Sunday, July 21, 2013

White-rumped Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper (2nd from left in foreground) with Dunlin
Getting one out of two target birds can't be anything to grumble about. My first was a 2 1/2 hour vigil at Ham Wall RSPB for Little Bittern. My second attempt for this bird produced a nice view of a reed bed, and that's about it. I arrived at 07:40 am (2 1/2 hour drive) to find out that the bird was seen at 07:35 am. Both male and female had been showing since about 05:00am. This was my last attempt for this year. Food flights (parents feeding young) were just about over as the young are fully grown. I will just have to wait until next year. Birds of interest here included: Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cetti's Warbler and Marsh Harrier.

Next was a 1 1/2 hour drive south to Lodmoor RSPB in Dorset to connect with a very cool long distant migrant. White-rumped Sandpiper breed on the Canadian and Alaskan tundra and winter in southern South America. Though they head through central North America during spring migration, there southbound journey is normally taken down the east coast, but some individuals, like the one here, go a little off course; much to the delight of British birders.

This is my first British White-rumped Sandpiper, my lifer being seen in Texas in 2005. Thanks to the RBA, Birdguides and the two young birders who noticed this individual mixed in with a group of Dunlin

My final stop (as I was so close) was Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre and Portland Bill Lighthouse. Here I did a little sea-watch but the light was really bad and decided to head on home. Species seen were Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Northern Gannet, Guillemot, Cormorant and Kestrel. 

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