Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Spotted Sandpiper on the River Plym 14th September

Headed out to Marsh Mills on the bus to have a look for the spotted sandpiper again. The tide was high and starting to go out and 2 common sandpipers were found on the river bank underneath the A38 flyover and they were flighty and noisey.

Heading along the path towards Blaxton Meadow I found another common sandpiper (or one of the 2 already seen). A grey wagtail flew long the river and a little egret fed in the ebbing water.

On the bank protecting the meadow I heard greenshank calling and then saw a small wader fly silently low over the water, and there it was, my fourth sighting of a spotted sandpiper, heading upriver and out of sight. I found the greenshanks, 4 of them, feeding on the mud near the Sainsburys bird hide tower along with 6 little egrets before I headed back upriver to try and find the spotted sandpiper.

I soon found the spotted sandpiper feeding on the mudbank on the opposite side of the river where it gave excellent views and it had the most surprsingly yellowish legs. My first ever spotted sandpiper was an individual that over-wintered on the same stretch of river in 1987-88, I saw it quite a few times and by the March it was starting to develop the spotty summer plumage.

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper

A brief flyby kingfisher, a jay, moorhen, mallard and long tailed tits were also seen and a chiffchaff sang in the nearby trees. Heading to Sainsburys I found a light emerald in the underpass and a pair of blackcaps fed on the blackberries nearby while a comma butterfly sunned itself.
Light Emerald

Light Emerald

So all in all not a bad 2 hours of wildlife watching and home by 12 O'clock to prepare for tonights night shift.

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