During our time on the Isles of Scilly, the two Nottinghamshire residents that I was with had a little calidris niggle at the back of their minds. Whilst we were leaving Penzance last Saturday news filtered through that a Little Stint at Lound had been re-identified as something a little spicier - an adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER. Would it linger until we got back to the mainland? Probably not knowing our luck!
adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at Lound, Nottinghamshire.
Photo blatantly thieved from Stevie Dunn.
I eventually hobbled on site during mid-afternoon to find both Mikipedia and Nottsferatu already on site at the Chainbridge Lane viewpoint. Within seconds I was watching my first ever adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (259) in Britain, all my previous sightings being fresh autumn juveniles. The bird showed well if not a little distantly during our visit. Before we left a Black-tailed Godwit flew in followed by a Dunlin as a useful comparison species. It was great to see plenty of Northern Lapwings at this impressive site too. On the other side of the lane I eventually found a group of 20 Red-crested Pochard amongst a few Common Pochard and Tufted Ducks.
BAIRDS SANDPIPER fact file
- This species was named in honour of the impressively named Spencer Fullerton Baird (1823 to 1887) who was for many years the Secretary of the famous Smithsonian Institution in the States.
- Research shows that in the Autumn adults take a narrow migration route through the Great Plains of the USA whilst juveniles take a much broader front and are much more likely to appear on both the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts. This explains why sightings of adult birds in Europe are much rarer than those of juveniles.
- It is suspected that some birds cover over 4,000 miles non-stop during migration.
- Once young birds develop mantle feathers that are capable of repelling rain and snow their parents abandon them and start their southward migration. Without the competition for food from the adults they mature more rapidly and around a month later they begin their migration too.