Thursday, 4 August 2016

Least expected...

So, this week was a family break. Time away from our humdrum home life looking after my wife's grandmother. A time to relax, chill and spend some quality time with Jane and Jacob. Thankfully we had exactly that with a few days kicking about in Dartmouth, South Devon. That was until yesterday when I checked Birdguides on my phone and found the words 'Least Sandpiper still showing very well at Black Hole Marsh (BHM), Seaton'. Black Hole Marsh is about 12 miles from where I live and although the pressure was off to some degree (I've seen many in Canada and only two weeks ago I saw four Least Sandpipers in Churchill, Manitoba but far too distant for photos unfortunately). Nevertheless I've only seen one Least Sand in the UK before, so I was keen to connect with this one.

A tense 24 hours later and we were heading back home when I broke the news that I'd like to divert to Seaton en route. To my surprise they agreed to drop me at BHM and head off to explore the new Jurassic Centre in Seaton, leaving me to get my fill of this tiny little wader, and a gem of an adult it is too. It was feeding quite happily about 15 ft away on the other side of the slatted boardwalk leading out to the site's Island Hide. Brilliant views were had but difficult to photograph and film without getting a green cast from the algae covered wood filling most of the viewfinder. That said I'm pleased with the results.

Least Sandpiper, Adult showing the yellowish legs,
short primary projection, nice supercilium and dark-
centered mantle and scaps that age it  : R. Harris
Least Sandpiper - rarely get views this
good in Canada! R. Harris
Least Sandpiper: R. Harris
Least Sandpiper: R. Harris
Dave Helliar saw it the day before and got some great photos of the Least and the long-staying Wood Sandpiper too.

Least Sandpiper: D. Helliar
Least Sandpiper: D. Helliar
Least Sandpiper: D. Helliar
Wood Sandpiper: D. Helliar
Apologies for the video too which was hand held and taken through the slats of the boardwalk (had to colour correct in editing as best I could to loose the greenish hue from the algae covered wood):

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