Sunday, 25 October 2015

White-rumped Sandpiper - Farlington Marshes, Hampshire

It was a fairly typical late October ringing session at Titchfield Haven this morning with just under 40 birds ringed. The bulk of the birds were Goldcrests but we also caught a few Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and surprisingly several new Cetti's Warblers. I headed straight home after the session, but was soon back on the road and heading to Farlington Marshes as Pete Gammage had found a White-rumped Sandpiper. It was not a new bird for me, but I have not seen one for a while, and as it was just 15 minutes drive I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity of seeing another.

When I arrived the bird was settled in the grass along the stream and that is where it sat for about 10 minutes or so. It started to become a bit more active, stretched and then took flight heading high and south. We feared it was wasn't going to stop, but suddenly dropped down in the direction of The Deeps. We headed steadily around in the hope of getting some more views but our interest was temporarily diverted by a Short-eared Owl that was sat in full view in the middle marsh.

Short-eared Owl - Farlington Marshes

We eventually arrived at The Deeps, but the White-rumped was nowhere to be seen. The Deeps can be a difficult place to work as there are so many creeks and banks that are just not visible, so you can image how pleased we were when the bird suddenly dropped onto a spit in the middle of The Deeps. The bird was quite distant, and there was a fair bit of heat haze so the shots below are nothing more than record shots, but hopefully you get the idea.

White-rumped Sandpiper - The Deeps, Farlington Marshes
White-rumped Sandpiper - The Deeps, Farlington Marshes
White-rumped Sandpiper - The Deeps, Farlington Marshes

This was the 19th record of the species in Hampshire; birds were recorded almost annually during the 1980's but in recent years the average is every 5 - 6 years. This was the sixth record for the species at Farlington Marshes, which is not surprising given the importance of the site for wading birds.

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