Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Brit Birder in Wader Heaven

I dropped Jenny of at work for 9am this morning and decided to head out once more to Panama Flats in search of transient waders.
There were pretty much the same sorts of numbers of birds present as yesterday (minus one, thanks to a successful sorte by an adult peregrine...).
I roughly estimated around 140 western and 70 least sandpipers, plus 9 greater & 7 lesser yellowlegs.  A single pectoral sandpiper was also present, as was a dowitcher.
While I was scanning through the birds, and checking the outer areas for such things as Baird's sandpipers, I was joined by Brent Beach - another local birder I only knew through having seen his postings on the local birding forum.

While we were chatting and searching, he picked up a semipalmated sandpiper that I'd completely missed. Better still, it came very close and gave us great looks and allowed for the two pics here to be taken.
Ignoring the westerns feeding out in the deeper water, it was keeping company with least sandpipers in the wet muddy areas. It was clearly a juvenile bird, but I was thrown initially by its 'buffness', but apparently (as I read later) early juvs may show a buff breast.

Other birds seen included 4 killdeer and in the vegetated creek to the east of the pools, a solitary sandpiper and 3 spotted sandpipers.
The birding here is really great at the moment and the birds are extremely tolerant of human presence and general disturbance. As long as one exercises sensible fieldcraft, the views of some of these shorebirds can be amazing.

The shot of 2 lesser yellowlegs here was taken with a standard compact camera with a 3x zoom!   

I popped into Swan Lake briefly on my way home, but it was nearing midday and the place was pretty quiet, bird-wise. The only things of note that I saw included 6 least and 2 western sandpipers, and a Wilson's warbler.   

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