21st September – More Yanks on the Wirral

Posted: September 29, 2012 in Bird Watching, Birding, Rochdale, Rossendale, Twitching
Tags: , , , , ,

After our last trip to Hilbre Island, those masters of the sea, Leach’s Petrels seem to have been passing in their droves, but frustratingly only during the week when it was not possible to go to watch them. What with the wind changing direction I knew that Leach’s would not be on the menu. So, when a still unidentified, American sandpiper was found near to Meols on the Wirral, I thought it would be worth a trip last Friday after work. Another reason for going is that I have always wanted to take my little dog onto the beach and just let her run about and enjoy the place, but not to flush any of the 1000`s of waders and gulls that were present! Reaching a very rainy Meols I noticed lots of other birders searching for the Semi palmated / Western Sandpiper. The bird had been seen but had been flushed by a dog walker (thought I would keep off the beach for now then). Someone then said, “There is a White Rumped Sandpiper about 200 yards away though”, a bit of luck I thought. A large group of rain soaked birders all with dampened optical gear struggled at first to locate the White Rumped Sandpiper, but, eventually the bird showed very well at about 50 yards distance. Off back to the car for some shelter and a visit to the local “p stop” was very worthwhile. Upon returning to the bus shelter on the prom, scopes were trained on the Semi palmated / Western Sandpiper, my luck was in! I then spent, about 20 minutes, watching this tricky to I.D. sandpiper at about 30 yards range. For what its worth, I think that it is a longer billed than normal Semi Palmated Sandpiper, only time will tell the outcome of this one! There were masses of wading birds in the area for either of  “the peeps” to get lost in amongst and I had been lucky to have seen both species on the same day, quite a few people managed not to see either of the birds. Heading away from the action, I walked onto the beach, a little nearer towards Hillbre Island and spent a really nice time on the beach with my dog, being careful not to flush any birds, the weather by now was pleasant and even the sun was trying to dry us out. Quite a memorable afternoon/evening reaching home at about 7-15pm.

Cheers D. Ousey

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