Sunday, 2 October 2011

Solitary Sandpiper at Nateby, Lancashire

October 2, 2011:
A Solitary Sandpiper arrived in agricultural fields near Nateby this morning. A very rare vagrant to western Europe which appears to be only the 37th confirmed record for the British Isles and the first for Lancashire and north-west England. It is also the first record in Britain since 2007 (although by coincidence another one was reported in Jersey today).

The bird could only be safely viewed at long range (c.300 metres) from a slight rise in the ground as it fed in a shallow scrape. Clay pigeon shooters not too far away appeared not to bother it. A large number of people had already arrived to see it within 2 hours of the sighting being put out on the internet. A few photos taken in steady rain, poor light, and at great distance give an indication of the locality the bird was favouring which can just be discerned as it reflects in the water.

Solitary Sandpipers nest in trees in the low arctic/boreal region of Alaska and northern Canada and winter in southern USA and South America. Like many others rare waders arriving in Britain recently they will have been blown off course whilst migrating south during last month's American hurricane.

[The Solitary Sandpiper twitch]

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