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Rare Bird Sighted at Radley Lakes



White-rumped sandpiper (5 November 2005)

© Stephen Burch 2005


[Posted 28/10/2005]

white-rumped sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) has been found at the Radley Lakes. This is an American bird, which occasionally strays across the Atlantic. It resembles a Dunlin, but slightly smaller, with prominent white eye-stripe, white rump and slightly down-curved bill.

This fantastic bird, a first for Oxfordshire, was found in the late afternoon of Thursday 27 October 2005 by visting Berkshire birder, Paul Cropper. Although 99% sure of the ID, he obviously wanted a second opinion before spreading the news. Unfortunately he didn’t  have any phone numbers for Oxfordshirel birders and it took some time to make contact with someone in the locality. The message that eventually got through to OOSRC member Nic Hallam at 17.30 sounded very unconvincing: ”a report of a possible White-rumped sandpiper with three Dunlin”. Nevertheless Nic made his way down to the lakes as darkness began to fall and found Paul Cropper in a highly excitable state, but also somewhat distressed that the Sandpiper had vanished! However Paul did have some digital images of the bird to show to Nic. Despite the poor quality, they looked very convincing. Then, peering into the gathering gloom, Nic noticed that the three Dunlin had now been joined by another small wader. However, it was, by then, as good as dark and it was impossible to make out any features on the bird. Ian Lewington and Justin Taylor then turned up but were unable to get any better views. The group nevertheless alerted the community, by all possible means, of the presence of a White-rumped sandpiper at Radley and the news was also broadcast to the RBA pagers. However noone was particularly happy that further observation was impossible in darkness.

Luckily the bird was still present the following day, in the company of the three Dunlin on lake H at SU 523 972. By 8.30am on 28th October, the bird was being watched by at least 20 people with more arriving throughout the day.

Congratulations to Paul on a brilliant find, and a long awaited addition to the county bird list.

[With acknowledgements to David Guyoncourt, Nic Hallam and John Hillsdon for story details.]

[Posted 05/11/2005]


The bird is still there, along with its three dunlin friends. Click here for more pictures taken today by Stephen Burch.


[Posted 04/12/2005]


The bird has not been sighted for several weeks.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/rare-bird-sighted-at-radley-lakes/