Marsh Sandpiper

Checking out the feeding action

Had some time to pop up to Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve. After a little run around the Marsh Sandpiper was back from the Ousefleet hide screen.  I saw my first one in Britain with Tim Andrews on a little flash in Hertfordshire sometime in the early 80’s. Still a great bird to see. The Blacktoft bird  had that lovely ‘white foreface’ (no dark in the lores), tiny looking size (clearly smaller than an accompanying Ruff), but especially I was taken with its feeding action. The delicate (sometimes quite short-looking) bill often hardly seemed to enter the water it was wading in. Rather it just seemed to be picking flies off the surface. No rigorous digging and ‘rooting’ around.

I didn’t manage any decent pics. With some 15 moulting adult Spotted Redshank, up to 40 adult and 1st summer islandica Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Green Sandpiper, some gaudy coloured adult Ruff, Greenshank,  Common Sandpiper, 5 Little Egret, 2 Spoonbill, Marsh Harriers ‘everywhere’ and more, it was  a pleasant enough morning.

Justin Carr did the biz. Great photos thanks Justin:

Moulting adult Marsh Sandpiper, Blacktoft Sands, July 2011. Justin Carr

In 2 of these photos, Justin has even managed to capture the ‘flies’ a mentioned earlier, which were the reason for its delicate feeding action.

moulting adult Spotted Redshank. 14 July 2011

Adult and 1st summer Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit (with Redshank). 14 July 2011


About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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