Upton Warren has been rather quiet on the Wader front this year. The complete decimation of the flashes during last years drought completly dried the flashes to salt plains, and this has had obvious detrimental effects on both the birds, and the food sources.
Breeding Waders at the start of the spring were very reluctant to settle down, due directly to this lack of food (Recent water tests reveal it may be around half the level it was last year food wise), and things took a very slow start. The usual range of common migrant waders passed through, small flocks of Dunlin etc, but (combined with the weather) tales of the legendary last spring were not going to be repeated, and if there was any waders, they wernt going to stay for long!
However, Upton Warren suddenly sprung into life when one of the Upton regulars found a stunning summer plumaged male Ruff on the flashes, along with a small selection of other wader species.
As ive never seen a sum plum Ruff, i was enthusiastic of going to see it.
And i was glad that when, on the Saturday, we finally got to the flashes at just after Mid-day, to the news that the bird was still present, although not showing!
An Oystercatcher kept me busy feeding below the hide:
And the marvelous 1st winter LITTLE GULL was still giving stunning views very close to the hide, being very vocal, and very vicious towards the BHG!
However, the main attraction was Waders. 2 BLACK- TAILED GODWIT fed at the back of the flashes, but soon dissapeared (presumably to the moors), a Common Sandpiper, a single Dunlin, and also the usual cast of Upton Breeders.
It was great when the summer plumaged RUFF emerged from behind the island, and i was sble to get some great views of the bird, as it was quite close in. The pictures however, were odd, so we decided to return later in the evening when the sun was lower, and behind the hide.
As said, we returned later in the evening, to find the RUFF still present, and now the light was better, and i started snapping away untill by battery died!
(This is my favorite photo from the 'set')
The bird preformed brilliently on occasions, even coming into the 'Basin' area in front of the hide on the near shore. It was quite a nice bird to catch up with, having never seen this plumage before.
The BLACK-TAILED GODWITS had returned again when we came back, however, once again, remained too far away to even try for any photos.
As the RUFF's plumage isnt the commonest you get in the midlands, i got many photos and videos. Although, i didnt get one which had its 'ruff' open, which is what i had hoped for.
Never mind, still a great bird!
I spent most of the night just watching the Ruff, Godwits, Dunlin and the Wader chicks, which lead to a nice night wader watching.