A thoroughly miserable morning at Hesketh weatherwise, but a close encounter with one of my favourite waders eclipsed the rain and the wind and was worth the early start and the drenching.
Curlew Sandpipers are a fantastic bird – stunning in their range of plumages with their elegant structure and long curved bill.
The birds today were 3 nice fresh juveniles with a lovely peachy wash on the breast; scalloped mantle, scaps and coverts; and a strong super making them stand out at long range against the duller, plainer and dumpier Dunlin.
These juveniles were fearless, maybe I was the first human they had ever seen, and they fed right in front of me down to just a few meters. The weather and light impacted the images, but I managed a reasonable video to give a feel of the experience. The scope views were just amazing.
It’s been a pretty good year for them so far on the Ribble, and hopefully this group will increase in number over the next few weeks.
A few more images from this year below. First one is a moulting adult seen on Ainsdale beach in August – feeding with a large Dunlin and Sanderling flock on a big tide.
Marshide in Spring had double figures, with some brick red breeding plumage birds as well as some still in their plainer, none breeding garb and a few inbetween.
They might not be rare, but they always improve your day when you find one…….