Finally got round to nipping up to the Fylde to see the Solitary Sandpiper just outside of Nateby near Garstang with Duncan Rothwell this morning.
Been a few years since I've seen a Solitary in the UK, and it is one hell of a Lancs tick after all, so it would have been plain rude to ignore such a good bird so close to home.
Having negotiated the rush hour Penwortham bottleneck, pummelling squalls and a strengthening westerly, we got to the farm at about 10am, but there was no one around, so we walked down to the scrape and got onto the sandpiper fairly quickly.
It was feeding away on the muddy edges, close to the tree line, and seemed quite happy.
The sandpiper was spooked by a Sparrowhawk at 10.35am and flew off high to the north, calling and showing off its nice dark bottom and dusky underwings, but returned to the scrape a few minutes later, none the worse for the panic.
Nice crisp juv bird, with huge primary projection and big white flying goggles - very distinctive.
More Wood Sand than Green Sand in colour, with clear barring under the tail and on the flanks, which you should be able to make out from this blurry blow up.
Bill shape is different to Green Sand to me as well, and that nice spangly back even stood out when the heavens opened and all manner of nasty wet stuff came raining down from above....although the sandpiper didn't seem phased by the cloudbursts.
We left it just after 11am, as more birders began to arrive, and after paying our £4 viewing fee (life was stirring in the farmhouse by now), headed back to Southport, under Fylde skies full of Rooks, playing on the wings of the hooley.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...