Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Curlew Sandpiper.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper Dave Appleton 

The Curlew Sandpiper (CS) is the migrant bird which excites me more than any other I'm likely to find almost annually, and on Monday I found five together close in on the stony shore just south of the abbey quietly roosting as the tide ebbed at Cockersands. I've also found them at Conder Green on occasion's in the past but never in the number seen at Conder Green before my birding time in 1965 when an amazing 65 were reported in September. Conder Green and the Lune Estuary having the reputation it has as an excellent area for birds/birding also has the distinction of having had a bird winter here from October 1984 to March 1985. Historically the CS has also wintered at a few other Lancashire locations in mainly single numbers .  

The thing which fascinates me the most about this smart wader is the fact that any I see are a tiny part of the population that breeds in W Siberia and migrates through NW Europe to wintering grounds in W Africa....some migration journey. I have no idea how such figures are arrived at, but this population has been estimated at a staggering 740,000 individuals.

Curlew Sandpiper 
Adult Curlew Sandpiper David Cookson 

The adult male CS leave their breeding grounds immediately after mating and most have started their migration by mid-July leaving the female to raise the young alone until they become independent or when the nesting fails before she leaves for migration. There are years of influx of CS into Britain during autumn migration, one of the major factors controlling  the size of these influxes are the weather conditions in Scandinavia and the Baltic. More than 2,000 CS have been ringed in Britain but few have been recovered. Most birds have been ringed in the south and east of Britain, the majority being juveniles on autumn migration.

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!....With a slim possibility tomorrow - Thursday - but certainly not again until Monday next week at the earliest. Life's 'routines' have had to be drastically re-arranged by me over the past twelve months and Friday/Saturday/Sunday birding is now out of the question for me for the foreseeable future. 


Findlay Wilde said...

A bird I can't wait to see. From Findlay

Rohrerbot said...

That second shot is epic. They're migration story is fascinating. Siberia? Never been:)

Pete Woodruff said...

Findlay....You need to get to the coast sometime, but getting late this year now.

Rohrerbot....The full migration story is even more fascinating.

Noushka said...

You must feel frustrated not be birding as much as you'd wish...
Anyhow, you picked beautiful photos to show here!
I still have to see this bird...
Nice article, keep well!

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks for this Noushka....

Very frustrated, but I'll just have to learn to live with it, hopefully not permanently. The five Curlew Sandpipers I found this week charged my battery for several days and rekindled the passion forever.