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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Least and Stilt Sandpipers

12th September:
Having seen the news of there being two rare sandpipers at Lodmoor I hastily made arrangements to go for them. Leaving home at dawn, the hope was that there would be some positive news by the time we arrived on site and sure enough there was. For me, seeing the Stilt Sand was the priority having already seen 2 (3!) Least Sands on patch in Seaton so we headed for this bird first. We connected pretty quickly and although the bird was distant it gave decent scope views for long periods of time. We heard from other birders that the Least Sand was showing again on the opposite side of the reserve so we headed around and connected with that too where there was also a Great White Egret.

After some lunch and a few work emails we headed back to try and get some better pics; the birds were distant and the heat haze (or rain) was often severe so this was a good challenge. Still, persistence paid off. Some decent views came after a helicopter flushed almost every bird on the reserve and I then relocated the Stilt Sand on the East side (it headed back to the West side later). Also late in the afternoon the Least Sand came a bit closer and a few of us managed to see it through the bushes briefly as it was moving along a scrape. This bird was often hidden behind banks and proved quite elusive at times, rather unlike one of our two patch birds last year which showed fantastically well for hours on end (see the current blog header).

I put '3' in brackets earlier as I didn't know I'd seen 3 Least Sands on patch until a pic from Phil A emerged online today showing that the possible Little Stint we had recently actually had yellow legs and they don't look muddy or dirty. My pics weren't good enough to tell but his on the other hand... it was clearly not a Little Stint! No one was totally convinced it was a Little Stint when viewing it on the 7th and with the Lodmoor Least Sand turning up soon after... well, it all seems to fit quite nicely (it doesn't seem to fit other stints or Western Sand anyway). Well done to Phil for sorting through his pics; it shows how important photos are in scenarios like these as our 2nd Least Sand in 2016 wouldn't have been correctly identified without some of the pics either.

Stilt Sandpiper at Lodmoor

Stilt Sandpiper at Lodmoor

Stilt Sandpiper at Lodmoor

Stilt Sandpiper at Lodmoor

Stilt Sandpiper at Lodmoor

Least Sandpiper at Lodmoor

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