Thursday night a weather system passed through the area with North East winds picking up in strength and over night rain, a strong swirling system passed through in the early hours just before day break. It was obvious that this would produce some kind of movement within the Thame's complex.
Friday: I ventured out to the Point where several hundred Ringed Plover were present along with 100+ Dunlin. Whilst scanning through roosting waders I picked up this Little Stint (juv,above) and also the first Curlew Sand (Juv) of the season for myself. A phone call from JS alerting to me a Sabines Gull was appreciated as a cracking adult was following a trawler offshore albeit brief. After 3 direct hits from an adult Hobby the point was left empty of roosting waders. I ventured out to the seawall where a few locals were sea-watching. Their totals were impressive so I decided to give it an hour over the high tide. This proved worthwhile with the adult Sabines Gull flying past again, this time out of the river. A cracking adult Long Tailed Skua being harrassed by 2 Arctic Skua's was a treat and 3 cracking adult Pomarine Skua's flying down river, mid channel in good light just as the tide turned were a surprise. Also 8+ Arctic Skua's and a single flock of 10 Black terns were also added. I then returned to the do the run off of the tide but waders were down in numbers. It was just a matter of time that a good wader would be found within the Thame's complex after this weather system.
Saturday: Started off with an early morning phone call from PW advising me that he had just found an adult female kentish Plover Another look at the roost produced: 2 Curlew Sandpiper (juvs) 400+ Ringed Plover (above), 60 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling (2 ads,1 juv) 7 Red Knot (4 ads, 3 Juvs), 60+ Grey Plover, 900+ Oystercatcher, 1 Golden Plover, 30+ Bar tailed Godwit, 600+ Black Tailed Godwit (all flying over the point from the Kent side of the estuary and heading in the direction of Two Tree lagoon) 130+ Turnstone (below).
Vange Marsh delivered the goods yet again, this time in the form of a Red Necked Phalarope (juv) although a little distant still a good find for visiting birder TB. Also 1 Spoonbill (juv) Little Stint (juv) 1 Snipe,1 Greenshank,1 LRP, Greensand-
Sunday: A later than planned start resulted in a change of itinerary which began back at Vange Marsh. The Red Necked Phalarope was still present, 1 Little Stint, Spotted Redshank 1, Ringed Plover, LRP, Greensand, Common Sand and a group of 5 Curlew Sands dropping in for 20 minutes before flying off high to the west. Then a trip over the river behind enemy lines proved worthwhile for an easy afternoon. First stop Oare Marshes where several hundred Golden Plover poured in at high tide, over 1000 Blackwit were present and contained at least 5 colour ringed birds. 9 Dunlin, 1 Curlew Sand(Juv) Redshank-, 4+ Ruff. The high water levels probably due to the recent rains were a disappointment due to the lack of small species of wader.
(Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Dunlin & Sanderling all juvs in the roost Canvey Point Saturday)
Then a quick trip up the road to Cliffe Pools proved worthy as the Kentish Plover was roosting on this side of the Thame's on Flamingo pool. The bird was a bit distant but showed in amongst the roosting Ringed Plover's and up to 20 Curlew Sand's (1ad,19 juv). A look at the Black barn pool produced the adult Pectoral Sandpiper present with a Wood Sandpiper (juv), Ruff, and the group of 19 juv Curlew Sandpiper's had moved over from the Flamingo pool to this pool.
One of the 2 Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper's at Canvey Point, Saturday (above & below). There was a big push of Curlew Sand this weekend as they seemed to have recently arrived at most major wader localities throughout the Thame's with a high count of 46+ birds at Elmley, Sheppey Saturday afternoon.
The photo below shows a blue flag/ colour ringed Ruff at Oare Marshes. I sent the details of this bird off to the relevant ringer in the Netherlands. The bird was trapped and ringed at Nijhuizum, Monnikeburenpolder, Netherlands on the 29/03/2008 and has been reported several times from the Oare Marshes area.
The below photo shows a crisp juvenile Golden Plover looking rather smart at Oare marshes on Sunday. There was a big surge in juv waders of various species throughout this weekend.
Monday: Started with the run off of the tide at Two Tree producing 13 Red Knot (at least 4 Juvs), 30+ Redshank, 5+ Greenshank, 5 Barwit, 200+ Turnstone, 40+ Grey Plover, Curlew-, Oysetrcatcher. Then to East Tilbury which failed to produce the Kentish Plover but 4 smart Curlew Sands (Juv's) actively feeding close by in good light was ample compensation. 20+ Ringed Plover, 30+ Dunlin, 9 Barwit (2 ads 7 juv) Blackwit-, Yellow legged Gull-, Hobby 1. A visit to Fobbing produced very little as the pool was totally drained of water. 1 Common Buzzard and 2 Bearded reedlings were all that was on offer.
Photo below shows a colour ringed Blackwit at Oare Marshes on Sunday, the details of this and the remaining colour / flag ringed birds have been forwarded on to the relevant people.
So all in all 1 short of hitting 30 species of Wader in the Thames Complex!