For the last week and a half, my local patch of College Reservoir has plaid host to a smart little visitor from America…namely that of a Pectoral Sandpiper. Although perhaps the commonest of the rare North American waders to reach the UK (there have been well over 100 records since August), it is nonetheless a really attractive little bird, and a welcome lifer for myself.
I have spent a bit of time photographing this amazingly tame bird, although it was particularly comical to initially see it running around the legs of feral Canada Geese (they really are pretty small!). The light has been lovely in the evening over the last couple of days, and so I have managed to get some pleasing images.
On their breeding grounds in the northern reaches of America, Alaska and north-eastern Russia, displaying males produce an amazing ‘booming’ sound which it produces by expanding and contracting an inflatable throat patch. It is a very peculiar sound for a wader which spends the rest of the year uttering short flight calls more typical of Calidrid species. Check out some recordings here
The typical wintering grounds of the species comprise a broad band of lowland habitats in South America, stretching from northern Brazil to Tierra del Fuego
A selection of images…