Saul Warth/Frampton?WWT

Friday 24th April 2009
Above: Saul Warth at low tide

I started off the day's birding at Fretherne/Saul Warth, not much on the high tide but a Common Sandpiper at the edge of the river was a year tick. I then made to long walk round to view the south flash from the towpath viewpoint, where a pair of Garganeys were present, plus seven Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Sand Martins, 41 Shelduck, including an apparent RuddyX, and small numbers of Teal, Shoveler, and Gadwall. Next it was on the Splatt Bridge and the walk to Green Lane. A Cuckoo was calling from the direction of Nebrow Hill, and a Lesser Whitethroat was between the canal and Green Lane. From the viewing platform, a nice male Ruff, approaching breeding plumage, was on the 100-acre, plus six Redshanks and two Little Egrets. Next, Slimbridge WWT and a nice summer-plumaged Curlew Sandpiper was on the Top New Piece (record shot below) along with a near-summer plumaged Spotted Redshank.

A walk down to Middle Point was unrewarding, but I could make out some waders distant on the sands back at Saul Warth, so I rounded off the day by returning there at low tide. Before that I checked out the Holden Tower on the way back, where five Whimbrels were on the pool in front of the tower, giving excellent views (bottom photo).
The waders I'd seen distantly from Middle Point turned out to be 19 Bar-tailed Godwits, including a few birds in stunning summer plumage (below); six Whimbrels and two Oystercatchers were also here as was the Common Sandpiper from this morning. All in all a good day's birding.

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