Sunday, 17 July 2011
Back to birding with a spot of `twitching` yesterday.
This Spotted Sandpiper has been present at Rutland Water for the past few days, but with work commitments I have been unable to visit. Rain scuppered my plans for working yesterday and so with the bird being reported early in the morning I decided to brave the weather and get this `lifer`!
After a rather long walk, in what can only be described as torrential rain, I arrived at the hide that the bird had been seen from. I entered and was kindly put on to the bird by a young lad who was watching it through his scope, I was rather less than enamoured with the view as the bird was at least 500m away! (This bird is the size of a Starling, so is rather small). However, I duly `ticked` and settled in to wait to see if the bird came any closer. The hide gradually filled, the rain got heavier and the bird stayed where it was. Eventually, it flew, but no-one saw where to, so I decided to watch the family of Ospreys that were putting on a little show, obviously annoyed at all these birders paying them no heed. Half an hour went by, the conversation in the hide started to become slightly negative to say the least and I was about to leave, happy in adding 1 more tick in my book, when on a last scan of the area I noticed the Spotted Sandpiper standing approximately 40-50 metres in front of the hide giving fantastic views! After informing everyone I watched and Digiscoped this bird for approximately 20 minutes while it fed quite happily infront of the now happier crowd. It put on a fantastic show, showing its spots off to the full and then flew to the far bank where it remained.
This little wader breeds in North America and is a fairly regular vagrant to Britain with annual records, indeed a pair attempted to breed in Scotland in 1975, but this was unsuccessful. It is related to `our` Common Sandpiper and out of its spotted finery in the winter it is very difficult to tell them apart. Luckily, this bird was all spotty and very obviously a Spotted Sandpiper.