September often brings up a a good number of passage waders, so it wasn't a surprise to hear of a good build up of birds at Burton Mere RSPB, a place I have been only once before when I twitched the Buff-bellied Pipit earlier in the year.
A nice trio of scarce birds had been hanging around for some time, and so plans were arranged to head up there.
We had only walked to the visitor centre before our first target was seen, and the Cattle Egret was found as it sat on the islands among the Canada and Greylag Geese! I have only seen this species once in the UK (a flock of 4 near Slimbridge), so it was good to catch up with another!
There were a lot of people in the visitor centre though, so it didn't take much of a decision to head over to the IMF hide at the opposite end of the reserve to try to locate both of our next targets.
It is the flash here that has seen a large build up of wading birds, and it is fair to say I was impressed very quickly.
It didn't take long for the rather stunning juvenile Red-necked Phalarope to appear, and given some time, but bird swam closer, eventually feeding just the other side of the small reedbed! With the sun moving in the sky, the light got continually better, and the bird just looked even better!
This also allowed for us to scan around as the birds were no longer in silhouette. By far the most common wader on the flash was Lapwing, with around 200, but it was more quality than quantity, and small numbers of desirable wader species kept appearing.
3 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 5 Spotted Redshank, 7 Greenshank and 15 Ruff among the more common Redshanks and Black-tailed Godwits! A great mixed flock.
The 3rd and final target was soon picked out, and we were watching the Pectoral Sandpiper, and following a slight wait, the bird flew and landed on the island in front of the hide, giving superb views.
With the light now shining onto the birds, you really could see every plumage detail on each of the wader species, which made it all the more enjoyable!
The wider reserve also held a Whinchat, a Cetti's Warbler, as well as good numbers of Pintail, Shoveler and Teal among the other common wildfowl. A single Peregrine flew over, doing its very best to flush as many birds as possible!
All in all a very good visit to this reserve, and one I look forward to visiting again in the future!