I have spotted a sandpiper

July 31th started with normal activities for the saturday, like shopping. When coming out of the grocery store however, things changed. Dutch Bird Alerts informed it’s members of a Spotted Sandpiper that was apparently seen at Rilland, Zeeland.

The record was without photo’s but with very short, but good, description published on www.waarneming.nl. Now this was something. Spotted Sandpiper had previously been recorded in the Netherlands twice: one was trapped in a mistnet on Vlieland and another was seen by a few observers only. None had been twitchable and both had been many years ago.

On returning home from shopping the first news came in and people that were checking the record were not so sure about the identification as Hollands third Spotted Sandpiper; is was most probably a Common Sandpiper with some smudge on it’s underparts. I calmed down and went upstairs to do some working on the computer. It was just starting up when a Dutch Bird Alert came in which just said: ‘it’s closer now, identification confirmed’.

I packed my gear in no time, said goodbye to my wife and left the house and after I had picked up Marc Guyt and André van der Plas we left for Rilland. After an uneventful trip we arrived at the spot and my 449 bird was added to my Dutch list.

The bird was rather distant, but through the telescoop neat black dots on the underparts, the orange bill with a black tip and fine supercilium were perfectly visible. Taking any photographs was not possible.

The Spotted Sandpiper stayed all day and also the next, permitting one of the top listers to drive all the way from his camping in southern France to see it.

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