Monday, 27 August 2012

Stunning Sandplovers-Mersing Estuary 23/08/2012.

What a day ! I headed out at just on 10:00hrs and went straight to north beach. The tide was rising and quite close in. I got settled out on a sand bar that I knew would not be covered by the tide with todays height. I sat at one end and the birds began to arrive, they came in to the furthest end of the sand bar but I knew by staying-put and waiting that the tide would eventually push them in my direction. Today provided me the opportunity to get some of my better juvenile Lesser Sandplover photos and I have got to admit these are a nice juvenile wader. Just take a look at these photos for yourself these were taken just after the tide began to retreat and the birds began to forage for a while before going in to the post high tide roost. I remained on site through until 15:40 hours, it was another hot sizzling day when the I could feel the sun burning me alive, however today was a blinding day and produced a good quality record see todays totals list.

I really like the bird above and this has a really nice buffy wash and gives it an almost bronze over-all coloration also note that the legs look quite pale compared to some of the other juvenile LSP's.

Seeing as I concentrated mainly on photographing the juvenile LSP's today I had to spend some time on the adults. The bird in this sequence was an obliging individual, you have got to admit that Sandplovers are a cracking group.

Ok, now for todays totals:

Lesser Sandplover c800 including at least 20 juveniles
Greater Sandplover c200 including at least 4 juveniles
Great Knot 2 1st summers
Malaysian Plover 2 - high tide roost only
Greenshank 11 all adults rising tide only
Redshank 0 on site but 5 seen in flight low over the water half way between Mersing and the Island during the return trip.

Ruddy Turnstone 5 all adults
Common Sandpiper 7
Pacific Golden Plover 12

Terek Sandpiper c340+ with a colour flag ringed bird ! at last a flagged Terek- I have been looking and waiting for this one - details to follow soon.

Great Crested Tern 138 including 2 juveniles
Lesser Crested Tern 1 adult first personal record for Mersing (been waiting for this one)
Common Tern 4
Little Tern 2
WBS-Eagle 1 annoyingly disturbing the waders during the rising tide.
Collared Kingfisher 2

Monday, 20 August 2012

Sandplover Central - Mersing 17/08/2012.

Today I managed to get to Mersing to cover the run up, roost and the run off of the high tide. The southern beach roost  moved further down the beach today and made viewing conditions a little tricky to say the least with the strong / harsh light. The roost got disturbed and then the waders spooked and headed over the northern beach. I followed  them and after going through the flock of waders I decided to settle in for the long haul and stayed with the post roosting flock. I am really getting in to these Sandplovers now and found myself really enjoying this (what I believe) to be challenging group. The adult above and 2 shots below allowed some real nice close viewing. Notice how abraded and "shot" looking the coverts are.

Above shows you a stunning juvenile Greater Sandplover - see below.
Just check out this absolutely stunning juvenile Greater Sandplover, when I first picked this beauty up it was sitting in amongst the roosting group and I just had to get some photos, it took about 45 minutes of manoeuvring slowly to enable me to get close enough and to wait for the bird to begin foraging. I literally could not take my eyes off of this individual. Just look at it, it is mouth watering stuff and these photos do not do the bird justice.

Please note that all photos taken in this post were taken with my 7D, balancing it against the eye piece of my scope. Also not that my 7D has now packed up with the back LCD screen now not working so I can not check photos until I get back and down load them on to the computer. This is looking like it will cost me 2-300 GBP if this is the only problem.

Above photo shows you just on a quarter of the way along north beach after the tide had really began to retreat and the waders had dispersed with the photo below showing the bay area of north beach as I was sadly leaving for the day. I spent 6 hours on site today and it went too fast.

Todays Totals as follows:

Lesser Sandplover c800+ (increase in numbers including at least 6 juveniles including 1 flag-colour ringed individual)

Greater Sandplover c 200- (increase in numbers including at least 5 juveniles)

Terek Sandpiper 140+ (increase in numbers)
Great Knot 2 (first summers)
Turnstone 5 adults (increase in numbers)
Common Sandpiper 11 (increase in numbers)
Red Necked Stint 1 adult (first of the return / autumn passage)
Whimbrel 1 (first of the return / autumn passage)
Pacific Golden Plover 2 adults (first of the return autumn passage)
Curlew Sandpiper 1 adult (first of the return / autumn passage)
Malaysian Plover 1 ad.

Great Crested Tern 102 all adults.
Little Tern 4
Common Tern 3

Friday, 17 August 2012

Black Naped Tern (Version 2)

Been keeping my eye on another pair of  Black Naped Terns nesting on the island and I suspect that this will the last nesting pair of the season / summer until they return next year. This pair decided to nest on the southern side of the island allowing the opportunity to grab a quick 10 minutes with them  2-4 times a week.

Black Naped Tern range in tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean. In the western Indian Ocean it breeds on the Aldabra and Amirante Islands,Seychelles, Chagos Islands (British Indian Ocean Territory) and the Maldives and can be found on the eastern African coast. Its range in the eastern Indian Ocean and Pacific ecompasses the Andaman Islands, India, east to southern Japan and China, south through Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippenes and New Guinea to north-east Australia and some islands in the western-central Pacific.

They frequent small offshore islands, reefs, sand spits and rocky cays, feeding in atoll lagoons and close inshore over breakers, but sometimes also at sea. It feeds mainly on small fish and will almost always forage singly by shallow plunge-diving or surface-diving. Its breeding season varies depending on locality, usually forming small colonies of 5 to 20 pairs, but sometimes up to 200 pairs. Colonies are often monospecific and formed on unlined depression in the sand or in gravel pockets on coral banks close to the high tide line. 

Above 2 photos shows you one of the adults and below shows you the rocks on which this pair decided to use as a nest location.

Above shows you the single chick at around 14 days old and below shows the chick near on 21 days old.

Below shows you the area in which these Terns nest and as you can see they stay true to form by using the described tropical / sub tropical locations. Not a bad back drop to being able to spend time watching this tropical species of Sterna.