Friday, 9 September 2011

I love waders me!

I just love waders me. Following droolingly-close passage waders (esp stunning Curlew Sands, which seem to have had a bumper season - lemming year anyone?) in Norfolk during the week, I today had chance to check out a bird I'd only seen in Australia previously.

Shot up to Greatham Creek mid-afternoon loaded on Haribo Gold Bears. and was soon watching a cracking adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, despite nearly having a heart attack when the departing Tim and Ollie told me it had flown off towards Saltholme! The chest pains continued for a while, but I think it was an overdose of gummy bears. The Sharpy was a really smart bird, often hanging out with the Dunlin flock, but sometimes doing it's own thing. Size, shape and behaviour like a Pec Sand, quite stealthily picking it's way around the muddy edges of the pool. Heard to call, very different from the Bee-eater-esque Pec, with a plaintive, though pleasant 'peep'.

General impression was of a rufous pec with a well marked head pattern, consisting of a distinct midbrown-rufous cap streaked with black, set off by a bright white super, which was buffy on the lores and where it ran onto the heavily black-streaked nape. Throat off white, before a complicated set of breast streaks over an orangey buff background. Buff breast quite demarcated but black barring and streaks extended on to white lower breast and down the flanks in apparently typical chevrons. Upperparts striped like a Snipe on the mantle, only really noticeable when the bird facing away. Upper scaps and tertials, black with orange edges and lower scape more worn, greyish with pale buff edges. Short primary projection. Yellow legs and short downcurved dark beak. Pale eyering less obvious an clear-cut than I would have expected. However, Adelaide summed it concisely, "a scraggy sparrow".

Check out some shaky videos here This was due to the wind, not the Haribo bears.

Kinda makes up for not being anywhere near the Little Bittern that turned up at Titchwell today, found by none other than the legend Kev Durose - nice work Kevin!

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