Thursday, 11 October 2007

Roosting waders at Botany Bay

I am fortunate in working in the middle of the Isle of Thanet, as this gives me the opportunity of choosing one of a number of good birding sites during my lunch break - Ramsgate harbour or West Cliff to the south, Broadstairs bays and North Foreland cliffs to the east, and Foreness to the north, with either Margate or Ramsgate cemeteries for woodland birds.

My favourite place is Botany Bay, just south of Foreness, which may turn up anything during migration and during the winter. With high tides at lunchtime, yesterday and today were best for checking the wader roosts below the waterworks and Fayreness Hotel.

The high tide roost below the Fayreness yesterday numbered 20 Curlews, 25 Redshanks, 62 Oystercatchers, 11 Grey Plovers, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Turnstones and a Little Egret, along with around 50 gulls (mostly immature but with some adult Great Black-Backs).

Today, a few hundred yards to the north, were 132 Sanderlings, 54 Ringed Plovers, 49 Turnstones,12 Knot and 4 Purple Sandpipers. Assuming no double-counting, that's 378 waders in total, with remarkable social divisions - only the turnstones and purple sandpipers were present at both sites.

The video clip shows the waders strung out along the beach - on the cliff-top I also saw 5 Stonechats and a Wheatear.

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