Why do I seem to pick the windiest days when I venture south or eastwards to do some coastal birding?
Just over a week ago I headed southwards to Farlington Marshes and completed a full clockwise circuit; wandering alongside the stream watching Little Egrets and Black-tailed Godwits feeding; then out to the sea wall with high tide some 2 hours away the mudflats appeared empty until I used the scope then various waders and gulls came to life. I stopped to chat to a delightful couple who requested confirmation that we were all looking at two Little Stints (addition to the year list but no pics) feeding alongside a Common Sandpiper.
As high tide approached the main pool started to fill up with waders including 20+ Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Lapwing, numerous Black-tailed Godwit plus Grey Plover sporting their black waistcoats. Attempts to digiscope the waders in such windy conditions did not produce the quality I had hoped for.
Yesterday I drove eastwards to Oare Marshes on the North Kent coast and it was even windier so in the words of at least one other birder 'not the day for photography'... that was an understatement! A clockwise walk took me along the seawall looking out over the mudflats and then alongside Faversham Creek producing 50+ Common Ringed Plovers, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, and flock after flock of Black-tailed Godwits flying into the East Flood on the rising tide.
I estimated that around 1500 Black-tailed Godwits eventually congregated on the flood but too far away for a clear photo. I did manage a passable shot of 3 Common Ringed Plovers feeding with a Ruff and one of many Black-headed Gulls. Also present were 15 Avocet, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Mallard, Shoveller, Coot, Shelduck, Lapwing and a single juvenile Little Stint. Other sightings included a Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipits and Bearded Tits... typically heard but not seen.
Despite the wind there were other views to maintain my interest as I wandered across to the West Flood with brief sightings of butterflies; a male Clouded Yellow, Gatekeeper and a Common Blue maintaining its grip in the strong wind and a male Ruddy Darter. As a Kestrel hunted overhead a Kingfisher flashed past me across the meadows. I headed for home as the skies darkened and eventually drove through the heavy oncoming rain storm. FAB.