Pectoral Sandpiper with Lapwing by by K. Scovell
In the words of one visitor "Inner Marsh Farm has delivered again" as a quiet Sunday afternoon was rudely disturbed by this small wader feeding amongst the gathered lapwings.
It was quickly identified as a pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos), a north American wader (also found in northeast Siberia) obviously came a long way to spend a few hours strutting its stuff in front of the IMF hide. Of a similar size to its relative, the dunlin, the key feature to note is the abrupt end to the streaked pattern on the throat/breast which when seen from the front has a clear point in the middle. Also, worth noting are the pale legs which are tinged yellowish.
Sadly, at the time of writing the bird has not been seen since but some other "usual suspects" have been giving the punters value for money. A marsh harrier has been reported several times giving us hope that maybe one day they will do the honourable thing and breed in all that lovely wetland and reedbed we have worked so hard to create.
Speaking of raptors the other star of the show is the hobby. Now having recently been listed in "Birds" magazine as one of the best RSPB Reserves to veiw these aerobatic raptors IMF had a lot to live up to. No sooner had I read the said article than a visitor popped in to say the hobbies are back! Keep an eye out over the woodland and reedbed areas for your best chance.
Another summer visitor causing a stir are those birds with perhaps the cleverest/weirdest/laziest (delete as applicable) breeding behaviour - cuckoos. On May 31st after clocking off work I sent for a little walk down to the hide but didn't get that far before a male cuckoo flew right across my field of view. Since then at least one has been reported each day.
Other birds of note over the past few days include: 150+ black-tailed godwits, 4 dunlin, 2 ringed plover, 2 common terns, 1 little ringed plover and a flyover turnstone. Little egrets are busy nesting/feeding young with an estimated 20-25 pairs, most herons have finished breeding as one or two juveniles stand around the pools. Great spotted woodpeckers have been feeding their young providing the odd hilarious moment as the young try to figure it all out.
Elsewhere: Barn Owls hunting during the afternoon and early evening at Parkgate Old Baths - watch this space for special events. Spotted flycatchers are in residence on Denhall Lane, Burton.
Good news folks - the Pectoral Sandpiper was back yesterday evening so fingers crossed for today