest, that was after we told them that Sand Martin was only a passage migrant in "small" numbers at this site.

Dunlin Island is actually called "Sand Island", if you really wanted to know and the reports give a map with the relevant names around the place, like John's Lane pool, Pumphouse Pool, Pylon Pool etc etc

You have to remember that this little pond as held an adult Pom Skua, Purple Sandpiper, DUSKY WARBLER, Firecrest, Little Tern, fly over Arctic Skua and most common passage waders in it's time.

A concerted effort with many visits throughout the year should produce about a hundred species (I think), but the lack of waders is definatley a now a problem in that total and you seeing Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and that adult L.R Plover is very good.....

Martyn Yapp

midlands birder said...

i would love to see some of those waders and other things you mentioned,and all would be great county birds(in the middle of b-ham)
i have never seen any sand martins taking any notice of the sand bank,and the largest gathering i ever saw here is 15.
i think i prefer my name for the island,so much more birdy.sand island is just boring.