Saturday 19 August 2017

Common Ringed Plover and other waders on the beach

Waders have been on the move for a while but by mid-August things should be hotting up a little so I made my first autumn passage trip to Mie earlier this week and though I managed to see about 24 species numbers were low. In fact it took 12 hours before I found my first Dunlin.

The biggest surprise was finding a Common Ringed Plover. Or should it be that the biggest surprise is that it's taken so many years to find my first Mie Ringed Plover.

The Common Ringed Plover with Ruddy Turnstone, Terek Sandpiper and Lesser Sand Plover.

The Plover was very loyal to the same tiny spot on this short rocky stretch of beach (actually lumps of old concrete I think) but for some reason it was highly unpopular with the Lesser Sand Plovers which would often make a run at it as they passed by. There didn't seem to be any other interspecific harassment so I've no idea why it attracted so much hostility other than being the stranger in town.

Ruddy Turnstones are probably my favourite shoreline wader, still even more striking and attractively marked birds at this time of year.

This was the only Lesser Sand Plover more or less in full breeding plumage. Many still have varying amounts of reddish across the breast but the forehead markings are early lost to moult. So there's never much chance of finding an easy to identify atrifrons.

There were plenty of Grey Plover in the area but they tend to stay further out on sandbars as the tide drops. This was the only bird I saw that offered any kind of photographic opportunity.

Other tidal species I saw included Kentish Plover, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Sanderling and Red-necked Stint but none were close to get any decent shots. It's always something of a lottery birding along this coast as some spots tend to be better at different stages of the changing tides, unfortunately it isn't a linear progression along the coast as might be expected and inevitably means many areas are covered under less than optimal conditions. Personally I'm not the sit-and-wait type which, depending on the day, could be more productive. Of course at high tide there are also other habitats to check.


  1. I've only ever seen 2 Common Ringed Plovers in Japan............

  2. They're pretty scarce I think but not really rare enough to be more than local news. I thinking this is only my second too, I've probably seen more Little Stints and Nordmann's Greenshanks here than Common Ringed Plover. Either we're both unlucky or maybe it's rarer than I think.

  3. Hi Neil, where can I see some birds in Kyoto? Thank u.

  4. At this time of year Gyoen (Gosho) and the botanical gardens are worth a shot for migrants. It's possible to see a much larger range of species compared to summer... if you're lucky.