Monday, 5 December 2011

Western Sandpiper

A Semipalmated Sandpiper was reported from Cley Marshes in north Norfolk on Monday of last week and I toyed with the idea of going to see it, as Norfolk is not too far and it would have been a lifer. On Thursday this bird had been re-identified as a Western Sandpiper, an extremely rare vagrant to our shores in the U.K., a MEGA if you will. A couple of conversations with my friend Chris Orders later and we had decided to `go for` this bird on Saturday morning, work delaying us both until then.

Chris picked me up at about 6.45am as we planned to get to Cley by 8.15am. The journey was uneventful and we made good time, pulling up at the car park of this reserve at 8.10am. To our surprise there were very few cars parked and so we began to think the worst, the bird had flown away in the night, but no, a member of staff appeared and informed us the bird was present and showing well. We quickly walked to the hide and entered the hush where we were very kindly put on to the bird which was quite distant, but quite easily picked out. At this time there were only 9 people present, ourselves included and so we enjoyed good scope views of this lovely little bird. The hide slowly began to fill and so we left, letting others have the views we had just enjoyed. On returning to the car park, it was a lot more full than when we arrived and more cars were arriving, we obviously chose the right time to get there!

A much easier `twitch` than we both had imagined and a lifer for us both. Below are a couple of `extreme` record shots of the bird as it never really got very close, but in my minds eye I have some very good `photos`!

Thank you to Chris for driving.



I apologise for these photos as they are not what I would normally post, but the bird was something special and so I had to have some sort of record, even one as bad as this!

The Western Sandpiper is a very small north American wader, the size of a House Sparrow and this is only the 6th time that this species has been recorded on mainland Britain, the rarest of the American stints in Europe.

Whilst we were in Norfolk we also visited a couple of other sites, which will be in future posts.

16 comments:

  1. That was pretty special John, well done.

    ("These Twitchers are all completely bonkers you know.") {:))

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  2. It's always lovely to see a new bird John but that was something special... thanks for sharing your images.

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  3. Congratulations on a mega John. Makes me want to visit Cley again.

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  4. HI John...congrat's on the lifer with the WS...
    No matter how the photo's look it what you captured that...and that is proof for you records!!
    They click up real good I could see them well!!
    Like your Lapwing photo's from previous post too!!
    Grace

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  5. Nice one John, it's always nice to see a lifer and Cley is a great place to look for it, I'm tempted to come up from Kent and do some winter birding up there at the same time.

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  6. Hi Roy,
    Yes,a special bird! I know, completely mad! ;)
    J

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  7. Hi Andrew,
    Thank you, I just wish the bird would have come a bit closer for a half-decent photo!
    J

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  8. Hi Mike,
    Thank you. Cley is well worth a visit at any time, plus you can visit the whole of the north Norfolk coast, a special place for birds!
    J

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  9. Hi Grace,
    Thank you for that and thanks for the kind words about my humble Lapwing photos.
    J

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  10. Hi Alan,
    I would give in to temptation if I were you!
    J

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  11. Congratulations on seeing it John.
    A fantastic tick.

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  12. Hi John excellent bird to see .

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  13. Fantastic Tick,great place to Birdwatch.
    John.

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  14. Thanks Keith,
    Birds like this make it all worth while! ;)
    J

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  15. Hi John,
    It was great to see it and you`re right, Cley is a great place!
    J

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