1 Sept 2015

1 Sep 15 - A Long Overdue Plover For My Poole Harbour List

Today was a lazy day. I tried Brands Bay this morning, but found the tide was already high when I arrived. So I planned to head out again around late afternoon to look on the falling tide. But mid afternoon, I received a call from Paul Morton to say Chris Thain, the Brownsea DWT warden, had a likely juvenile Kentish Plover on the reserve. The description sounded good, but it had flown before Chris had been able to confirm the identification & he hadn't been able to relocate it. On that basis, I decided to give it a go. Even if it wasn't there, then there would be better views of the Waders than at Brands Bay, where the late afternoon light can be very harsh. Paul was circulating the news to the locals & I rang a few others as I left the house. In the end, it was just Graham Armstrong & myself on the 15:00 boat from Sandbanks. We quickly headed up to the Mac hide, the main lagoon hide, as that is generally the better Wader hide. But thirty minutes later, we had not had any sightings. By this time, I had Marcus Lawson on the phone, giving me detailed directions to a pale looking Plover that he could see on the Birds of Poole Harbour web camera. The BoPH team have a remote control on the camera to allow them to pan across the lagoon. Remember the great BoPH find of Semi-palmated Sandpiper a couple of years ago by web camera (which sadly didn't stick around long enough for me to see). But the camera is mounted near the other hide & try as we could to follow Marcus's directions, we just couldn't see his Plover from our hide. In the end, Chris (who had rejoined us) & Graham decamped to the other hide: leaving me to keep scanning from the Mac hide. Five minutes later, Graham rang to say they could see the Plover: it must have been just behind some vegetation from the Mac hide. I quickly joined them & on arrival had a quick look through Chris's scope: it looked very hopeful. A few minutes later, we were all happy & passing the news back to Paul & Marcus. Unfortunately, there was no chance they could catch the last public boat to the island. Hopefully, it will still be there tomorrow.
Kentish Plover: Juvenile. Probably about 150x on the SX60 followed by a harsh crop
Despite being a roughly annual species in Dorset, this appears to only be the eighth Poole Harbour record. The last Poole Harbour Kentish Plover appears to be the long staying Winter individual which hung around Brands Bay & the Studland Houseboats from 17 Nov - 15 Dec 1991 (it then spent the rest of the Winter & the following Winter at Ferrybridge). I was on an extended Round the World trip at the time & so I didn't see this individual. There again, I had been living in Southampton before & after that trip, so there is no certainty I would have made the effort to see it (if I had been in the UK), given I had already seen several at Ferrybridge & one at Lodmoor.
Kentish Plover: Juvenile. An even harsher crop. But I'm amazed I managed to get anything identifiable given it was a small pale blog on the Canon 7D with the 400mm lens
Much closer was this Knot & roosting Spotted Redshank within the Redshank flock.
Knot, Spotted Redshank & Redshanks: The Spotted Redshank is behind & to the left of the Knot