Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

I managed to get away from work a little bit earlier today, hoping that the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper would still be up at Greatham Creek. After a nervous couple of hours during the late afternoon I found out the bird was still showing so decided to risk the evening rush hour traffic and head north up the A19.

I arrived at site about 18:00hrs and stayed until it was dusk and had some really nice views of the adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper as it was feeding. At a quick glance the bird appeared similar to a Pectoral Sandpiper, had a distinctive white supercillium with a dark cap. The Sharp-tail was a similar size to the 4 Dunlin that I could see but the Sharp-tail appeared to have longer legs with a slightly thinner, more elegant body with short, slightly decurved bill and greenish legs.

I managed a brilliant photo of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on my phone (see below):

A very enjoyable 'twitch'. There has been around 30 records of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in the UK, with two recent records (2007 and 2010) from the Spurn Area, East Yorkshire. I'd not had a chance to go for either of these due to work commitments so am please to have finally caught up with this one!

I'd like to thank IanF for letting me use his images of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper below (These images are © IanF 2010): Visit the Teesmouth Bird Club for further images, sightings and information on birding in this area.

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