18th July 2016
The first trickle of migrants are arriving so time for my first "Autumn" visit to Abberton. I arrived at a baking hot Layer Breton causeway and rather surprisingly was the only birder there, so after a spot of breakfast started the scan the banks. The first surprise was an eclipse/young male Mandarin which in my experience is a rare bird at Abberton.
As expected Yellow Wagtails were collecting food for their young in the nests in the adjacent fields and apparently Common Blue Damselfly was high on the menu.
Initially, apart from a lone Lapwing, the causeway seemed to be devoid of waders with none of the hoped for Ruff, but I did eventually manage to find a Common Sandpiper skulking behind some vegetation. There are normally quite flighty but this one was a little more accommodating.
Now on to the reserve and in to the relative cool of one of the hides. Luckily the water levels are very high and so the muddy margins are only 10 yards away from the hide, so I wonder what will turn up. The first bird to appear was a rather smart adult Goldfinch feeding on the many seeds.
Little Egrets are also quite happy to strut up and down right outside the hide whilst fishing on the massive shoals of fry present in the shallows, allowing some action shots to be taken.
Unexpected visitors today were three Stock Doves which rather than just coming down for a drink as usual were either loafing around on the beach or occasionally looking for seeds. Either way it was nice to get some shots of this totally under-rated bird with its subtle pastel colouration and iridescent green neck patch.
I then managed to pick out a juvenile Ringed Plover which was hidden on the mud amongst some waterside vegetation. It hardly moved all the time I was there so photo opportunities were limited
Then the moment I was hoping for. I could hear the shrill peep-peep-peep of a Greenshank and saw two birds flying left past the hide. Luckily at that point they turned towards the shore and landed on a spit some 40 yards away. A little bit further than I would have liked, but still managed to grab a few shots as they moved through the vegetation before flying off.
Well, if that was the first day of Autumn, BRING IT ON!!!!