Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Upper Cherwell Valley: wood sandpiper

A quick blog post with a pic of the very smart wood sandpiper I discovered this evening feeding around the edge of what has become known at the "EA Borrow Pit" (the Environment Agency borrowed the clay to build the flood defences, creating the pool).  It is proving quite attractive to waterbirds in small numbers, especially common sandpipers.

Arriving at the pool my attention was drawn to a small wader on the far shore, but it was not bobbing up and down as common sandpipers are want to do, so I gradually crept closer and recognised this as a wood sandpiper - lovely markings, especially on the wing coverts.  The wood sandpiper is less than annual Banburyshire, and is only seen during spring and autumn migration.
wood sandpiper

A little earlier I caught up with the adult dunlin present since yesterday, feeding along the concrete shore of Grimsbury Reservoir.  A very confiding bird,  I was able to get a couple of pics reaching over the top of the perimeter fence.

Back-tracking to last week, an early morning visit to Tadmarton Heath was good value, lots of whitethroats and linnets.  Few butterflies, but a very approachable small skipper.  Andy Turner was ringing on site and was catching good numbers of birds, and reported trapping a tree pipit there recently.
small skipper

I also stopped to photograph the giant bellflower that grows in the woodland near to the reserve entrance gate.  It was just starting to go over, but a spectacular sight none the less.
giant bellflower

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