Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Pymoor, Cambridgeshire

The village of Pymoor is on the Ouse washes, on the the opposite side of the New Bedford River and Hundred Foot Washes to the RSPB reserve at Purles Bridge, and it's a really impressive place for birds. On the southern outskirts of the village I found a flock of 300 whooper swans feeding in an arable field, while just to the north I came across a spectacular flock of well over 1000 golden plover with about 500 lapwing. These were the birds I had come to see.

It was blowing a gale, with periods of heavy rain which made searching through the flock difficult, not just because it was almost impossible to keep my scope steady, with rain on the lens a constant problem, but also because the birds were hunkered down and not moving for long periods. I even resorted to using a small corrugated iron hut on the edge of the  field as a improvised hide to shelter from the wind, but it was too low down being little more than 3' tall, meaning that I had to kneel down inside it so that all I could see of some birds was the tops of their heads.

However the flock did occasionally fly up, and wheeling around they would sometimes fly over the river and look as if they were leaving, before returning again and settling on their favoured field, where they would run around for a while feeding. After one of these flights they landed near to the road, allowing me to use the car as a hide, and although viewing was still difficult, with the added problem that the light now beginning to fade, it was at least a little easier. Eventually I hit the jackpot and found what I was looking for, a grey looking plover with a dark cap, distinct pale supercillium, and slightly longer legs than the others. An American golden plover, present for about it's third day. A tremendous experience, I love days like today, perhaps not the greatest views of an individual bird but a great spectacle of the flock and far from spoiling the experience, the elements made it even more memorable!

Year: 268 (American Golden Plover)

Juvenile American Golden Plover. I'd like to say that this is the bird I saw at Pymoor, but it's not. This bird was found and photgraphed by Mattius Ullman at Donana, Spain, in 2007. I was fortunate enough to arrive on the scene just minutes after he had found it and he kindly pointed it out to me.

Golden plover.

Whooper swans.

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