Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A Soirée with Sandplovers - Mersing Estuary 03/09/2012.

I managed to get some time off work and so of course I headed to one place- Mersing. I walked out along the beach this morning and by 09:30 it was real hot and the sun was burning my skin again. I made my way to my usual spot on the northern beach and took up position. I first scanned the shoreline watching the waders being pushed up  real fast and then went through the high tide roosting flock. A construction worker from the development site was walking along the shorelineand flushed the flock which I watched fly and pitch down on the southern beach. Even though the river mouth is small it is far to deep to wade across and to walk to the Southern beach you have to walk through the town and this takes around 40 minutes site to site. So I decided to sit it out as it was only a matter time before they would get flushed from some other person walking the beach that side. 30 minutes later they returned and it was then I was able to start counting and taking a few photos. As always after scanning I decided to concentrate on the Sandplovers but the Greaters have really dropped in numbers and  so it appears they have already moved on, however these juvenile Lesser Sand's are really cracking and so I just stayed with these for as long as possible as I have to make the most of the time here with these as I may never have Sandplover roost so close to me again. 

The adult Lesser Sandplover above has some kind of deformity to its upper mandible giving it an almost hooked like appearance to the tip. I don't recall seeing that much deformity in waders, the odd leg or half leg missing or the even the odd foot but I have never seen a deformed bill before.

Whilst going through the high tide roost flock which was tightly bunched I had 5 Redshank and whilst checking them I thought to myself " A Grey tailed tattler would be nice and surely one is over due now" 20 minutes later the individual above appeared as if by magic in the roost but I had to wait until the run off of the tide to get close enough for any photographic opportunities.

Malaysian Plovers are always nice to see and the individual above was one of 5, 2 adults and 3 juvs of which 2 were very fresh indeed, so as suspected there has been a second pair nearby. I was looking for last visit's flag ringed Terek sandpiper A6 and so was more than happy when I picked it up in the high tide roost. It was always tightly bunched and I couldn't get close enough to photograph. 

Todays totals:

Lesser Sandplover c800 with at least 28 juvs counted today

Greater Sandplover 44 including only 3 juvs. A big decrease in numbers and so I suspect that this species has hit it's peak passage period here in Mersing and has now already passed through and moved on ? 

Terek Sandpiper c450 - with a noted increase in juveniles with at least 40+ counted today. Also the flag ringed bird A6 still present today.

Grey Tailed Tattler 1 adult
Great Knot 1 
Pacific Golden Plover 26 all adults
Grey Plover 1 adult
Turnstone 6, 5 ads, 1 juv
Barwit 17 - 15 juvs, 2 adults
Whimbrel 2 Juvs
Redshank 5 adults, 1 juv  - more on the Redshanks at a later post.
Red Necked Stint 1 adult
Malaysian Plover 5, 2 ads, 3 juvs
Common Sandpiper 7

Great Crested Tern 151 increase in numbers
Lesser Crested Tern 1
Gull Billed Tern 1 first of the autumn
Common Tern 9

Lets see what tomorrow brings....

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