Saturday, 9 November 2013

Semi-p Plover

En route back I called in at Hayling Island, Hampshire.  The Semi-palmated Plover failed to materialise with the Ringed Plovers at Black Point as the tide came in.  I headed along the coastline hoping to meet with some suitable habitat that might hold waders.  There was almost nowhere suitable.  Continuing westward along the shoreline I came toward a group of birders near groyne 25.  I casually asked one who was just leaving, 'any sign of the bird?'.  'Yes' he said!  Unbelievable!  I had assumed it was nowhere to be found and that I had dipped...  I rushed to join the gathering and was soon enjoying fantastic views of this rare bird.  Such small size, dainty, with a very short bill, and white protruding above the gape line.  Quite reminiscent of a smaller version of Lesser Sand Plover!  I didn't actually hear it call which would have been good.  Some have expressed the view that they're going to be regular in years to come now people know what to look for.  But people have been looking for years, they just weren't there.  If they do start being found more frequently then it will be because of changes in the source population rather than observer ID skills I reckon. 
Just as I left the skies turned grey and the heavens opened.  The whole roosting flock took wing at this point and I don't think it was seen for the rest of the day, so I was very lucky to just manage to see it, and for a resonable length of time and close enough to see the detail too!  Later on BBC news it was reported that a tornado passed through Hayling Island; this must have happened just after I'd left.

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