Tuesday 2 September 2014

27 wader species, Mie

I still failed to find a rare wader but with 27 species on view around Matsusaka last Sunday it would be churlish to complain. The additional four species I saw last week plus another (Ruff) I heard about mid-week show what a first rate site this is for waders. In fact my three recent visits (August 13, 24 and 31) produced a very impressive 32 species.

As usual I arrived early and got an hour sleep on the seawall and a large coffee or two from a convenience store before dawn. High tide wasn't until 9am but by the time there was enough light exposed mud was all but gone, so I spent the morning checking ponds and fields before turning to tidal areas from about noon.

Black-tailed Godwit was the first new wader for the month. Seven birds, and later grew to eight, were in a tight group on one of the deeper pools loved by the Stilts. Nearby a tight group of 11 Greenshank briefly gave the appearance of two constellations on the still, featureless grey water reflecting the overcast morning sky before they began feeding and merged. The forecast was for rain. The early light wasn't good for digiscoping and the shots below were the best I was able to get.

Black-tailed Godwits waking up and starting to feed. 

A mixed group of Black-tailed Godwits and Common Greenshank with a couple of Marsh Sandpipers and the odd passing Black-winged Stilt.

Finding Pacific Golden Plover on the fields is always a matter of luck, the area is is vast. They are still easier than any potential creeping Long-toed Stint or skulking snipe. I almost drove by these ones that coincided with a brief sunny spell. Wood Sandpiers are normally the most conspicuous of the waders on flooded fields and it's surprising that I only found one in three visits.

High tide seemed to last an age but once it did begin to drop mud rapidly re-emerged and quickly pushed far out into the bay. Waders appeared as if by magic and with each sweep of the flats while trying to count the birds present, I'd pick out something different. Though the variety of species was excellent the number of individuals for most species was low. Just single Turnstone and Dunlin, a lone Long-toed Stint and only a couple of Red-necked. Four Broad-billed Sandpipers was good though, how often do they outnumber Dunlin! Low counts for Sanderling and Kentish Plover is more down to not visiting their favourite locations, the same is arguably true for Lesser Sand Plover but you can't visit the many good locations at the same advantageous time on a rising or falling tide.

Distance is often the problem, this was the closest of the four Broad-bills.

By far the most numerous birds at present were Terek Sandpipers and Grey-tailed Tattlers. How many times have I been here and not seen any? The unpredictability is unquestionably part of the allure of wader hunting in the area.

List of species seen
Eurasian Wigeon   1
Mallard   2
Eastern Spot-billed Duck   very common
Eurasian Teal   5
Common Pochard   3
Little Grebe   common
Cattle Egret   100+
Grey Heron   common
Great White Egret   common
Intermediate Egret   30+
In general egret numbers (apart from Cattle) seemed down this week but flocks move locally as the intensity of rice harvest shifts from place to place.
Great Cormorant   very common
Osprey   6-7
Black Kite   several
Peregrine   1
Moorhen   1
(Eastern) Oystercatcher   10
Black-winged Stilt   c30
Grey-headed Lapwing   4
Pacific Golden Plover   17
Grey Plover   20
Little Ringed Plover   1
Kentish Plover   fairly common
Lesser Sand Plover   several
Common Snipe   6
Black-tailed Godwit   8
Bar-tailed Godwit   1
Eurasian Curlew   1
Far Eastern Curlew   5
Marsh Sandpiper   2
Common Greenshank   21+
Green Sandpiper   2
Grey-tailed Tattler   1000+
Terek Sandpiper   100s
Common sandpiper   c15
Turnstone   1
Great Knot   10
Red Knot   2
Sanderling   2
Red-necked Stint   8-12
Long-toed Stint   1
Dunlin   1
Broad-billed Sandpiper   4
Black-tailed Gull   very common
Slaty-backed Gull   5
Feral rock Dove
Oriental Turtle Dove   common
Bull-headed Shrike   1 heard
Carrion Crow
Large-billed Crow
Sand Martin   4-5
Barn Swallow   fairly common but in far lower numbers than last week
Japanese Skylark   2
Zitting Cisticola   many still singing
Brown-eared Bulbul
White-cheeked Starling   common but noticeably fewer than the huge numbers last week
Blue Rock Thrush   1 heard
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
White Wagtail   a few
Meadow Bunting   4-5

1 comment:

  1. Very impressive count of waders, I can only look on in envy as thet few and far between in SW Hokkaido......................