A visit to Long Eaton Gravel Pits Complex, Derbyshire, on Saturday morning 16th May, proved to be somewhat of an anticlimax. We visited the site in the hope of seeing a Temminck’s Stint, a very rare passage wader in Derbyshire. May is the prime time for these birds to arrive at inland sites, as they journey back to their northern breeding grounds. Their presence often coincides with the arrival of Sanderling, another wader that is scarce inland. We are more familiar with them in their white winter plumage, running along the beach, chasing the tide line.
A Temminck’s Stint had been discovered at the Long Eaton Gravel Pit Complex on Friday (15th) evening and was watched by a number of local birders. As we were walking to the site, two birders were walking away and confirmed that the stint was still on view. As we scanned the area, to our surprise, no sign of any small wader, which was rather odd, as we were only a couple of minutes away from the site after the departing birders had seen it. After around 20-25 minutes of scanning, I suddenly picked up on a small wader that had appeared from behind a large gravel mound. Through binoculars it looked small and so I called Richard to get on this bird with his scope, as it could be the Temminck’s Stint. This species was very quickly ruled out due to the fact that this wader had black legs and was very rufous around the face, with a very broad white wing bar in flight. This bird was a summer plumaged Sanderling.
Temminck’s Stint have yellowish-green legs, are small and have a creeping habit rather than an active one, are long in the body and grey-brown in colour, with scattered black centred feathers on the mantle and wing in summer plumage. So, it seemed that the Temminck’s Stint had disappointingly departed overnight, only to be replaced by a Sanderling, nevertheless, a nice find. A typical “catch-me-out” wader for the unwary birder. We left the gravel pits and headed off to Willington to finish our mornings birding.
Sanderling – Long Eaton Gravel Pits, Derbyshire – Tony Davison© – Early morning Saturday 16th May 2015.
Little Ringed Plover – Derbyshire – Tony Davison©
Common Tern – Derbyshire – Tony Davison© – Note black tip to bill, looking slightly de-curved; translucent inner primaries and broad smudgy dark bar on under-wing.