Monday 6 February 2012

Spotty youth

I could claim it's superior fieldcraft, but I've also had a fair bit of luck in getting close to Spotted Sandpipers over the last few years. First there was a bird on the Exe Estuary in October 2010 which, after much patience, came within a few metres. Then, at the end of last year, the Lyme Regis bird popped up on the sea wall during a flying visit. And this morning, after being initially elusive, the first winter bird in Christchurch Harbour - possibly the Lyme bird relocating - allowed a reasonably close approach. Perhaps it was payback for the long-staying Cornish bird in October 2006. I was on Scilly when Matt Jones told me that this bird got too close for him to photograph. On my return, I went straight to the Hayle Estuary in biblical rainfall, and got more soaked in 10 minutes of looking for the Sandpiper (which wasn't there) than at any other time in my life. Anyway, here are this morning's efforts:

Spotted Sandpiper - in Common Sandpiper, the wingbar extends further onto the inner wing
Spotted shows plain tertial fringes (notched on Common)

The legs are yellower, and the bill is more pink with more of a 'droop', than Common Sandpiper

Spots can just about be seen coming through on the underside to the rear

Another view of the wing bar and shorter tail (compared to Common)

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