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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Semi-P at Fahamore

Juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper with Sanderling and Dunlin, Fahamore, 6th September 2016 (M.O'Clery).

This Semi-P proved problematic, and it took a lot of time and effort to clinch the identification. Bright sunlight, walkers, dogs running amok, and a jittery flock of waders thanks to Kestrel and Sparrowhawk haunting the area all made for difficult and frustrating viewing conditions. On top of that, the bird showed what initially appeared to be some anomalous features, such as an apparent faint breast band, overall slightly warmish tones rather than cold grey, and longish legs and bill.

Juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper with turnstone, Fahamore, 6th September 2016 (M.O'Clery).

Thankfully, despite the difficult circumstances, enough information was to be found on the photos to be confident that those features were within the range of Semipalmated Sandpiper, and excluded the even rarer possibilities. Like the adult at the Inny Estuary in early August (see post HERE), this bird seems to be longer-billed than most.

Juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper, Fahamore, 6th September 2016 (M.O'Clery) (click on the images for a closer view).

The first record of this species for Fahamore, though this small beach has held some good birds in the past, including Long-billed Dowitcher, Black Brant, Bonaparte's Gull (twice) and Sabine's Gull.

(With thanks to Eric Dempsey and Killian Mullarney for useful comments).