Wednesday, 30 July 2014

30th July 2014 Arlington & Cuckmere

Egyptian Goose 1
Common Sandpiper 8

Hobby 1
Whimbrel c.3
Black-tailed Godwit 5
Wood Sandpiper 1 juvenile
Dunlin 12
Mediterranean Gull 3 including 2 juveniles

Juvenile Wood Sandpiper in the Cuckmere
Unfortunately no sign of the main prize by dark but Matt's juvenile Wood Sandpiper was a very nice consolation. Adult Wood Sandpipers begin to move south in late June making rapid movements to stopover sites to the north of the Mediterranean that explains their relative paucity in the UK e.g. an adult ringed in Sweden was recovered the following day in Italy. Juveniles delay their departure from the breeding grounds so arrive at the Mediterranean stopover sites several weeks later. 

Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits in the Cuckmere
Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits arrive in the UK in July and August. By far the commoner of the two forms occurring in Sussex the left hand bird in the lower image is readily identified by the intensity of its extensive summer plumage. The right hand individual appears more limosa-like being larger and sporting less summer plumage but females of both forms are larger and duller than males. Furthermore, first-summer islandica proves a pitfall being very variable in appearance. Whilst ageing is complicated, especially with adults commencing their post-breeding moult, it is interesting to note that some of its scapulars and lesser coverts clearly have white fringes being similar to the illustration of a first-summer islandica portrayed in Vinicombe, Harris & Tucker (2014). Hence, an adult male and first-summer female islandica would be my best guess.