Viking Optical News

Wader Passage at Levenhall Links Nature Reserve

Our perception of the seasons is subjective. It may sound odd to talk of autumn when in August, surely that’s summer?

Black-tailed Godwits
Black-tailed Godwit

Not if you’re a wader breeding in the arctic! Many adults whose breeding attempts have failed will start to make the long and arduous return journey to their wintering grounds in the height of our summer.

Dunlin
Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper

When juvenile wading birds start to appear on our shores and at our wetlands we really are seeing the onset of autumn for these birds. The fairly brief abundance of daylight and food gives way quickly at these Northern latitudes allowing the birds a limited window of opportunity to establish a territory, find a mate, and raise young.

Juvenile Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank
Curlew
Juvenile Ruff
Grey Plover

Even more remarkable are the distances involved putting the UK in a vital position as a ‘motorway services’ for millions of waders who need to rest and refuel on their annual return journeys.

Bar-tailed Godwits
Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit

A favourite spot is Levenhall Links nature reserve run by the East Lothian Council Ranger Service.

Redshanks
Green Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

This small area of purpose-built lagoons near Musselburgh, just to the East of Edinburgh, has proved very productive for roosting waders and passage migrants including many scarce and rare species.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Temminck’s Stints

All of the accompanying photographs were taken from the hides at Levenhall over the past few years.