Monday, 4 October 2010

Dabbling with Waders

Thank you so much to everyone who has enquired and sent good wishes concerning my husband's health. He returned home after spending five nights in hospital and is much better than he was although the doctor says he is still very unwell but going in the right direction. When he is well enough he will have to have surgery which we hope will be before the end of this year or possibly at the beginning of next year.

To me this year, Summer seemed no more than the blink of an eye and already we seem to be in the grip of Autumn.

'Radiant joy is everywhere.
Spirits in tune to the spicy air,
Thrill in the glory of each day.
Life's worth living when we say, October!'
(Joseph Pullman Porter)

The following photos were taken at Draycote just before my husband's unexpected admission to hospital.

I had heard there had been quite an influx of waders there and as you probably know I am not good on waders/water birds so I hope my IDs are correct. The first one, the Lapwing, I know is correct. A member of the plover family, it is also known as the Peewit which describes its display call. A very attractive bird I think, which is disturbingly on the red list of threatened species due to modern day farming practices!


I had heard there was a Curlew Sandpiper there and as I had never seen one I was hoping I would be lucky but I know from experience that it is one thing knowing a particular bird has been seen at Draycote but quite another to actually find it myself! I hope that the two photos below are of the Curlew Sandpiper, they were taken at the time I know it was there and look to me like photos I have seen of it.

Curlew Sandpiper (above and below)

A little duck I often see at Draycote is the Teal, a small but attractive dabbling duck.

Teal Duck

Another duck I see there frequently is the delightful Tufted Duck, a diving duck which I know is a favourite of Warren's...or would be if he ever saw one :)

Tufted Ducks (with Mallard)

'The water-birds with shrill discordant scream
Oft rouse the peasant from his tranquil dream.'
(John Leyden)

Talking of the Tufted Duck, the rather similar but much more unusual Lesser Scaup has put in an appearance at Draycote again, needless to say, as in the past, it has so far eluded me :(

I saw quite a few Ringed Plovers. I think they were Ringed and not Little Ringed?

Ringed Plover (above and below)

I saw an abundance of Autumn fruits in the hedgerows.

Hawthorn Berries

'The thorns and briars, vermilion-hue,
Now full of hips and haws are seen;
If village-prophecies be true,
They prove that winter will be keen.'
(John Clare)

Rose Hips


'October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.'
(George Cooper)

As I mentioned last year, there is a type of algae which affects parts of Draycote Water which gives a strange turquoise blue hue to the water, this effect is particularly noticeable in the following photo.

Black-headed Gull

Just for fun, I want you to see how difficult it was for me to spot the waders in the part of the reservoir where they were. The following uncropped photo shows that not only were they some distance away but also just how well camouflaged they were. It was very, very difficult to distinguish between rocks and birds!

If you look carefully you will see there is a Ringed Plover in there!

I have seen this species at Draycote before so am (fairly) confident the two following photos are Dunlin.

Dunlin (above and below)

There were lots of Cormorants but all too far away for a decent photo.


Finally, I think (and hope) I have the next ID correct. There was definitely a Ruff present on the day I was there so I think the final two photos are it.

Ruff (above and below)

Well that is all for now and as long as there are no more dramas my next post will not take as long to appear as this one has. Until then, enjoy the beauty of Nature, wherever you are.


  1. Hello Songbird,
    Great to see you posting agian :-)

    I like your wadery (is that a word ?) subjects today, which all look correctly Identified to me, but i'm not great with waders :-)

    keep on posting Byeeee

    PS please dont tease me about the Tufties :-(

  2. Its good to have you back again
    And to know that hubbys on the mend
    Though summers not been good to you
    Lets hope autumn fruits bear good for two
    This post has been a sheer delight
    Mmmm curlew sand you are so right
    Fruits and flowers words of prose
    you have been missed around this house.
    Welcome back Jan.

  3. Great photos Jan and yes, all your id`s are correct.

    Good to hear that your hubby is on the mend. Best wishes.

  4. Excellent what a beautiful quality of pictures and diversity... I can see that you are getting some similar bird than the one we have here..
    We got a curlew sandpiper turning around for two weeks, and everybody was running after it, cause only 2 have been seen so far in Iceland.

  5. Great photographs.
    Love all the birds.
    Wishing your husband gets completely well soon.

  6. What a lovely collection of photos - and so sorry about your husband being ill - not an easy time I'm sure. Do hope he carries on improving.

    I'm not very up on seabirds and have never seen a Ruff - what a beautiul bird.. the Little Ringed Plovers I do remember from Springwatch! Have a good week - Miranda

  7. Glad to hear your husbands on the mend Jan. Great news for you.

    A feast of waders; a great variety, and all correct on ID's I reckon.
    I must get back up there soon. :)

  8. The Curfew Sandpiper was really very good, but the two together was the Ruff, it is fantastic.

  9. So glad to hear that your husbands health is improving and I wish him well for his future visit to hospital.

    I haven't had chance to come on blogger much this past two months so I had missed your earlier post.

    This one is as always delightful. I especially like the John Leydon and George Cooper verses. And your Lapwing shots are real beauties. And I must give a mention to the Ruffs: excellent shots.

  10. Hi Jan, I do hope that hubby is feeling much much better soon. I know the strain when a loved one is very unwell. Thinking of you both.

    I love the lapwing. I never tire of seeing or hearing them. Sadly they seem to have disappeared from this area. We used to have a large flock arrive every summer to breed. Now they manage the fields differently and they no longer come. So sad.

    The ringed plover is a pretty little bird. How on earth did you see it amongst the rocks? It took me ages to find it with my glasses on!!!!!Ha.

    A lovely post as always...always a pleasure to visit your quiet and peaceful blog.

  11. You've seen some great birds there!
    I hope your husband is doing well with his recovery

  12. Hi Jan.
    Another great post! Glad to hear Hubby is on the road to recovery.
    Some great wader shots. I find them hard to photograph, especially as they are usually distant and hard to ID for the same reason. Well done for getting them right!

  13. ShySongbird ,
    Glad to hear that your husband's health is moving in the right direction .
    Very well done on the wader IDs , especially as I think the Curlew Sandpiper , Dunlin and possibly the Ruff are juveniles . The Ruff could be an adult female .
    Yet another name for your Lapwing is the Green Plover .
    A most enjoyable read , as usual , and great shots .

  14. Warren Baker

    Thank you very much, Warren, it may not be a word but I like it :) Sorry about the Tufties, I'll try not to tease...but can't guarantee it :)


    Thank you very much, Monty! I can't compete with that so won't even try :) You are very kind to go to such trouble. I hope you are feeling much better than you were!


    Thank you very much for your comments and good wishes, Dean. So glad I got the IDs right :)


    Thank you very much, Chris :) I had never seen a Curlew Sandpiper before so was very pleased with that. I can see there must have been great excitement in Iceland when one appeared!


    Thank you very much for your kind comments and good wishes, Costas :)

    Miranda Bell

    Thank you for your very kind words, Miranda. It certainly has been a difficult time but thankfully things are improving now.
    I am not very familiar with seabirds either but the Ruff was a beauty!
    I hope all is well with you and that things are a little less hectic now the main gardening season is over.

  15. Songbird, I'm glad to hear that your husband is improving; I do hope that the upcoming surgery goes well for him.

    Once again, you've introduced me to some new species of birds! The Lapwing is totally new to me, and such a pretty bird. I'm still trying to find the plover in the rocks, though:)

    As always, I enjoy your bits of poetry here--I wonder what John Clare meant, though, by "winter will be keen." Does he mean it will be a cold winter or a good winter?? It reminds me of the long-range forecast I read in the paper today: our precipitation for the rest of the year may be "below normal, average, or above normal." I think I could have made that forecast:)

  16. A lovely collection of watery birds Jan.
    Great to hear that HLH is making progress.

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  18. holdingmoments

    Thank you very much, Keith :) It has been pretty good for waders there lately.
    I do hope all goes well for you on the 13th.

    Bob Bushell

    Thanks very much Bob, I was pleased as I had never seen either before :)


    Thank you very much for your kind comments and good wishes, Kerry.
    I was pleased to discover the verse, the George Cooper made me smile :)


    Thank you very much for your kind words, Cheryl. It has been a difficult time but things seem to be improving now, thank goodness!
    It is such a shame that a bird as beautiful as the Lapwing is becoming another victim of man's mismanagement of this lovely planet...
    I'm glad you could appreciate the difficulty I had to spot the waders, the Dunlins, Curlew Sandpipers and Ringed Plovers were all in that area and all equally difficult to was quite a challenge!!
    Your last sentence is much appreciated... :)


    Thank you very much, Pam. He is a lot better than he was :)


    Thank you very much, Phil.
    I found them hard to see let alone photograph! It was fun trying though :)


    Thank you very much for your kind comments, Greenie. I must admit it was rather challenging to ID the waders and I did actually wonder if there were some juveniles there.
    I have a feeling I have seen the name Green Plover somewhere, possibly in an old poem when researching fitting verse.

  19. Hi Jan.
    A fabulous collection of images, particularly the waders. How lucky for you to get these shots despite the background camouflage.
    Delighted to hear that hubby is doing ok and hope that the surgery is not too far away.

    Best wishes to you both...FAB.

  20. SSB, Thank you for visiting me just now. And I've been so out of the loop, that I didn't realize... please know you are both in my thoughts and prayers.

    Now... the most familiar fellow in waders that I know, is "Mr. Shady!" ;-)

  21. WHOA--fantastic shots..I love wading and shore birds, I hope to get a trip to the coast in maybe next week!! IF the weather holds. Had planned it for last week and a Tropical Storm shot up the coast...
    LOVE That shot of the Ruff--super lighting and so very sharp-
    Glad your hubby is feeling better and is back at home. Speedy Recovery-

  22. Glad to see you back with encouraging news re your husband, and wonderful words and photos.

  23. I thought I'd already commented here, glad for the news of your husband, it's always so difficult to get through times like this. Love your photos

  24. Rose

    Thank you very much, Rose :) All the waders were as difficult to see as the plover which you are struggling to see!!
    A 'keen' Winter is a good old British way of saying it will be sharp, hard or tough, we often speak of a keen wind meaning it is quite sharp and penetrating. I love the weather forecast you were given, it certainly covers all possibilities :)

    Midmarsh John

    Thank you very much, John. things are improving steadily, thank goodness :)

  25. Hello again Jan, here’s hoping your husband is on the mend soon and finally things get back to normal for you both. Hope the Op goes well :-)

    I so enjoy seeing all the waders and water birds you see on your visits. Your photos are always great. Those plovers did catch my eye… but in the long shot you can see how well they are camouflaged.

    The fav for me in this selection are the Lapwings. I hadn’t realised their numbers were a worry. During the summer my daughter and I visited a new (for us) Reserve and we saw quite a few bracing the windy day that it was along the coast. I didn’t get photos seeing them only through the telescopes in the centre.

    Thanks for posting and visiting my blog. I know time must be precious at the moment. Wishing you both a good weekend, if you can :-)

  26. D-Wing

    I'm not sure whether you meant to remove your comment or whether blogger messed you about but it did appear on my email alert so thank you anyway :) I just wish the Lapwings had been a bit closer to the camera! Mind you, I wish that with most of the birds I see :)

    The Early Birder

    Thank you Frank and for your kind comments concerning my husband.
    Those waders were so difficult to find!
    I hope you and Anita are both well :)

    Shady Gardener

    Thank you very much for your kind words, I always seem to be playing catch up these days!
    Your 'Mr Shady' comment made me smile :)


    Thank you very much for your kind words and good wishes :)
    I hope you get your trip with no interference from storms!
    At least the Ruff was bigger than the other waders and was in a place where it was less difficult to focus on :)


    Thank you very much, Glo. Much appreciated :)

    Country Mouse Studio

    Thank you very much, yes it has been a difficult year altogether perhaps next year will be kinder!

  27. hi jan,
    good to see you back to your best, wonderful array of photos, and verse to match,

    best of health to your hubby,

  28. Hi Jan.
    I wish you both well for the future.
    The Lapwing is one of my favourite birds. I can recall one of our school teachers mentioning the Peewits while we were at the Youth Hostel at Borth.. and that was a long time ago..alas!
    Lovely text and photographs as usual.

  29. shirl

    Hi again Shirl :) Thank you for your kind words, things are progressing steadily.
    Oh my goodness, those waders were so difficult to distinguish among the rocks and pebbles! Even more difficult to focus on with the camera of course :)
    I like Lapwings and hope their numbers will increase again in time, it amazes me how some birds eventually adapt to changing habitat.
    Have a lovely weekend and best wishes to you and the family :)


    Hi Denis :) Thank you very much for your kind comments and good wishes :)

    Hello Trevor :) Thank you, I'm sure when I was a child Lapwings were nearly always referred to as Peewits, in fact I think it was a while before I realised a Peewit and a Lapwing were both names for the same bird!

  30. Dear Jan,
    Always a delight to see your birds. I do enjoy them all but the Lapwing took my heart tonight. I have read about your Lapwings so it was a treat to see one..They are gorgeous birds. I know what you mean about never being close enough!.
    I love coming to your journal. I feel so comfortable here. Sending your hubby many blessings. It can be a worrisome time when our loved ones are ill.
    My husband loves coming to your blog too. He loves seeing all your birds and butterflies...
    Hugs and Happy October,

  31. Wonderful series of birds and photos! Excellent work.

    Have a lovely day.

  32. nice selection of pics SS!!

  33. Hello Jan, every time I visit your blog and look at your pictures... and read your words…I feel I could have almost been on the walk with you.

    Love Lou and Poppy x

  34. Hi Jan,

    I must say these are just superb shots, You have captured so much on your visit and the amazing Waders that visit Draycote. I am pleased your Husband is now on the mend and home with you Jan.
    Thank you for sharing your day with us.

  35. Q

    Dear Sherry, Thank you so much for your lovely comments and your very kind words concerning my husband, thank you too to your husband, I am very flattered that he also enjoys visiting :)
    I love to see the Lapwings too, such striking looking birds!
    Sending hugs to you and your husband and wishing you both a very nice October :)


    Thank you very much, Claudia. I wish you a very Happy October :)


    Thanks very much, Pete :)


    Hi Lou, Thanks very much, that is a very nice compliment :) Lots of love and XXXX to you and Poppy.


    Thank you very much for your kind words, John. It was a thrill to see the waders which, living so far inland, are very unusual to me :)

  36. So glad to hear that Hubby is recovering. It is never as quickly as we would like. I will keep both of you in my thoughts and prayers as he goes through another procedure in hospital.

    I loved the photo of the turquoise blue water behind the Black-headed Gull. It would make a striking painting (as was your photo). Likewise, the photo of the Ruff on the rocks was lovely. But, oh my! It took me a while to find the Ringed Plover amongst the rocks!

    Enjoy the October party--I know I am loving it.

  37. Wonderful series of photos, incredible bird photos, I love seagulls and miss them when they aren't around too.

  38. Morning Glories in Round Rock

    Dear Jenny thank you so much for your very kind words :)
    The algae does give a very interesting colour to parts of the water. There are signs which warn of it being a skin irritant but thankfully it doesn't seem to affect the birds. It really was very difficult to spot the smaller waders among all those rocks and even more difficult to focus the camera on them :)

    Country Mouse Studio

    Thank you very much for your comment which I think you probably intended to put on my newer post :)
    I too enjoy seeing the gulls and they are always entertaining to watch whether showing off in the air or squabbling over food!


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