Blog Post: Autumn waders

Autumn has arrived and that marks the return of the wading birds that spend the summer breeding in the Arctic Tundra, Greenland and Iceland. Once the breeding season is over, and from September onwards they make their way over to our warmer climes. The mudflats of the Ribble estuary are a huge food resource, being jam packed with vast quantities of molluscs and crustaceans. Each species of bird has their own specific adaptation to this environment, with leg and bill length playing a key role. Autumn and winter can be a tricky time for wader identification and even the most proficient birder can become unstuck occasionally. Plumage variation is highly apparent at this time year. We will focus on how to identify these birds by looking at size, shape, legs and beak, before we even consider plumage. Our walk will start at the Visitor Centre and we will slowly stroll along the promenade at high tide. We will take stock of the birds we observe and provide some simple hints and tips for identification. If you have your own binoculars then ensure you bring them or you can hire some from us for £3. We will have some of our spotting scopes set up halfway at Mawson's Viewpoint, which will provide an opportunity to look much closer. The walk will last around two hours, returning to the Visitor Centre at the end where there are hot and cold drinks available to purchase for takeaway. Our guides are experts in their field and have many years experience between them. You never know what might turn up on the walk. There have been 14 spoonbills recently seen in Lytham, there has also been a little stint and two curlew sandpiper on the shoreline, our last wader walk saw two juvenile yellow wagtails on Granny's Bay which was a treat. Grey plover had been abundant a few days prior to our walk, but they unfortunately decided to be elusive on the day. This will be the first in a series of walks exploring the estuary and it's inhabitants. We are hoping to plan a number of different routes and experiences in the coming months. Pre booking is requested. To do this please follow the link to purchase tickets. We look forward to seeing you there.