Friday, 8 November 2013

Stringy White-rumps (3rd November)

With up to three White-rumped Sands being reported at Hayle in the past couple days, I finally had the opportunity to go twitch them on the Sunday.  I arrived with no sign of the birds but wasn't too concerned as there was a good possibility they were up the road at Copperhouse Creek.  I didn't see much in my initial scan from The Causeway other than a single Mediterranean Gull and the usual selection of wildfowl and waders.  On my walk towards Copperhouse some bloke shouted to me from his car.  I assumed he said they had been relocated at Copperhouse and sure enough as I finally approached the Creek, the heart warming words of "it's just over there" met my ears.  The assembled bunch of rather grumpy birders didn't do much to help me get on the two birds but I soon located them myself.

Unfortunately, even from my first impressions, the two birds they claimed were juv. WRSands were nothing but two Dunlin.  Having no experience of the former, I would be rather surprised if the reported yanks could truly look as much like Dunlin as these did.  I tentatively suggested this to the group of birders but all were too keen on bagging a stringy tick.  Without flight views I was still unsatisfied to call the birds either way so I stood in the pouring rain with my eye glued to the scope waiting for them to fly.  After an exhausting wait they finally flew but views were still insufficient for me to be certain so I finally dismissed them as Dunlin.

the birds claimed are the two on the right.  I'll leave you to see if you think they might be WRSands

There was a chance the real WRSs had been pushed up towards The Causeway as the tide was coming in fast so I retraced my steps back to Ryan's Field but there was no sign of any there either.  Once again, I trudged back to Copperhouse Creek and as the rain came gushing down I relocated both of them again in the fading light.  They did fly on two or three occasions but still not giving decent hind views.  They did in fact come to roost a couple dozen meters from were I was stood but even so it was neigh on impossible to pick them out thanks to the rain, strong wind and darkness so I gave up and left...


  1. I agree Samuel, even if they couldn't make out the plumage features, the bill on the 2nd from right bird in first pic is way long! Unless you mean the left? Because the bird far left in the first pic / front in 2nd pic is built like White-rumped Sandpiper, with the shorter bill, & with white behind the eye in the supercilium too. Though it doesn't appear to have such a long primary projection as I'd expect. Well done getting pics at long range. Kind regards, Dan.

  2. Cheers for the comment Dan. The short PP and bill length (equal in length to the other neighbouring Dunlin) were my greatest concerns. Still a bit baffled at the number of people who simply tick and run without making certain what they are ticking is actually the right bird!