It’s not the most comfortable hide I’ve ever been in but already it’s throwing up some interesting encounters. Finally this weekend the bridge hide on the river at Home Farm was finished and today I spent four pretty uncomfortable hours over looking the stretch of river that I hoped would fill in some of the gaps of the birds I have ,to date, managed to photograph at the farm.
For a year now the Green Sandpiper has been a little bit of a ‘bogey bird’ Often seen and often flushed before having any chance of a photograph. It has proved to be very flighty and difficult to approach. The bridge hide was in response to this and the satisfaction on, at last, photographing it today, was immense.
I’ve got images of the bird at other locations but to be faithful to the project we’re now working on, you have to photograph the birds on ‘your patch’ and I’ve managed something in the region of 75% of the species seen so far. I’d been in the hide for around an hour before the Green Sandpiper showed, it stayed for about 20 minutes before moving on but was to return again a couple of hours later. In the mean time and overlapping, as one of the photographs from today’s session shows, a couple of Dippers spent a fair time around the hide.
The Green Sandpiper is a near resident on the river, the only month Richard and I have not recorded it is May. It doesn’t breed in Britain, the only records having been proved are in Cumbria in 1917 and Inverness in 1959, but is a passage and wintering species. They are one of the earliest birds to return from their breeding grounds in Norway and Germany, arriving in mid June. The early arrivals are most often females, the males being left to care for the unfledged young at the breeding sites. They are very faithful to their passage and wintering sites often returning to the exact river bank of previous years. It is a stunning wader and adds a huge amount of sparkle and panache to the river.
It was interesting to note the return of the Kingfisher today, We haven’t seen one around for a couple of months now and the return, from the coastal reaches, would appear to be in line with the considerable rise in temperatures we are currently experiencing after the cold snap of recent weeks. The Goosanders were present again today, but only showing very briefly from the hide and a hundred yards or so away. I’m hopeful for a good show of them fairly close to the hide in the next few weeks before they move on.
We have erected ten nest boxes now and await with interest to see if they are adopted by anything this year. I’ll be in the hide in the next couple of days before taking a trip up north, to visit my brother Phil, we are planning a few days around the Solway and Leighton Moss.