4 weeks ago
Sunday, 25 September 2011
I had not seen Sabine's Gull in juvenile plumage before the recent influx, but the two at Sturt Pond near Milford-on-Sea brought the total I have now seen to five. They had been commuting between the Pond and some nearby fields - commuting in the opposite direction to me as it turned out, as I only caught up with them after two visits to the fields and two to the pond. Noticeably smaller than Black-headed Gull, as these pictures show, both birds were present, washing and preening for a few minutes before heading off back to the fields.
A few hours free this morning so I thought I would head to Milford-on-Sea to see the Sabine's Gulls which have been there for a few days. The pager reported a Semipalmated Sandpiper at Pennington Marshes en route so I thought I would check that out first. A breezy 30 minute walk later from Keyhaven and the Sandpiper was seen walking around the back of the Shoveler Pools. Eventually it came quite close - a good job too, as this is one tiny bird, smaller even than the juvenile Little Stint with which it occasionally crossed paths. Its feet were usually too covered in mud to see the partial webbing between the toes which give it its name, but occasionally when it was walking through water you could just about convince yourself they were there (see bottom picture).
|Semipalmated Sandpiper (left) with Little Stint|
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Having gone to see a Lapland Bunting at Abbotsbury after work on Monday, and two Buff-Breasted Sandpipers near White Nothe after work on Tuesday I was a bit concerned that if I went to Mudeford tonight the rest of the family might have a sense of humour failure. So I took them with me. The boys and their mum played on the beach while I photographed two juvenile Sabine's Gulls, a Little Gull and a Grey Phalarope in the surf just yards from the shore, and all in the same small patch of water. The tall trees behind Avon Beach were casting a long shadow and my lens was struggling with the low light so I headed further up the beach to a sunlit area in the direction where one of the Sabine's Gull's had headed. I was pleased to find it standing on the beach, allowing a close approach.
|Sabine's Gull (juvenile)|