Friday, 24 September 2010

Turf Hotel - Spot Sand take 2

One thing I’ve learnt when out birding is that a period of initial observation prepares you to make the most of a situation, if you get a second chance…..

I was taking that second chance, knowing that it might not work out and minus my scope this time, the 1.8km yomp began again! I got to the Turf knowing exactly where the Spot Sand would be and how it would behave as the tide dropped. One thing I hadn’t considered …..

the Jack Russell effect!

The hotel dogs had been ‘turfed out’ and were on the rampage - incredibly, just as I was lining up for my first shot – they completely spooked the Spotted Sandpiper which flew off downstream and out of view L !!

It was keeping company with a Common Sandpiper and whilst it was really difficult to lock onto either bird - I had a 50% chance – I got a flight shot of the main bird! The wing bar on Spot Sand (see upperwing)is much shorter than a Common Sand and tapers off well before the body. The white trailing edge to the inner secondaries is more obvious too.

Eventually after 30 mins or so, both birds flew back to the Turf area and whilst still ‘flighty’ the Spot Sand settled down (and so did I) feeding in mud close by. The first picture sshows the more 'dumpy' appearance with short a tail projection.

I was looking for the feeding ‘crab’ shot and managed an 'intact' one!

Perhaps the highlight were moments of frozen action as it wondered along the mud downstream of the lock gates, culminating in the perfect shot showing all the key identification features!

Not much else doing, I opted for a return up the M5 corridor and hopefully a good bird on the way .....