It’s wader-tastic August!

Well, I said goodbye to my little house martin on the last day of July and it flew away, without looking back, towards an area full of feeding adult and juvenile house martins at Golden Acre Park. You can see a little video here. Thank you to the staff at The Parkway Hotel, home of a great house martin colony, for their assistance and for recording the video. I was so surprised that my little friend flew off with such strength and determination and I’m very confident it will find it’s way to Africa. Also making their way to Africa are our Gledhow swift chicks. Only two more chicks remain in box 5. Watch for news on Leeds Swifts Facebook site.

It’s the start of my favourite time of year when waders and wildfowl begin to leave their breeding grounds in the north. With the lack of rain over the summer, low water levels on our wetlands are providing plenty of muddy edges to attract hungry migrating waders in an array of different plumages (juveniles; adult breeding and non-breeding and those in-between). The Lower Aire Valley is a magnet for passage waders and we’re already seeing a few species such as common sandpiper, green sandpiper, greenshank and dunlin at St Aidan’s and Fairburn. This coming Saturday I’ll be visiting Blacktoft Sands where buff-breasted sandpiper (from the US); wood sandpiper and spotted redshanks have all been showing well. Blacktoft visits always mean birding from hides so the potential for rain will not inhibit our chances of seeing these wonderful birds. In fact, cloudy weather will keep them there for a while longer.

I’ll hopefully get the opportunity to watch waders next week at Rutland water when I visit the annual International Birdfair. If you’ve never been before then it is well worth a visit to see hundreds of exhibitors, fascinating talks and acres of reserve to watch ospreys, wades and wildfowl. A bumper wader spectacular is also planned for our visit to Spurn and Kilnsea on 1st September ahead of the Spurn Migration Festival from 7th to 9th September. I’ll be exhibiting there – I hope you’ll come and support this wonderful autumn event.

I’m just planning my autumn and winter schedule and I hope to include some new places to watch wildlife and some new indoor classes to learn during the winter evenings.

Hope to see you very soon

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