Pulborough Brooks

With reports of 2 Garganey at Pulborough today, a species conspicuously absent from my list this year, I popped down for an hour this evening. I was also keen to see the Pectoral Sandpiper again as it was reported to be in the company of 2 Ruff today, and seeing them side-by-side would be good field knowledge. I met Ed, James, and friend at the hanger who hadn't found the Garganey, but the Pectoral Sandpiper was still around. It was on the near edge of the far pool, so not the easiest of views, and it was with the 2 Ruff as ealier reported, but it was also with a Dunlin. This made the ID challenge even more difficult, and I did struggle. If I hadn't have seen the bird on its own yesterday I'm not sure I would've managed it. The Ruffs were fairly simple to separate as they are noticeably bigger when side-by-side. However, the Dunlin looked almost identical when the pair moved quickly together along the muddy edge of the pool and in and out of view behind vegetation as they fed. I couldn't see clearly their breast markings; neither did the Dunlin's look particulaly marked nor the Pectoral Sandpiper's unmarked. What did help me separate them, though, was the tail/primary projection length, as it made the Pectoral Sandpiper look more elongated than the Dunlin, and I was soon able to pick out the Pectoral Sandpiper confidently. Other notable sightings were 2 noisey Greenshank and a similarly noisey Green Sandpiper, a Snipe, and 4 Whinchat in the area outside the front of little hanger. 



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