Monday, 7 November 2011

A Lifer On Patch!

I spent a lot of time out this morning, and covered a lot of areas. It started with five of us watching over Colyford Marsh soon after dawn hoping for last night's probable Rough-legged Buzzard - but nothing (and no pale Buzzards either!).

The best Lower Bruckland offered was a Chiffchaff, I walked almost all of Seaton beach which showed nothing, and when I did have a fright when a Wheatear appeared on the Tesco building site...I was immediately disappointed cuz it was just a Wheatear! So I was going to sum up my birding day with this photo...

A dead fish!

But then I had an early afternoon sweep of the Estuary....

I was scoping through the gulls which were resting north of Coronation Corner, and soon came across a nice adult Med Gull. I continued scanning up the river, and noticed a couple of small waders feeding in amongst the gull flock. I zoomed in and was immediately struck by an attenuated rear end! A look at the shape of the rest of the bird got my heart rate going - it must be a Baird's/White-rumped!!!

I ran from my car, and scoped it from the side of the Estuary just north of Coronation Corner. It was distant, but thankfully with a Dunlin. The different feeding action, shorter bill, and the whole shape of the bird prompted me to start making phone calls. This distance meant I could see very few plumage features - just that its mantle wasn't plain and it looked overall darker than the Dunlin, with some facial markings. Although I've never seen White-rumped Sand before, this is what it 'felt like' to me...

Ian Mc and Karen soon joined me, and they both agreed with my observations. It soon became much harder to view as it continued to walk even further up river, so Ian and I sped round to the Black Hole Marsh car park, where Gav met us. Many thanks to Karen for staying on the bird for us.

We promptly pegged it to the hide, and thankfully it was still there....a (we think an adult in mostly summer plumage) White-rumped Sandpiper! Although it did take a good 15 mins 'til it actually showed us its rump!

The light was 'flat' but good, and the views excellent of this stunning bird, but all my photos have turned out totally and utterly pants! This is the best I have...

It does kinda shows face pattern, mantle, streaks on upper breast and flanks, bill and body shape

I don't know why and how I have never seen this species before. I guess it's one of the birds I've just not been near, and thought never warranted twitching as I knew I'd bump into one one day. Funnily enough this autumn I was a day away from twitching the Davidstow bird, but it 'did a bunk!' I've been waiting for another 'nearish' one to appear - I was right to wait! :-)


  1. Nice one. Is your 'dead fish' a Small Spotted Catshark?

  2. Cheers Skev. I'm afraid I haven't a clue about the fishy!!!

  3. I would have said Lesser Spotted Dogfish, but I've just checked and they're actually one and the same - Scyliorhinus canicula. Something else new I've learned today!