The southerly gales and driving rain always pay dividends at the estuary at this time of year! In between showers on 15th August, the sunny afternoon at Carnsew Pool allowed a few lucky observers to witness a quite remarkable passage of waders, many of which used the improving weather to stop by only briefly before continuing on their way. One such group included a flock of 23 Curlew Sandpipers with150 Dunlin and 233 Ringed Plover. A few Ruff, 33 Sanderling and 45 Bar-tailed Godwits also passed through that afternoon along with a remarkable flock of 11 Little Terns. These had all mostly gone by next morning but in deteriorating weather, the tern theme continued and Ryan's Field played host to no fewer than 25 Sandwich, 37 Common, 8 Arctic and 4 Blacks.
Visitors often complain about the lack of birds at Ryan's Field but as we say on information boards in the hide, this site is best visited at high (spring) tides Aug-Sept and these are either early morning or evening in this part of the world. Ryan's Field is only used as a high tide roost so if your visit coincides with low (spring) tides, 9am-5pm, the birds will be over the Causeway road feeding on the main estuary instead. The terns demonstrated this nicely as they were mostly present late afternoon/early evening at the roost along with 3 Ruff, a few common Sandpipers and a Black-tailed Godwit.
The weather looks set to continue for the time being so if you are here on holiday don't forget to add Hayle Estuary for a visit on a rainy day and you won't be disappointed! At this time of year we await the more unusual American birds brought across on fast-moving Atlantic depressions. We've already hosted a Pectoral Sandpiper (4th-10th August) although as this was an adult we suspect it had probably already spent a year on this side of the Atlantic as most of our American vagrants are inexperienced juveniles. Who knows where this individual came from but it is probably unlikely to have crossed the Atlantic this year and was more likely caught up in the north-south autumn migration with its European counterparts instead.