Saturday, July 11, 2009

Return passage of high Arctic waders.

Visits to various places ((10th July ) produced little until a walk along the beach from Traigh an Luig to Uiskentuie. Three separate parties of Redshank, Sanderling and Turnstone showed that waders from the high Arctic are now on their return migration southwards. The plumage of the latter was already begining to lose it's defintion and intensity and that of the Sanderlings was something of a "half way house". An unintended pun, the latter comment might actually represent what some of these birds still have in front of them in terms of their migration, as all the species mentioned can winter way down in Africa and, therefore, still have a long way to go. On the other hand they may opt for the winter sun of the Mediterranean or , slightly further south, become part of the vast wintering flocks of waders on the Banc d'Arguin, off Mauritania.

Sadly, the above beach and adjacent areas no longer showed any terns to be present and, as in so many previous years, it would seem their breeding attempts have failed or that they'd moved to other sites as terns can often do. By contrast several pairs of Ringed Plover were present, all acting as if they had young somewhere, which would perhaps suggest second attempts at breeding, and quite successful ones at that! Thankfully the open grazed areas to one side, and the sloping beach on the seaward side, allow a route to be chosen that leaves the shingle undisturbed except, of course, the diehard dog walkers whose inquisitive charges find it irresistable.

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