miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2014

Pectoral Sandpiper

To open the present post, a couple of photos of the main irrigation pond in Las Martelas, the first showing the maximum water-level typically found in the winter months. Dotted around on the surface are various Coots (Fulica atra); small numbers of Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), and other Anatidae frequently occupy this pond from late autumn onwards.

The second shot, taken from a slightly different angle, shows the same pond as it looks at the moment: virtually empty, with just a few puddles of water in the bottom. Not exactly an inspiring landscape, but then long-distance migrants are hardly concerned about the scenic beauty of their stopover sites...

Take this juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) for example, discovered foraging in the almost dried out pond this morning, Sep 10. This North American wader is the most frequent Nearctic vagrant throughout Europe, and is becoming almost "regular" on La Palma: the present individual is my seventh to date on the island.

 Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) juvenile

Close-range photography is impossible under the present conditions, but these heavily-cropped images show most of the key identification features: yellowish legs, sharp demarcation between throat streaks and white belly, slightly decurved pale-based bill, and long primary projection.

 Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) juvenile

This sighting will be forwarded to the Spanish Rarities Committee in due course.

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