Semipalmated Sandpiper, Apparently

Just when I thought Chew Valley couldn’t get any better, a snippet from Bristol Ornithological Club‘s newsletter alerted me that a little stint there has been re-identified as this North American peep. A little stint that was present from November 10 to 20. A quick check of my records and, yes, the stint that I found at the sharp-tailed sandpiper twitch was on the 19th. Not a stint then but semipalmated sandpiper.

Blimey! Add the two long-billed dowitchers and the long-staying spotted sandpiper (which I didn’t see that day) and… it was really rather splendid. And… yes, I am counting the semipalm. At the distance I had no chance of separating it from a stint anyway, even had I known to do so.

That’s 288 for my British list and of course another for Somerset and a short-eared owl at Steart six days ago made that 173. It was almost the only bird I saw there. The weather forecast for Portishead had been dry but further down the M5 a succession of black showers rolled in and curtailed the birding after half an hour. No matter: the owl was hunting as I stepped out of the car and continued to show well.

I hadn’t expected it, the rationale behind the trip being storm-blown seabirds. They had never been on: the tide at Bridgwater Bay goes out a looong way and it was low tide. Still, it was good to check out another top county birding site. It’s only taken me two years to get round to it…

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