A present from America (Sandpipers on the Severn)

The original plan for this weekend was to go on the WOS trip to East Devon. However with the forecast for Sunday looking grim I decided to try to fit something in today. With the family plans sorted I headed for Slimbridge where there was a walk onto the Dumbles planned to look for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper. At midday a group of around fifty people headed out from the Holden Tower towards the river. On the way out Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Wheatear were seen and on reaching the bank we started scanning, initially with no luck. A number of Ringed Plover and Dunlin were found but no Sandpiper. After moving on a couple of times somebody picked up a wader feeding in the Spartina grass, no more than a hundred yards away.  As more of us found the bird it was called as the Buff-breasted, then another birder called a Pec Sand and we then realised that there were actually two birds feeding close together. A real bonus. Even better they were moving in our direction until eventually they were no more than thirty feet away from us, totally unconcerned by the mass of optics and cameras pointed at them. After a magical three-quarters of an hour or so I decided to head back to the main reserve. A great life tick and a great bonus bird. I then headed for the Zeiss hide to check out the waders there. It didn’t take long to find the third American wader of the day, still hanging out with the Godwit flock was the long staying Long-billed Dowitcher that I first saw in July. Also seen were several Ruff and Redshank but I had no luck in finding the Spotted Redshank that has been here this week. So a great trip with three new birds for the year taking me over the two hundred species mark. A long way off of the four hundred and twelve seen in whole of the UK but very good for me.

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