Sep 22, 2010

Pectoral Sandpiper in Kirkwall!!

Looking on Orkbird on Sunday I saw a heads up from Tim Dean advising that the peedie sea had a new sluice system and the water level had dropped 40 cm exposing some nice rich mud for feeding waders. Sure enough by Tuesday a sharp eyed Morris Rendell had reported that a Pectoral sandpiper was feeding on the mud below The coop. The Pectoral Sandpiper is a smart and reasonably rare visitor of the wading variety that’s stopping over on its migration. It was even better news that it didn’t seem at all phased by folks walking past on the path. It looked like it was to be there all day giving excellent views. This morning it was reported again still in the same place. So all this seemed to be leading towards a shopping trip to town. Unfortunately it was a day of rain and it was to pour and pour. I arrived on site about the back of four and the bird was still actively feeding. I managed a small watch with the binoculars to check things out, alone amongst a small group of Redshanks to one side and Ringed plovers to the other a very crisp looking Pectoral Sandpiper sieved and probed in the soft mud seldom staying still, often spinning through 360 deg with out removing its bill from the mud. Enjoyable as it was to see such a site within the bounds of Kirkwall it was pouring with rain. I ended snapping a series of ultimately blurry photos before I beat a retreat to enjoy a damp retail experience. This is a beautiful wader and well worth a look. There is a fair chance that it may be there the morn although I suspect it will catch the strengthening northerly winds that are forecast to rise soon. Fingers crossed though it will show, the weather is on side at the moment. With so much rain about most of the usual mud flats are now under water so the fresh feeding to be found on the peedie see must seem an oasis for a bird so needing to get its energy store replenished for the journey ahead.

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