Wet and windy today, and it wasn’t much better outside either. On days like this you weigh up the odds. Should I go out, perhaps get a soaking or stay in, catch up with a few things on that ever lengthening list? Obviously you go out.
Yesterday the first pits Ruddy Duck arrived, where from who knows as there is hardly a northerly breeding population, so perhaps they all push in from the west. Today there was a distant peep. I watched from the road, waiting for it to move or at least raise its bill. The rain came and it remained static so I had to go in.
The distance view had me suspecting Sanderling. The weather was typical for such things and it just seemed rather large for a Semipalmated Sandpiper and wrong for Dunlin. The wind blew and the rain rather hammered but I puddle jumped to the spot and the bird remained. I took twenty minutes to creep up on it, inching my way and taking record shots of the still sleeping blob. Once I had it in full view it awoke and started paying me a bit more attention.
For the next ten minutes I took photos, trying to get a good angle and wiping the camera lens frequently. It was only when I looked up that I realised how close I was and how small it was. Semipalmated Sandpiper then. After returning to the shelter of the woodlot and finding a Fox Sparrow for the pits year I went home, dried off and looked at the shots. The bill seemed awfully long and am I mistaken in seeing a slight kink towards the end, something that skews the ID altogether.
Off the shelf come the books, the web gets a good trawl and I check my own photo library and still come up with Semipalmated Sandpiper, but it still looks just a bit odd. Maybe the weather was making it look less like it should or maybe I’m just looking at it too hard.
On the tab at the top is a new category – for sale. If you are in the market for used binoculars (no rubbish), compact spotting scope or bridge camera, take a look.
Now for the photos. Not great because of the weather but you can see the features and I’ve included one of my stock Semipalmated Sandpiper shots – an August bird.