Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Pectoral Sandpiper

When there are lots of postings of Brown Hairstreaks  on the web it means that the butterfly season is ending and it is time to resume birding. So, today I did. Martin picked me up and we made for our trusted venue - Breech Pool on the North Wall at Pagham. It was really nice to see the pool looking as it should - a balance of mud and water - rather than the dusty desert that it had become earlier in the year. Plenty of birds too - good numbers of Lapwings and Black-tailed Godwits, several Snipe plus the usual mix of waterfowl.

Peter was in attendance and he had seen what he thought was a Little Stint but it had subsequently disappeared round the back of the pool. I managed to locate a Ruff in with a flock of Redshanks but alas no LS. Then a bird appeared on the mud at the eastern end of the pool and we were on it like a flash, neither of us considered that it was anything other than the aforementioned Little Stint. Later analysis and reports from other birders confirmed that we had been a tad hasty and that it was in fact a Pectoral Sandpiper. Seasoned birders will wonder how one can make such a mistake - well with small shorebirds I find it incredibly easy - best practice is to take as many shots as possible and perform hindsight analysis at home. Another 20 years of birding and I might get the hang of it - problem is I will need someone to push the wheelchair.

The bird was then joined by a cracking Ruff, beautiful plumage and colour, unfortunately the sun refused to shine and all my photographs lacked that much required feather detail. Still the Pec was a new one for me and it is good to be out birding again.

Another record today - at the back of the pool a colour ringed Black-tailed Godwit was roosting with a few of his companions, I try to record these birds when I find them and send off a  sighting report with an accompanying photograph. Today was no different except that I sent the report to José Alves  who rings birds on the Tagus estuary in Portugal. I received a detailed reply in 12 minutes!!

OG(flag) + OB was ringed as an adult male on 4.02.12 at Seixal Tank, Tagus Estuary, Setúbal, W Portugal and there have been 12 subsequent sightings in Holland, Belgium. Portugal and the UK.

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