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Mon 12th September 2011

Posted on September 12, 2011 at 5:35 PM

My only birding plan for today was to head out at lunchtime to try and see the Tawny Pipit found yesterday at L'Eree. However, since the weather was again terrible, I agreed to swap lunch duties with a workmate so I was stuck in school for the whole day. At the end bell, the rain had been stopped a while and I saw on Birdguides that there was a flock of 6 Buff-breasted Sandpipers on Scilly. I thought that there just had to be one here on the island.

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So after packing up I set off home in the car and decided I had enough time to go find a Buff-breasted Sand, and I would definitely find it on the golf course at L'Ancresse which has had records before. Of course I always think like this, and I am sure most birders are like me and spend plenty of time predicting what they are about to find.

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The golf course is only 2 or 3 minutes off my route home, and so I pulled into the car park at Les Ammareurs and looked across the closest fairway to see what appeared to be a pale bird running around on the grass. I put my bins on it and could see it was definitely a wader, and the colouration appeared quite. . . well, buff! No it couldn't be surely? I scrambled out and retrieved my scope from the boot, rested on the car, and focussed it to reveal - a superb BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER!

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I grabbed all my gear, and jogging past some rather confused golfers, I managed to get pretty close. I only had about 5 minutes to get some snaps as I had to be home by 4 to take Abigail to her club. I tried digiscoping but was failing terribly in the now quite windy conditions. So I dropped to the floor and crawled commando-style towards it with the Lumix - I don't think my work trousers were very impressed with this, nor were the golfers who pinged their drives over my head as I lay on the ground in front of them. In the end I managed a few pleasing shots before I had to rush away and grapevine the news.

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Buff-breasted Sandpiper - L'Ancresse Golf Course, 12 Sep 2011

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I really couldn't believe that I just went to look for one and found one within 10 seconds. This is the first Buff-breast that I have found myself, and as usual with this species, it was a real cracker.

Categories: Self-found Rarities, 2011 Autumn