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Just a sucker for Sanderlings

Posted by on July 25, 2008 6:32 PM | 

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Only 200 yards away from the gull and tern flock and the first, big warm blob of rain fell on my face.
Then another and another, and in seconds Ainsdale beach was being battered by a monsoon of biblical proportions.
No problem I thought, as I pulled on my pacamac, at least there's no lightning.
Almost immediately the first bolt flashed across the sky and the thunder started to roll above.
The sand began to disappear under a sheet of rainwater, but deciding that only the good die young (and I'm still a good way from my free bus pass grandad), I stuck by my scope.
The odds of being hit by lightning are pretty small I think.

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After 15 minutes the rain stopped and after checking the gulls (just the usual) I settled down to admire the Sanderlings - at least 300 of 'em were scurrying across the beach, brilliant little bundles of perpetual motion.
I kept still, apart from my feet, which were sinking slowly in the wet sand, and the waders started to feed pretty close.

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Frankly I lurve Sanderlings - they are completely absorbed in their own universe, which seems to comprise of the inch or so of mud and sand in front of their bills.
A few still in the remnants of summer plumage, I scoped 'em for an hour or so, just brilliant.

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There were still plenty of Sandwich Terns on the beach this afternoon, with smaller numbers of Common and Arctics, but disturbance was pretty bad once the dogwalkers and daytrippers emerged from shelter after the rains.

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Amongst the 60 odd terns on the beach, at least 15 had BTO rings.
No sign of the Med Gull today, and with extremely wet gear I squelched back to the car and headed for a shower.

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This muggy weather is perfect for Black Terns and Wood Sands, so I'll give the marsh a wallop tomorrow, unless anyone can tell me of anything else to look at.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies..

4 Comments

John ,
Visited the beach on Friday morning, well, the part in front of Marine Drive at Birkdale.
There were no terns at all there.
How far down the coast are the terns and is parking easy ?
Thanks
Simon.

Park in the car park beside the Sands Pub on the Pontins roundabout at Ainsdale.
Birkdale is no good for terns.
Resist the temptation to drink the very good draught Theakstons bitter in the Sands, walk down to the beach (or drive onto the beach and pay the rip off entrance fee at Shore Road and kill your car).
The tern roosts can often be found surprisingly close to the beach entrance (north or south) of Shore Road, depending on the tide.
If they're not there, walk north towards the Green Beach and head out towards the surf over the tidal channels to find them (check the tide first).

Thanks John , was thinking of trying sometime on Tuesday morning, but as you say I will check the tide first. Thanks Simon

If there's been a good bit of wind I've had terns at Birkdale on occasions, last Autumn in miserable weather there was a good Sandwich roost about 200 yards south of the Weld Road roundabout car park but most of the time, like John said, Birkdale isn't the best spot for terns.

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