I was in my element yesterday morning, stealthily stalking along the stony coastal path at Sully in a shiver-inducing chilly wind, trying to observe and photograph a wonderful variety of seabirds. And I got lucky, really really lucky, as by the time I decided I needed to get walking to ward off hypothermia, I had seen noisy fly-pasts of Oystercatchers; Dunlins and Turnstones and, an unexpected bonus, two Sanderlings foraging along the tide-deposited seaweed; several rather skittish Whimbrels; and a fleeting glimpse of one also unexpected but rather beautiful Bar-tailed Godwit.
Both the Whimbrels and the Bar-tailed godwit are passage migrants. The Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) (the bird with the curved beak) can be seen around Britain’s coastline during spring as it flies north to Shetland and Orkney to breed and again in autumn when it heads back to South Africa to enjoy a warmer winter. The Bar-tailed Godwit (affectionately abbreviated amongst birders to Barwit) (Limosa lapponica) passes through Britain on its way to its breeding grounds in the Scandinavian and Siberian Arctic, though does sometimes over-winter in Britain.
p.s. See tomorrow’s post for the Sanderlings and the Dunlins.