Sanderling in breeding plumage, Alston Wetland - note the impression of a pale supercilium in this shot.

A SANDERLING AT ALSTON WETLAND was the highlight of my morning as well as being my most wanted this week. I had failed to catch up with four at Stocks this week and around 70 were reported from inland sites across the country yesterday so I was hoping that at least one would stop off at Alston in the heavy downpours. The arctic-breeding shorebird passage isn't quite over yet! Looking surprisingly stint-like (I was hoping that it would be a mis-identified Temminck's Stint but I was still delighted with a Sanderling!) they can be very confusing at times but this one had massive white wing bars as well as showing the diagnostic lack of a hind toe when on dry mud. At a greater distance it would have presented more of a problem. Just as rare for Alston was a superb drake Northern Pintail on the main lagoon. I wonder what it was doing here. Two Lesser Whitethroats were singing along the hedge line on Pinfold Lane, as were a couple of Common Whitethroats and also on the wetland were four LRPs and a Common Ringed Plover. The previous evening had produced a breeding plumaged Dunlin but nothing else of note and by this evening Common Ringed Plovers had increased to three but the Sanderling had moved on. Now for my next ELOC project… Hobby.

ELOC year list 138. Sanderling

Sanderling, Alston Wetland.