I am a dumb-ass!
After trying (and ultimately failing) to photograph Marsh Tits with my bridge camera the day before, i forgot to switch the SD card back into my compact Nikon. That i hear you yell is not a problem..
The problem emerged when i arrived at Grimley to twitch the GREY PLOVER that had been found in the morning. Turing on my camera i saw the disastrous message 'Internal memory' and i found out that i hadn't got the memory card in, and it only got worse.
With only 8 pictures to play about with i kept having to go back to delete photos to take new ones, and with the weather being nothing better than shite, with sleet, snow and heavy rain, the prospects never looked good. Anyone (and as it seems, most sensible birders within Worc's) would avoid this weather, but, for the reasons set out in the last post, i love this weather, despite it being very hard to bird in.
They GREY PLOVER gave decent views feeding on the flooded Causeway.
Sadly, that's about all i'm going to write about it, i really lack any inspiration to try and make a Grey Plover in winter plumage sound exiting. Yes, its a good county bird, and I've only ever seen a few, but it is a bit dreary and the only thing to say about it is that it does show what cold weather can do to displace birds.
As you can see from the photo's, the snow was getting fairly thick, preventing anything decent. Similarly showing around the Causeway was a pair of Goldeneye. The cold weather had brought a huge flock of Wigeon (252+) which is easily the largest i have seen in Worcs, and among the grazers were a similarly good number of Dabbling ducks, 50c Gadwall, 20+ Shoveler, 30+ Teal among many hundreds of Mallard and Coot. Scanning along the few un-frozen edges revealed 2 winter plumaged Dunlin and at least 7 Common Snipe.
After everyone bar me and SMW had left, the snow eased slightly, allowing us to scan the distant ducks on the flooded middle section in the hope of finding the Pintail. And it was only a couple of minutes into this that Steve called out that a Smew had just popped up among the Coots. Soon after, i was onto a superb looking female SMEW as it dived almost incessantly. I had infact only a day previous said that this weather was bound to 'dump' some of these gorgeous small ducks in the country, and then hopefully the county. The views were far from great to say the least, but they were good enough to secure an early year tick!
Again (in my 8 photo memory space) i tried for some distant, snowy crapographs.
(Hey, you can see what it is!)
It was around this point that i picked up a 'pale' wader feeding on the ice on the far edge of the pools. Was that what i thought it was?
The Grey Plover came slightly closer (see, i did my best to mention it again!),
However, it was again quickly forgotten when my 'pale' wader dropped in closer, showing prominent wingbars similar to Common sand, very pale white underparts and pale grey upperparts ! A SANDERLING! We were treated to great views as it fed along the near shore, showing through tall weeds, a wire fence, falling snow, and fogged and wet optics!
So there we go, 3 for the price of one, and testament that when bad weather hits you should be out there birding! If you don't come back with drenched optics, soaked hair, a snifly nose and a bright red nose, your not doing it right. Get out there birding when its like this, you don't know what your missing!