Marsh Sandpiper Twitch – 30/viii/14

Yesterday, my Dad and I headed over the border to Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucetsershire with the goal of seeing the MARSH SANDPIPER that had been found there on Thursday afternoon.

Arriving at Splatt Bridge at 12, we headed up the towpath to the small crowd who were watching the bird in a flooded field to the west. Panning across through the other waders I picked up the bird sleeping on its own. It promptly woke up and began feeding actively on the flash. The small size and elegant structure of the bird were striking, as was the dark cap and dark smudge behind the eye, giving the impression of a pale forehead. The feathers of the mantle and wings were neatly fringed pale, confirming that this bird is a juvenile. Here is a montage of record shots of the bird (there are better elsewhere online):

Marsh Sandpiper

There were also nine Greenshank present, allowing plenty of opportunity for comparison. The bill was noticeably thinner and straighter, and the bird was closer in size to the juvenile Reeve that were present. There were fourteen Ruff present in total, with most birds being female. Here is a shot of the bird (far right) with two Greenshank (bottom left) and a female Ruff (top left):

Marsh Sandpiper

Other species noted included a female/immature Merlin (only my second ever) which flew low over the flash, flushing all the birds present, and then quickly disappeared over the sea wall. Two Kestrels and a Buzzard were also in the vicinity. A Wheatear was also in the field, and several Teal where on the water. An adult Common Tern flew behind us along the canal, stopping to dive a couple of times on its way. We headed home pleased that our visit was successful.

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