The juvenile red-necked phalarope remained on the Flood today, often showing very well from Wellmarsh hide. Also on the Flood were seven little stints (all juvs from Southfleet hide), about 16 juv curlew sandpipers, seven ruff (one ad), two spotted redshanks, one green and three common sandpipers, two greenshanks, 25 blackwits, 118 avocets, 45 ringed plover, 67 dunlin and 20 snipe.Also at least two hobby, female merlin, two common buzzards, one of this year's wing-tagged Sheppey marsh harriers, three wheatears and nine wigeon.
A juvenile hen harrier at Elmley this evening. Other raptors included 2 buzzard, peregrine & hobby. Waders on the Flood included 6 curlew sandpiper, 4 little stint, single spotted redshank & ruff and 2 greenshank. The cuckoo was still around Kingshill Farm, as was a whitethroat & a whinchat
The juvenile hen harrier was again around the reserve today, favouring the Elmley Hill area in the evening, before heading off north across the reserve. There were also at least 2 hobbys.Waders on the Flood included spotted redshank, ruff & black-tailed godwit. A kingfisher was seen at Counterwall hide & there were at least 6 wheatear & 2 whinchats around.
Highlight today was the discovery of the reserve's 2nd pectoral sandpiper of the autumn on the Flood at Wellmarsh hide. July's bird was an adult, but this bird was a juvenile, which is pretty much what you would expect at this time of year. Adults of the high Arctic breeding Calidrid waders (like little stint & curlew sandpiper) tend to arrive in the UK first & the majority of these will now have moved on further south, leaving this years juvenile birds to follow on behind. Compared to the often tatty adults at this time of year, juvenile waders look much fresher, with crisp buff or white fringing to many of their feathers. Most will retain these feathers until they reach their wintering grounds and then they will moult them
Other waders on the Flood today included 6 each of little stint & curlew sandpiper, 5 ruff & 11 spotted redshank. Raptors included a merlin, a peregrine & a buzzard. Still at least 2 whinchats on the reserve.
I thought I'd let one of the Elmley regulars, Sean Huggins summarise the days sightings, courtesy of a posting on the Kent Ornithological Society's website - he spent more time on the reserve than me y/day!
"Another excellent wader session at Elmley over the big spring tide yesterday afternoon, with a good variety of species showing at close range from Wellmarsh hide. It was also a day when summer meets winter, with both hobby and merlin zipping about.Wader highlights were seven little stints (incl one ad nearly in non-breeding plumage), 23 juvenile curlew sandpipers, two juv little ringed plovers, one juvenile spotted redshank, two juvenile ruff, 160 avocets, 60 golden plover, 31 juv bar-tailed godwits, 55 blacktailed godwits, 127 dunlin, 110 ringed plover, one grey plover, one green sandpiper, seven turnstones, one knot, 1 redshank and 10 snipe. Didn't count the curlew, which were widespread over the grazing marsh.There were at least two hobby, one of which almost caught a swallow over the flood, and one sat on the grass alongside the access track, merlin-like. Merlins (2+) were over the flood and along the access track, giving great views. Also peregrine, common buzzard and the usual marsh harriers.Water levels are still excellent and there must be a chance of another rare wader before the autumn's over. Buff-breasted sandpiper? About time one of those dowitchers was a short-billed though."
A buff-breast would be nice, Sean - I missed the last one here in 1999 or thereabouts!