Monday, 28 November 2011

Sharpie AND Spotsand - Chew Valley Lake - 28th November 2011

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (left) image 'borrowed' of Mark J. Palmer
Kane was heading down to Slimbridge early this morning (05.00) to head back to work from Atherton, so I decided that I would join him on the journey south. Sharp-tailed Sandpiper has been really high up on my 'must-see' list so I was eager to twitch the stunning juvenile at Chew Valley Lake. After watching the Bewick's Swan feed at Slim, I headed down on my own and arrived onsite meeting 10 other birders who were watching a group of Dunlin on the edge of the mud at Chew. It took a while, bit I picked up a slightly different wader with a shorter bill, a browner head with reasonably distinct eye stripe bordered by pale supercillium and pale cheeks; strongly patterened back (reminiscent of a juvenile Ruff), a general chestnut tone to the whole bird and a faster running style in the shallow muddy water. This was the bird! Fantastic! What a stunning little bird and a joy to watch!
A huge bonus was that on the other side of the 'bridge' that I was watching from, there was a long-staying Spotted Sandpiper that proved to be very elusive indeed, but allowed me to get breif views of my 2nd lifer of the day, and one that has helped to slightly heal the wounds of the summer adult I missed at Brockholes!
A cracking twitch and although it was almost a 6 hour train journey home, was nice to get out on a proper twitch for once...not one of these poncy 20 minute trips onto Anglesey!

Huge thanks to Kane for transporting me around all weekend. You have saved me £60.00 on Taxi fares and Train tickets this weekend!!

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