The three sandpipers

I was visiting my friend Mark Fawcett this morning and so we decided to pop over to Cley once we had finished our musical tasks. We just visited one of the hides but did see the long-billed dowitcher well, and there were a lot of ruff and black-tailed godwits and plenty of avocets, plus both ringed plover and little ringed plover.

There has been a pectoral sandpiper reported from the pools east of Wells, and though I had seen one at Titchwell recently, I reckoned Mark had probably never seen one (I was right) and so I suggested we go over there before both getting back to our respective work. I am very glad I did!

We arrived to find – as with other places along the coast at the moment – lots of black-tailed godwits and ruff, but we also quickly found three common sandpipers, which I always enjoy seeing. There were also seven spoonbills, which seem to now be a very regular sighting here. No sign of the pectoral sandpiper, but then Mark found it skulking in some undergrowth at the edge of one of the pools. A good spot! It soon came out and gave us some better, though slightly distant, views. These birds have lovely plumage and it was good to see one again so soon after the bird at Titchwell.

green sandpiper

As we were watching the pectoral sandpiper another sandpiper flew in quite close to us: I initially assumed it was one of the common sandpipers, but quickly realised that it wasn’t. Closer inspection showed it to be a green sandpiper – a new species for the year and wonderfully unexpected!

green sandpiper

Brenda writes: “Moths really don’t like rain and so numbers were again down today, but we had two very interesting moths. The gold spot is absolutely stunning and a new one for me.

gold spot

The other I nearly passed by as a latticed heath, then noticed the dark band on its wings. After much poring over the book I still thought the only thing it could be was an unusually marked latticed heath and James agrees. He’s very excited!

The strange “banded” latticed heath with (below) a more normal one for comparison

I was on foot around Wells today and finally got a picture of traveller’s joy at the end of our road. When it goes to seed you’ll see why it’s also called old man’s beard.

traveller’s joy

Along the verge was common calamint, very common here, and prickly lettuce.”

common calamint
prickly lettuce

New species for July 31st:
Birds: green sandpiper
Moths: gold spot
Flowers: common calamint, prickly lettuce

Birds = 214
Moths = 197
Wildflowers = 266