A week ago, I was convinced that I would by writing Uttoxeter Quarry's spring birding obituary by now. All the rain has left it full to the brim. But thinking it wouldn't attract any spring passage waders, the last few days have been to the contrary. Not sure if I'm pleasantly surprised or slightly amazed.
Last Wednesday had a large passage of Arctic Terns and Little Gulls across the midlands. By the time I got down after work there were no sign of either, but there were 2 Bar-tailed Godwits feeding in a field! One of them in almost full summer plumage. A repeat visit after work on Friday revealed the "bi-bi-bi-bi-bip" call of a Whimbrel passing through. It's always a good day when you hear a Whimbrel! And in between, Stevie Fair Isle Turner had a Sanderling, so this wader action has cheered up me no end, it's not a lost cause.
Before checking again yesterday, the first idea was to check an area of farmland in Cheadle, next to the JCB factory, which was good for Whinchat last year. En route are the pools next to Blake Hall Fishery, which had a Brent Goose a couple of years ago. As daft as it sounds, I thought, with the conditions I'd better check if some poor unsuspecting wader had found itself here. Well there was one!
Back to Uttoxeter Quarry. More usual wader fayre was on offer this time, such as 4 Common Sandpipers, a Ringed Plover and a summer-plumaged Dunlin. But continuing the run on Wheatears, 22 of them was a site record count for me. And I thought that was good, until I heard about the numbers on Berry Hill, which was heading towards 90.
And Blithfield is all I've done today. With the weather being so foul, at least it's easy to view from a hide or scan the deep end from the car. The only real change was the increased number of terns. 16 was the highest count from the Beech Tree Point hide towards the causeway. Taking the time to scrutinise them, I think there was quite an even split between Arctic (9) and Common (7) Terns. The Green-winged Teal was still in Tad Bay too.