Thursday, 21 August 2008

Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantipus) & Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) - Gloucestershire. 20/08/08.

Stilt Sandpiper

With the news that both Stilt Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope had been found in Gloucester I hastily arranged a trip down with Roy Rose.

We left Berkshire and headed off towards Frampton-on-Severn and the Red-necked Phalarope, I had been to Frampton the previous year to see Marbled Duck and Glossy Ibis during last years Ibis influx so knew the site pretty well. Parking up at Fretherne Bridge car park we headed off west along the canal passing LGRE on the way and on towards the viewpoint which overlooked the floods. We were told that most of the waders had been flushed from the floods by a passing walker and the Phalarope couldn't be re-found, we scanned the floods and after 10 minutes or so I found it as it appeared swimming around on the waters surface at the front of the floods. It continued to pick insects of the waters surface and was often lost to sight as it swam behind the many islands of tussock grass that spring up across the floods. A few Black-tailed Godwits were also present along with Greenshank.

We left Frampton and made our way to Coombe Hill Meadows in search of the rare Stilt Sandpiper. The Stilt Sandpiper breeds in the arctic tundra of North America and migrates to South America to winter. It is a rare vagrant to western Europe and the Coombe Hill bird is the second record in the UK this year, the first being at Rutland Water on the 27/05 which remained for just one day. This would be a lifer for me if seen.

We parked up in the small car park at Coombe Hill Meadows and made our way along a now very muddy and slippery path which led out towards the hide, good numbers of Chiffchaff could be heard calling along the bushes and thickets that encased the path and nearby stream. We navigated the pathways and made our way across the fields to view the Sandpiper from the side of the island, we soon found the Stilt Sandpiper feeding alongside a Ringed Plover on the island. 3 Wheatear and a single Whinchat were busy searching for food in the grass in front of us and often distracted our view of the Sandpiper as they hopped in to view through the scope. We watched the Stilt Sandpiper at distance as it fed along the island shoreline before a rain shower started and we retreated to the hide for shelter. From the hide both Wood Sandpiper and Little Egret were seen feeding on the scrape.

Added to My Year List.

202. Red-necked Parakeet
203. Stilt Sandpiper

Added To My Life List.

303. Stilt Sandpiper

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