Well it was one year and one day since the last mega yank Wader was found in the Cuckmere, roll on that time and its happened all over again.
After a fruitless morning around Seaford Head and then dipping the Newhaven Barred/Garden Warbler, I was keen to hit the Cuckmere this evening as I hadn't visited since late last week. I had in mind finding a Cattle Egret as there has been a notable influx in the last few days, so it was fair to say the next few moments took me by surprise.
Scanning along the river I could see a small group of Dunlin, and happily mixed in with them was what I presumed was a Little Stint, however there were features that didn't tick the box, and my mind quickly reverted to this being a Semipalmated Sandpiper. I got pretty close to the bird and could see no obvious V in the mantle, and the bill appeared very thick set. I knew I had to capture the inner webs (or palmations) between the toes to clinch the identification, however the mud was distorting this feature as well as the fast nature as to which this species goes about its business. Tim Squire rocked up behind me with his better camera and over a series of photos, between us we captured the all important features, and bingo...…...I had found a Semipalmated Sandpiper
(the 5th record for Sussex if accepted). My last BBRC find was way back in 2012 (Great Reed Warbler on Shetland) and so this has been a long time coming with plenty of miles walked in between.
Now all I had to do was tweet the news, WhatsApp the news and phone those who aren't quite up to date, and whilst I was doing this, the Semi-P took flight with the Dunlin and flew strongly south. It did later reappear but very briefly and up until dusk there was no further sign. Fingers crossed it's still present in the morning.
juv. Semipalmated Sandpiper at
Hopefully not another six years
before my next BB find.