The Three Bird Theory
On Saturday 15th September Mark Hipkin and I arrived on Skokholm as part of a Work party, both veterans and determined to spend every possible hour building Heligoland Traps and if humanly possible find a few odd minutes to look for birds. Before we started we bumped into a Melodious Warbler in the bracken behind the accommodation area, which seemed a good start, even when we noticed the ring. The next day, we came across the first Pectoral Sandpiper of the week, at the north-west corner of North Pond. This was a very rufous, slim and small individual which for now is Pec 1. This individual can be seen in the first three photos below. This bird had apparently been present from 20th August, the first photo was taken around the 8th September and the second and third during the first days of our stay, it was last seen on 17th.
|Pec 1 photo: Charlie Sergeant|
|Pec 1 photo Mark Hipkin|
Later on the 16th, it was joined by a second bird, which is Pec 2. This was a clearly larger and paler bird but both we considered to be juveniles. The size difference is explained by the fact that males can be significantly larger than females, so what we have here is a large male and a small female.
|Pecs 1&2 photo: Mark Hipkin|
|Pec 2 photo: Mark Hipkin|
The second bird (Pec 2) was last seen on North Pond on 17th but was relocated on Winter Pond the next day, the 18th, or so we thought! A closer look at all the photos suggested that although the individual on Winter Pond was similar to Pec 2, there were differences in size and plumage, which appeared consistent even taking into account differences in light conditions etc. So here is Pec 3:
|Pec 3 photo: Mark Hipkin|
This third bird was last seen on 22nd September, the day we left, exhausted after a strenuous week.
And there you have it: the three bird theory.
Pectoral Sandpiper records in Pembs since 2000
Sprinkle Pill 30th September 2001 (PM)
Skomer September 19th 2003 (DH )
Bosherston 25th - 28th August 2005 (SHL et al)
Llangloffan Fen adult 6th - 7th June (RD AR) Dale Airfield juv 10th September 2009 (PKG)
Castlemartin 4th September (PH) 2010
Skokholm 2 on 13th - 14th May 2011 (JGi)
Skokholm juv 20th August -17th September 2012 (SJS et al) another juv there 16th - 17th September (MH MYP et al) and a third 18th - 22nd September (MH MYP et al)