14th May 2017 – Spotted Sandpiper, Buttermere, Cumbria

An adult summer plumaged Spotted Sandpiper was discovered yesterday on the shores of Buttermere so this evening I made my way down into the lakes in the hope of seeing it. It had apparently been favouring the SW corner of the lake near Horse Close so I slowly worked my way along the path that runs alongside the lake scanning the shoreline as I did so. It was getting late in the evening and there were no other birders searching so I knew I didn’t have that much time to locate it before it began to get dark. As I scanned I noticed a couple with a dog on the shore in the area that the grid reference referred to – that wasn’t a good sign! After about half an hour all I’d heard and seen was one or two Common Sands but there was still no sign of the Spot Sand. Then, I raised my bins expecting to see another Common Sand and was ecstatic to clap eyes on the arse-end of the bird – get in! It was distant but I quickly grabbed a couple of awful record shots before it flew off round the corner out of sight. I looked at the back of my camera to make sure my eyes hadn’t deceived me, yep it was definitely still here!

I quickly legged it in the direction it had headed and after about 10 minutes or so I relocated it on the rocks. For the next 45 minutes I had absolutely terrific views, it even fell asleep for a while and was completely at ease with my quiet presence. With patience and fieldcraft I was able to sit just 20 feet away. I was particularly interested to see and hear it displaying to a Common Sand, something that presumably hasn’t happened in the UK very often? In short – what an experience! Stunning bird, stunning location and stunning backdrop – does it get any better?

Displaying to a Common Sand (which can be seen bottom right). What an unbelievable thing to witness in my home county…

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One Response to 14th May 2017 – Spotted Sandpiper, Buttermere, Cumbria

  1. Neil Scott says:

    Hi Darren, nice to see you back out and about, hope you are well and enjoying life my friend. The bird seems to be causing quite a stir

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