Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Solitary sandpipers defy convention

Yesterday (Tues) evening, I stopped off at Panama Flats on my way home.
The water levels were extremely low, and unless we get a bit of decent rain in the next few weeks we may just end up missing  some of the peak shorebird passage.
Even with little water, there were enough birds present to indicate that post-breeeding dispersal is well underway.

The undoubted highlight was a smart solitary sandpiper that showed well intermittently - when it wasn't hiding among the emergent vegetation. I bumped into another birder there (a fellow ex-pat Brit by the name of Mark) and we were quite convinced that there were two solitaries.
I didn't actually see two birds at any one time, but I fail to see how one individual could have been quite so mobile, and fly unseen, as to get from one area of the quadrant to the other so frequently. At one point Mark was quite sure that he could see two birds in his field of view.

Lesser yellowlegs, Panama Flats
There were fewer than 40 peeps in the SW quadrant, the majority being least sandpipers. A few western sandpipers were also in the mix, as were a pair of classic semipalmated sandpipers.
A lone greater yellowlegs was also feeding in the quadrant, as well as a single juvenile spotted sandpiper and good numbers of killdeer.

Over on the NW quadrant, there was a little more standing water and a dainty lesser yellowlegs (my first of the 'fall' - pictured) was wading around alongside a single killdeer and couple more least sands.

On Monday, I managed a quick walk out of the office to Langford Lake at lunchtime and noticed that a couple of belted kingfishers were back in the area. An osprey passed over, the first I've seen at the lake this year.
Dragonflies were much in evidence with four-spotted skimmer, common whitetail and blue dasher all adding a splash of colour to my wee amble.

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