Saturday, 18 October 2008

Sanderlings and other favourites

One of the most pleasurable birding experiences in Kent is watching small waders around the coasts between Autumn and Spring, and one of the best places to do this is Foreness on the Isle of Thanet.
A high tide, Sanderlings, Ringed Plovers, Turnstones and Purple Sandpipers can be seen foraging on the sands and over seaweeds, more concerned about the next wave than the human activity on the nearby sea-wall.
Ringed Plover and Sanderling

Sanderling and Turnstone

Sanderlings, Turnstones and Oystercatcher

On two sheltered beaches nearby, roosts of waders congregate to wait out the high tide.

About 160 Sanderlings, 100 Ringed Plovers and three Purple Sandpipers were counted at the Foreness site - and none this time at Fayreness. These birds have flown down from the tundra after the short breeding season; some may stay here but some will continue south to Africa, using these beaches as a staging post for refuelling. Some will fly 3000 miles in each direction, taking about seven weeks.
The Purple Sandpipers, however, are probably close to the end of their migration and may well stay on this beach for the winter - others should join them, as a group of about 20-30 is normal. Studies of migration indicate that those arriving in this part of Britain are likely to be from the Canadian breeding population. No surprise that these recent arrivals wanted to get their heads down.


abbey meadows said...

Lovely shots and a great subject. Get that Racing pigeon on the list after all it is a Rock dove!

Mary said...

What a wonderful beach full of cute little long-legged birds :-) The only place I've ever seen Sanderlings is Florida. It's fascinating to watch them scurry along together. Your photos are great and I really like the ones showing masses of them on the beach :-)

Rambling Woods said...

Aren't the migrations of these birds amazing? I had two spotted sandpipers on the bank of pond after a nasty storm last summer. They must have been forced down and were looking to eat. You have an amazing area to bird in...Michelle..