Thursday, 16 August 2007

Marsh Sandpiper & Purple Emperor - Farmoor Reservoir. 5th August 2007.

Juv Marsh Sandpiper.

Female Purple Emperor.

A Juvenile Marsh Sandpiper that was found near Abingdon sewage works on the 4th was found at Farmoor reservoir the following morning along the west bank on the F2 reservoir, it flew from Farmoor reservoir and was relocated on nearby flooded fields by the Pinkhill nature reserve where it remained for most of the day.

Having never seen a Marsh Sandpiper before I was eager to catch up with it and get a glimpse of this rare wader.On arrival to Farmoor I was given directions by a group of leaving birders and headed off towards the causeway which leads towards the Pinkhill reserve, Common Tern were busy feeding over both reservoirs and a good numbers of Swallows and Martins were flying overhead.

Walking along the footpath that follows the River Thames we finally caught up with the Juvenile Marsh Sandpiper which was on the flooded fields behind the Pinkhill reserve, it was hidden behind a flock of Canada Geese and tucked down behind the long grass and weeds.After waiting for at least an hour it slowly made its way out in to the open and began to feed, it made a couple of successful probes of the mud with it's thin needle-like bill and pulled out what looked to be large worms, a number of Black-headed Gulls soon showed an interest and followed it as it continued to search for food.Viewing it was difficult as it continued to return to the grassy area which made the bird barely visible at times.

On our way back across the causeway towards the sailing club my girlfriend and I spotted a large butterfly by the wooden huts, we waited for it to settle and walked over to find a superb female Purple Emperor sunning itself of the causeway kerb, a couple of birders that we were watching the Sandpiper with had turned up and were very excited by what we had found.It soon took to the air and headed off along the causeway towards the sailing club, I was amazed at how powerful and quick in flight it was as it left us standing in the middle of the causeway.We caught up with her again as she sheltered on the ground underneath the causeway and managed to get a few photos before she took flight again and headed off towards the water treatment works.I had never seen this rare Butterfly before this year and have now seen 2 in a month.

Added To My Year & Life List.

164. Marsh Sandpiper

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