This morning I went to investigate a report of Wood Sandpiper from yesterday morning at Swinemoor. Unfortunately the weather was quite rainy, but this rain, over the last few days, has topped up the water levels at Swinemoor quite nicely. What had been reduced to a few small puddles has once again returned to a generously flooded area with patches of open water, shallow margins and damp grassland.
The birds seem to prefer it this way!
Lots of Mallard and 4 Gadwall were feeding in the pools, along with 3 Shelduck. Lapwing numbers seem to have risen again to about 20 and 2 male Snipe were busy drumming away. Scanning across the common, I spotted a Greenshank and almost immediately after a Wood Sandpiper flew a short distance. I decided to walk around the common to get a closer look and at the stone bridge that crosses the Beverley-Barmston drain a Common Sandpiper was feeding!
Plenty of other birds around, with large numbers of Swallows and House Martins swooping around the feet of a group of horses. I was able to get right amongst these horses and the birds continued to swoop around their feet and mine.
Once on the river Hull flood defences I was able to get a better look at the waders and immediately saw a second Wood Sandpiper! A fight between a couple of Lapwings and a Carrion Crow scared the Greenshank away, which flew north. I flushed a couple of Redshank out of the grass and I watched one land in another pool. It landed next to another wader and began to chase it around; it really wasn’t too happy about the company it was keeping. This other wader turned out to be another Wood Sandpiper! I couldn’t imagine that it was another bird so I had a look at where the previous two were and they were still sitting in the same places as before. So, three Wood Sandpipers!
Looking back through my records I saw a single Wood Sandpiper on Swinemoor on the 20th May 2006 and 2 on the 15th May 2005. Obviously this is a regular stopping off point on their migratory route.