Sunday, 13 September 2015

Black-tailed Godwit City at Mistley


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2nd September 2015

I have had some superb days at Mistley, both at The Quay and The Walls, but always in the late autumn/winter months, so what was Mistley like in early September? Well, there is only one way to find out. I chose a 3.00pm high tide so that I could arrive at about 10.30am and photograph the waders as they were moving in on the incoming tide. I suspected that The Quay would be dead as it is a site for winter ducks, which was confirmed when I called in there on the way in.

At The Walls the tide was still a long way out, but soon races in when the tide turns as the mud here is very flat and just a couple of inches rise in the water covers about 10 yards of mud. In fact the mud is almost entirely covered and the waders all gone at least 2 hours before hight tide. So what was it like?

Well the first thing to notice was that, although there were absolutely hundreds of birds out on the mud there were very few species in fact just three species of wader, Grey Plover, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit. The Grey Plovers were still resplendent in their summer plumage but never came closer, preferring to fly off to the the other side of the estuary as the tide came in. Even the Redshank were more reticent than normal but I did notice this leucistic bird among some normal birds.

So that left the Black-tailed Godwits, which were both numerous and confiding. Quite large flocks were gathering on the small islands, until the islands were covered by the incoming tide which caused the birds to fly a little closer to islands that were just forming.

Luckily, as mentioned above, the incoming tide was causing a considerable amount of movement of the godwits, which gave some ideal opportunities for some flight shots. Don't you just love Mistley, and roll on winter when there will be a greater variety of waders, and winter ducks will be present on Mistley Quay.

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