There are days when everything seems to come together; the weather, the tides and the time of day. When all three are just right birding in the saltpans during the winter months can be wonderful, and this weekend was one of those occasions. High tide coming an hour or so before sunset and the weather sunny with only a slight breeze.
High tide can be a great time for birders, as during this period most waders congregate in sheltered open sites to rest. In northern Europe waders will roost as close as possible to their feeding grounds to reduce the amount of energy exerted moving between areas, here in southern Europe where the climate is milder and food abundant it seems they will travel a little bit further to find the right spot. Wherever they are though research indicates that this period of resting is essential for maintaining their health, and they will roost for hours if undisturbed. So I was delighted that this reasonably large flock were not at all phased by us observing them nor by the locals and tourists out for their promenade on Saturday.
I think there were at least a thousand waders and probably more. MrB informs me they were mostly Ringed Plovers and Dunlins, but he did spy some Kentish Plovers too. And as you will have spotted a few Black Headed Gulls had also joined them. There is increased safety roosting in large numbers.
There didn’t seem as many on Sunday but this is probably because they had spread themselves across two paths and two saltpans. I couldn’t therefore get as close on Sunday, I managed to get a few shots though thanks to my wonderful zoom.