When it comes to Curlew Sandpiper ID so at Cresswell this afternoon it was close scrutiny of the Dunlin flock. First find the bird with a clean white belly and non of that nasty black feather that would be moulting away on the confusion species Dunlin. Slightly bigger if you can get them to stand together, legs longer and clear view of joint, beak longer and curvier and finally if it flies a white rump. Bingo... and oh yes, the Scots bloke to my left gave excellent directions.
Curlew Sand bottom right alongside Dunlin and in the midst of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Ruff, Mallard, Teal and a couple of Knot to boot. Later in the day when a Peregrine had managed to disperse the majority of the assembled throng, four Black tailed Godwits flew in. I cheated because I saw the white wing bars but still checked for straight beak in two colours and longer legs than Bar tailed.
They bathed, preened, fed a little then wandered around looking a bit uncertain. Then they all gathered and seemed to look at each other. I looked away momentarily and when I turned back they were gone. According to the sightings board the Bittern had showed for 3/4 of an hour from 8.30 and the Scots bloke told me 2 Peregrine and 3 Marsh Harrier where all present at the same time. That must have been an interesting few moments if not slightly petrifying for the feeding flocks.
I was just commenting to BMo at Prestwick Carr last night that there are some water birds like Merganser, Scoter and Little Grebe that you hardly ever see them out of the water. So lo and behold two young LG put on a show along with 8 Snipe that came a little closer allowing a slightly better image.