Saturday 21st August. Alkborough Flats, Lincolnshire, 9:00 - 13:15.
Semipalmated Sandpiper, that's another one I haven't seen, but probably should've done by now. I've also heard a lot of good things about Alkborough Flats, a few miles north of Sunny Scunny, for a while now. So what better excuse than to go and visit now? So off I went, along with the self-styled "Baron of Croxden Quarry" himself, Mad Malc.
The obligatory information board pic:
Alkborough Flats is a fairly recent addition to birding sites around the Humber estuary, constructed as a natural flood defence. Situated at the very end of the mighty River Trent, it's also on the opposite side of the river to the more established Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve. And here is the end of the Trent, where it and the Ouse flow into the Humber:
Around this part of the estuary were good numbers of Avocets, a couple of Little Egrets, a male Marsh Harrier and the odd sight of six Ruddy Shelducks. A hide near the car park also gives excellent views over a lagoon. Plenty of Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshank (see blog title) and a small flock of small waders. Unfortunately they only consisted of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers.
The rest of the site gives rather distant views to the remaining lagoons and marshes. While getting our bearings to the whole area, we eventually came across a group of birders who thought they were onto the Semi P, but weren't 100% sure. The bird was lost to view for a considerable amount of time. So we decided to call it a day and dip out, no-one had a confirmed sighting. This was a big mistake, as the Semi P came on the pager about an hour after leaving. But knowing how distant the views must've been, I'm not that disappointed in the end.
You never know but perhaps, just perhaps, owd Semi P could've been found quicker if all birders on site were actually looking the right way?
Don't worry, we made sure he was still alive!