Sunday, 6 January 2019

White-rumped Sandpiper

A belated record of the White-rumped Sandpiper present at Pulborough Brooks for a few days during December. I saw it, it would have been a life tick, but unfortunately I can't count it. Sad but I only count new birds if I see them well enough and am confident to make the identification myself.

I watched it for a couple of hours but it was a long way off. It looked good and there were people in the hide with better skills than me and who had probably had better views than me, who were able to make the identification. I am sure they were right but for me with no view of the white rump and no clear view of the supercillium there was just not enough to call it.

I use a camera as it gives me the ability to double check when I get home or to seek advice from the experts but in this case it was just too far away.

White-rumped Sandpiper at about 22X magnification (500mm +1.4ext +1.6 camera crop)

The bird was well camouflaged in the long grass and did not move from the spot in the time I watched. With overcast sky and dull lighting it was also difficult to get a sharp image on the camera either using autofocus or manual focus. Perhaps Canon could bring back the old style split screen manual focus?

Heavy crop from the picture above

A heavy crop of the picture and you can see the bird. Some of the features look good but on balance it's not enough.

I have missed a few good birds in the past because I could not make the call. Sea watching is probably the best example. I am improving but all I could see when I first started was a lot of distant black dots. Very frustrating when the experts around me were confidently identifying a list of birds that I desperately wanted to see. Over time I have gradually managed to tick most of them off but there are still a few missing.

Not happy that I missed the life tick. Perhaps I should have gone to the twitch on the first day when the bird was a bit closer........

Still, not to worry, there will be another one along soon!

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