Sunday, August 07, 2005

Jack Snipe - a new county record!

Well, I hadn't been down my old haunt of Prior's Fen for ages, so Liz and I took a wander to see if there was any decent wader habo and whether it would be worth me putting in some time here.

Whilst boring Liz with stories of all the goodies I had found at the site over the years, I was also bemoaning its recent demise as a top wader site (although still pulling in goodies as last autumn Red-backed Shrike proves), when I spotted a handful of sandpipers in a muddy corner. Scope up and bingo! Wood Sand with four Green Sands.

We repositioned ourselves and got a better view of the whole pit and waders kept leaping out in front of us. Next up a couple of Greenshank. Then a Dunlin and then Liz picked out a gorgeous summer-plumage Spotted Redshank! Fantastic.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a wader drop down on the edge of the next pit. We moved round to can the edge but nothing. Hmmm. I suspected it was a snipe so decided to take a stroll along the edge to see if it was hiding in the reed-fringe. Nope. Well where did it go. I walked the edge just to make sure when up from my feet popped a Jack Snipe! It flew around for a while before dropping down in to some nearby reeds. Crikey, that's early I thought. And sure enough, Mark Hawkes was able to confirm that its the earliest ever Cambs record beating the previous early date of 19 Aug 1961 (The Birds of Cambridgeshire: Checklist 2000).

On the way out we added Redshank and Common Sand to our wader tally. So, all in all, I think I might just pop in again the near future!

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