Sunday, 17 August 2014

Fly-past at Two Tree Island

29th July 2014

Following on from our morning at Vange Marsh the plan this afternoon was to go to Two Tree Island and get into the hide overlooking the saline lagoon at high tide in the hope that there would be lots of waders roosting there. As high tide wasn't until 1.00pm we had a couple of hours to spare and decided to walk down to the east side of the island.

The path is fenced and therefore very easy to follow and although there was a map at the entrance there were subsequently no signs to indicate which side tracks took you to the hides. In fact, the hide overlooking the old sewage works lagoon wasn't even shown on the map. However, with a little bit of luck we did manage to chance upon it and settled down to take in the view. What was totally unexpected, however, was the presence of two Greenshank which were sleeping on the concrete walls that traverse the lagoon.

Eventually one did wake up and decided to go for a stroll but quite what it was hoping to find to eat on a concrete wall was a complete mystery.

Anyway time was ticking on and the tide was almost in, so off to the hide on the south-west corner of the island. The only waders close in were a Common Sandpiper, a lone Black-tailed Godwit and a couple of pairs of Oystercatchers, with the remainder of the waders being concentrated down the far end. Here too were a couple of Greenshank and a hundred or more Redshank, but the highlight today was the large roost of Black-tailed Godwits, of which there two flocks of 200 and 500 birds respectively.

The plan was to wait until the tide was on its way out again and hopefully get some shots as they flew back out on to the estuary. I had expected this to take about an hour but after this time they were still fast asleep and were still asleep a further hour later. Bearing in mind that the sea wall prevents them from seeing what the tide is doing, how do they know when to wake out and fly out to feed?

It wasn't until a full three hours from high tide that a few small groups started the leave the lagoon, which was a little disappointing as I had expected them  to all leave together.

But then without any warning both flocks exploded into action and we had no more than 10 seconds to record all the action which left the lagoon eerily quiet. I love Two Tree Island.

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