No sign of the possible Marsh Sandpiper this morning at Amble Marshes, yesterdays brief sighting in extremely poor weather was a disappointment , with that sort of limited news you are always ‘dammed if you do and dammed if don’t’ put out something. My feelings are that it was a Marsh! though in the few seconds that I had the bird in view plus the poor visibility there was no way that I could ever prove it, after all, it could only be a tiny rakish juvenile Greenshank or more likely a juvenile Marsh Sandpiper, I have never seen a Greenshank that small before!
Other birds this morning included 2 Ruff, 15 Greenshank, 8 Green Sandpiper, 1 Lapwing, 29 Snipe, 13 Little Egret, 3 Gadwall and 41 Teal.
Whatever the bird was, you did exactly the right thing, ie you published photos and put it out as a possible. People were then able to make up their own minds as to whether they wanted to travel to look for the bird or not. Hopefully it will return or be relocated.
Thanks Dave, it's a shame the bird could not be relocated, but we did try our best today.
Andy, It’s a good point you make, Thanks, as it would be a first for the county we have been out all day checking all parts of the estuary with no sign of the Sandpiper, good numbers of other birds including 100+ Mediterranean Gull and Ringed Plover plus a Whinchat, 22 Sandwich Tern and 2 Common Tern (see Derek’s Camel Website for full count)
(Photo of Sandwich & Common Tern Padstow)
Yes Adrian your bird shown in the water is a Greenshank! As you say there are differing sizes, plus differing bill shapes, some juveniles especially show very straight bills, though I think the main point to bear in mind in this case is, that with the growing popularity of bird photography and the trend of multiple image accumulation then selection, it would not take long to select misleading images that would suggest a completely different species, deliberately or unintentionally. Multiple images taken of birds in differing modes and activities such as a ‘Falcon hawking in a strong updraft’ compared with images in pursuit mode, Shearwaters in ‘calm weather and in feeding mode’, compared to 'travelling mode in heavy weather’ all potential pitfalls. My two images of the possible Marsh were the only shots I managed that morning given time and weather conditions but you can see the problems faced by a rarities committee if they ever had to assess that sort of evidence. I am definitely not a county lister; I’m just as interested in seeking out the variations shown in common birds that are not yet in the handbooks, the most pleasure derived from finding unusual birds for me is sharing (or attempting to)the experience with others.I was desperately trying to pick up on the Marsh sand again this evening but to no avail. However I did do some shots of the greenshank in good light and the size differences are quite something.
If you look at my photo the smaller bird at the front ie. closer to the camera is a greenshank as well as the larger ones behind, (at least I think so!).
What I couldn't see was the leg length as it stayed in the water.
Also had 5 redshank, 5 ruff & at least 8 Green Sands , A juv. Kingfisher & a buzzard tonight in at Walmsley.
The inevitable local extinctions of Cornish Greys by introduced Red-legged has been somewhat masked by the continued release of unknown numbers of artificially reared Greys, as far as I’m aware all the concerted attempts at reintroduction have meet with little success, in part because Red-legged have proved to be more adaptable to modern farming practice, plus the inability to distinguish the two when shooting. I do know that there is a problem at the moment with shooters observing a reluctance in Red-legged to fly high enough for them to be shot, it stands to reason that if a bird refuses to fly it is much more likely to survive the winter and breed, therefore passing on its genes to the next generation, you only have to look at the town of Wadebridge many pairs of these semi tame Partridges now breed in gardens and can even be found roosting in the high street. I have a suspicion that in an effort to tackle this trend small numbers of Greys are being introduced with the Red-legged releasing programmes, in an attempt at inducing a phenomenon known as hybrid vigour?
Walmsley sanctuary this morning on the high tide, birds included;
5 ruff, 1 juv ringed plover, 1 juv little ringed plover (standing side by side for comparison which was nice), 19 greenshank, 2 black tailed godwit, 1 lapwing, 2 snipe, 2 green sandpiper, teal, little grebe, lettle egret, grey heron, buzzard, sedge warbler, cormorant.
Water level looking good Adrian.