On arrival at the reserve we quickly realised that we were not going to be alone in seeing this bird as the car park was full, with the overflow car park overflowing! We eventually managed to park and after paying, started our long walk to what is the furthest hide on the reserve from the visitor centre. We passed many binocular wearing and scope carrying birders who all assured us that the bird was still showing, so we pressed on.
We arrived at the rather full hide, which conveniently is quite a massive construction and were put onto the bird straight away by a very helpful birder. The sandpiper was hanging around with a group of Dunlin, which didn`t aid me in picking out the bird. To the uninitiated (i.e. me!) the birds looked pretty similar (see the last but one photo below), but after being shown the i.d. features by the same helpful birder I managed to get my eye in and was actually able to point the bird out when new arrivals came into the hide.
The White-rumped Sandpiper breeds in North America, is a little smaller than the Dunlin and has quite a bold white eye-stripe. The wings of the bird are also quite long, in fact they project beyond the tail. Also, it has a white rump, which is obvious in flight and helpfully the bird at Rutland showed all these features off rather well.
Another tick in the book!