Monday, 17 August 2015

White-rumped Sandpiper, Oare Marshes

Sunday 9th August

We decide to take a detour from the planned destination of Dungeness and drop in at Oare Marshes first. 
Water levels look good, and a couple of scans of East Flood produces five Little Stint, several Ringed Plovers, Ruff and Curlew Sandpipers along with Avocets and high numbers of roosting Black-tailed Godwits. A pleasant surprise are a pair of Turtle Doves perched in a dead tree on the opposite side of the single track road.
Brian picks out a smallish sized wader, it's feeding in front of the reeds some distant from us and the heat haze is causing plenty of problems trying to ID it! We quickly inform other birders nearby and get a couple of locals involved. After another couple of hours there's still no positive outcome to the bird's identity.
We concede defeat and make our way to Dungeness, Having spent much longer at Oare than was intended we have little time at Dunge and the birds are thin on the ground, with only Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Stonechat seen of any note.

Saturday 15th August
The day after our visit to Oare a White-rumped Sandpiper is reported as present! Is this the bird we were struggling with in the heat haze? 
Having seen the reports we found ourselves at Oare once more. A nine hour session fails to find the White-rumped, but double figures of Little Stint are seen with at least five each of Curlew and Green Sandpipers along with the same number of Greenshank. Another scan of East Flood reveals a Wood Sandpiper and a Water rail. Good numbers of both Ringed and Little-ringed Plovers are seen plus several Yellow Wagtails. A surprise bird was the appearance of a late Swift overhead! Swallow, Sand and House Martin numbers were beginning to build. A year tick came in the form of a Whinchat, well overdue and very welcome. At high tide the Bonaparte's Gull dropped in to roost on East Flood, now without the full hood seen earlier in the year.

Wood Sandpiper

Monday 17th August
Brain made another trip to Oare on Sunday the 16th and gets lucky when he finds the White-rumped Sandpiper in the North East corner and then on his return to the car re-finds the bird right in front of him on the muddy island.
With a hospital trip booked I am unable to go and so dad and I make the trip today, arriving shortly after 6am. An initial scan fails to find the bird, but on the second scan I find a good looking candidate feeding at the far end of the long spit in front of us. It drops behind the mud bank and reappears continuing to feed.
It has to be the White-rumped Sandpiper and a short while later as another car approaches us the bird is flushed and shows the white rump as it flies across the flood, thus removing any remaining doubts we had left. With the sun up and straight into our faces the only shot I could get was the poor record shot below, but I'm not complaining I was just happy to finally get a view of it.

White-rumped Sandpiper

The bird would not be found again until almost 1pm, A very elusive bird but after 19 hours and three visits it is finally on the life list!

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