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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A chance encounter or exceptional fieldsman?

Tom Lowe and Dan Brown driving back from the Pentland Firth ferry discovered an UPLAND SANDPIPER last night shortly after leaving John O'Groats (Caithness). The bird was in fields 4.5 miles NNW of Wick and 1.8 miles north of Reiss east of the A99 in the second field north of Quoys of Reiss Farm and viewable from the layby at ND 331 577. This just goes to show what's out there and lurking - waiting to be found. Nearly 500 birders have driven past that particular field in the past six days and Tom and Dan are possibly the first observers that have actually stopped and looked. The fields in this vicinity are full of recently arrived European Golden Plovers and I counted 7,000 or more birds when I briefly checked them, mainly after stopping to get good views of untainted Rock Doves in this area. The Wick area is grossly underwatched and full of opportunity with a history of major finds between the town and John O'Groats.

Despite being found at 1850 hours and watched until virtually pitch dark, photographs were taken of the bird and subsequently posted (see Rare Bird Alert website). There was no sign of it this morning however with a great improvement in the weather. The latter also induced the SANDHILL CRANE to migrate south, moving from South Ronaldsay (Orkney) just after 1000 hours to Caithness, where it was still continuing ESE over Sarclet, 3 miles south of Wick, at 1054 hours. Dave Hirsthouse, now is your chance to unblock this true mega !