Above: Wood Sandpiper from Nels Hide - 2nd May 2010.
It has been years since I last saw a summer plumaged Long-billed Dowitcher, so decided upon a couple of hours at Marshside in the afternoon.
No joy was had with the Dowitcher, but compensation from Nels Hide in the form of a Wood Sandpiper. 2 Dunlin, 1 Ruff and a Ruddy Duck were also noted.
Whilst in Nels, I had brief views to the north of the hide of a Swift which in a rear view seemingly showed clean white underparts. A brief view of the upperparts however also revealed a white splodge on the back. No firm impression of size was noted, but in the brief view I couldn't eliminate that it wasn't on the large side, presumably due to the aberrant plumage. Although I still plumbed for aberrant Common Swift, the initial shock meant a change of underwear was required nonetheless!
Walking back up to Sandgrounders some 45 mins later I was told the aberrant Swift sp. was out over the inner fields from Sandgrounders. Indeed it was and talk that it was the size of Alpine Swift, coupled with views of the bird for a few minutes almost had me suckered in as I struggled to assess the size, to the point where I contacted Colin Bushell to say it may be worth nipping down.
Thankfully common sense prevailed very soon after and an aberrant Common Swift it was. Aside from size, closer scrutiny revealed darkish throat and the underparts showed signs of darker feathering on the belly.
Colin mentioned that a bird matching this has apparently been seen for the past two springs at Marshside!
2 Curlew Sandpiper were amongst a small number of Dunlin on Polly's Pool.