Wood Sandpiper – Testwood Lakes, Hampshire

A juvenile Wood Sandpiper was reported at Testwood Lakes which is only 15 minutes from leaving home to sitting in the hide.

During the extremely hot summer I hadn’t noticed the hides at Titchfield Haven being hot in fact the opposite if anything, it always felt good to get out of the sun. Entering the Sand Martin hide at Testwood Lakes, however, was like stepping into a sauna. The upper level was slightly cooler but I needed to head to the lower level which has a window for wheelchair access which allows me to set up my telescope in a comfortable position for sketching.

Fairly soon I picked out the sandpiper at the far end of the scrape. It fed actively, without appearing to draw breath, which made sketching tricky. The obvious supercilium and capped appearance stood out together with the lovely variegated spangled back. In flight the legs extended beyond the tail and the rump was white and squared shaped.

Wood Sandpiper is one of the most widespread bird species in the world but it is scarce in the south of England with only a handful of records in the autumn and even fewer in the spring. This juvenile was on its way south from the breeding grounds (possibly even northern Scotland) to winter in sub Saharan Africa.

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