Checking out the feeding action
Had some time to pop up to Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve. After a little run around the Marsh Sandpiper was back from the Ousefleet hide screen. I saw my first one in Britain with Tim Andrews on a little flash in Hertfordshire sometime in the early 80’s. Still a great bird to see. The Blacktoft bird had that lovely ‘white foreface’ (no dark in the lores), tiny looking size (clearly smaller than an accompanying Ruff), but especially I was taken with its feeding action. The delicate (sometimes quite short-looking) bill often hardly seemed to enter the water it was wading in. Rather it just seemed to be picking flies off the surface. No rigorous digging and ‘rooting’ around.
I didn’t manage any decent pics. With some 15 moulting adult Spotted Redshank, up to 40 adult and 1st summer islandica Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Green Sandpiper, some gaudy coloured adult Ruff, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, 5 Little Egret, 2 Spoonbill, Marsh Harriers ‘everywhere’ and more, it was a pleasant enough morning.
Justin Carr did the biz. Great photos thanks Justin:
In 2 of these photos, Justin has even managed to capture the ‘flies’ a mentioned earlier, which were the reason for its delicate feeding action.
Adult and 1st summer Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit (with Redshank). 14 July 2011