Wednesday, 18 May 2022

More Northbound Waders at Farmoor 17th May 2022


A bright, warm and sunny, late Spring morning found me strolling the causeway at Farmoor Reservoir. The benign weather conditions promised little to excite and I was expecting to draw an all too familiar blank as far as birds were concerned.

Certainly it was unlikely that any northbound waders would be touching down on the sun baked concrete edges of the reservoir but I was to be proved wrong and not for the first time.

For once it was not the central causeway that delivered the birds  but further around the periphery of the smaller of the two basins that comprise Farmoor Reservoir.

Four tiny bodies were strung along the water's edge busily feeding. Approaching closer and looking into the sun it was difficult to initially make out what they were but on getting even closer I could see that there were two each of Sanderling and Ringed Plover.

They were skittish, especially the Sanderling. The Ringed Plover were the more obliging, their more hesitant feeding technique rendering them more approachable while the Sanderling scuttled away as fast as their little black legs could carry them and that is pretty fast believe me!

The increased footfall on the reservoir, post pandemic, meant that the group of waders were regularly disturbed and they would take fright and fly out over the reservoir to land further along on the concrete shore.This happened frequently and in the end it proved too much and they departed for good. Maybe they would continue their long flight north or possibly find somewhere quieter, such as another reservoir not so far away. I would never know

It seems such a shame that many of those now using the reservoir for relaxation are unaware of the presence of these birds as they walk by. Some do notice them or at least people like me looking intently at the water's edge and stop to enquire what is so interesting and are invariably amazed to hear about these migrating birds, what they are and where they are going.

Below are some images of this attractive quartet,  gracing the reservoir as they took a short break from their long and perilous journey, one that will take them to separate northern breeding grounds.They still have a very long way to go and for now were happy to keep in each others company.

Yet again I stood in wonder at living proof, before my very eyes, of the almost miraculous feat of endurance that is wader migration.

Sanderling



Ringed Plover





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