Sunday, 17 October 2010

16 Oct-Arlington waders and Beachy warblers

Saturday was a day spent out going after two good birds, with a 50% success rate...

A Curlew Sandpiper had been seen at Arlington for a few days now, so today Dad and I made a quick visit early morning. After walking along to where the Buff-breast was seen, we found two waders along the water's edge. Looking through the scope, it was obvious they were a Dunlin and our target bird. But we were quite a way off, so we walked closer for a better view. And that was when it happened...

A Peregrine swooped down low over the reservoir. I felt sure it would have scared off the two waders. An initial scan seemed to confirm this, but after about two minutes we somehow found them again, in exactly yhe same spot! I can only assume We were so sure ther had gone we totally overlooked them! But anyway, we got fairly close, having some great views through the scope. The Dunlin looked odd, almost Broad-billed Sand-esque, but I'm fairly happy it was just the commonest calidris. I got some record shots of the two feeding together, but they were even more distant than the Buff-breast two weeks ago, so good quality photos were beyond me and my pentax. it is probably worth clicking to

Curlew Sand (left) and Dunlin (right)

Curlew Sandpiper

and finally, one showing the odd-looking Dunlin

After this success, it was off to Beachy, to look for that goddamn PALLAS'S WARBLER!

Around Belle Tout wood were 30+ observers. All scouring the bushes for this Sibe. Among them was Robin Stokes, who it was good to finally meet after 'knowing' him on the web for several months. Hopefully you saw the bird Rob, but sadly I failed miserably!

In the wood were about 20 Chiffchaff, and a handful of Goldcrests. Blue Tits were also pretty numerous, and I think they might have been atleast partly made up of migrants. 20+ House Martins and a few Swallows passed overhead, and two Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk were showing well, and there were a few dragoflies, Migrant Hawkers and Ruddy Darters. But this all got a bit boring, so I headed off to The Hangar, a bit of scrub on the clifftop, to see what I could find. I was hoping for Ring Ouzel and Dartford Warbler, but all I got was a few Stonechats.Walking unceremoniously back, dad greeted me with the horrific news that the bird had been seen while I was gone!

We waited around for another 20 minutes. In this time, the Pallas's was called a few tims, but if they were genuine, the bird moved back into the thick foliage before anyone bar the first obsever got a look at it. Dad said it had only been on view for about three seconds. And this was the first time it had been seen in over two hours!

Here are a few photographs from a pretty disheartening day
Migrant Hawker, Belle Tout

Kestrel, Belle Tout

Stonechat, The Hangar


  1. Sorry to hear you didn't connect with the Pallas's Warbler, Liam.
    Have to agree that the Dunlin looks a bit odd but can't imagine what else it could be.

  2. Thanks Graham. I was just commenting on it looking a bit weird though, I'm sure it was a Dunlin.

    Good Birding mate

  3. Hi Liam it was good to meet you and your dad too , i did manage to see the Pallass for a couple of seconds , my friends saw it far longer than i did and were telling me how great it was , i did get better views of the Pallass at Reculver today though !!

  4. Nice one mate. Hopefully there'll be another one near me soon!

  5. I looked at that Dunlin very hard too, and a passing birder tried to tell me it was another Curlew Sand. Never seen a Dunlin with a bill that long. I'm sure there's a species yet unknown to science - Calidris peculiaris - the Funny Dunlin!

  6. Maybe a hybrid. Dunlin x Snipe?? Nice use of the Latin tongue too Chris! Although I'm somewhat strugging to see the passing birders argument holding up in court ;)


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