Pectoral Sandpiper, Chew Valley

Third time lucky at Chew for this American wader, which I’ve only seen once in the USA and now five times over here. It’s new for the Somerset list, as was a little ringed plover, both visible from the Stratford Hide. Also on the same patch of mud were the three little stints and a dunlin for comparison.

The pec was easy to spot with its
attenuated build, clear supercilium and stint-like stripes converging down its back. A tad larger than the dunlin, the bird did eventually straighten to full height to reveal the diagnostic V-tip to its streaked breast. Buff-fringed primaries marked it as a juvenile, the views were that good.

I had three goes at the spotted sandpiper on Herriotts but couldn’t say whether the second, and naturally more distant, bird there was or was not. It looked like the nearer common sandpiper but at that range all bets were off. Dip number two to add that species to the British list: Sunday’s bird at Lydney wasn’t showing when I passed on my way down from Kidderminster.

Still, Herriotts did have water rail, grey wagtail and common gull. Not so common gull because last Thursday (on my way up!) it was new for my Slimbridge list. That must be an omission by oversight. Anyhow, it was consolation for that day’s dip on the buff-breasted sandpiper. So many American waders on our shores!

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