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August 16, 2023

Pectoral Sandpiper at Dorney Common

Dorney Common again produced an excellent wader in the form of the seventh Pectoral Sandpiper for the county. August 14th was rather a dull day with showers coming from the South-west. Dorney Common regular Dave Cleal found the bird on the flooded muddy area in the north-east of the common and managed to get the two photos below before the bird flew off. It flew with many other birds and may have been spooked by a Hobby which flew overhead. It is likely that the bird flew into Berkshire which is immediately over the stream on the east side of the common. 

The bird was also found independently at about the same time by Berkshire birder Chris Heard, although he was viewing from a different place to Dave.

Pectoral Sandpiper wading amongst gulls
Photo by Dave Cleal
Pectoral Sandpiper
Photo by Dave Cleal

This is only the seventh record of this species in the county. The previous records are given below. Rather amazing that there are now three records of Pectoral Sandpipers at Dorney Common.

2014 Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve (formerly Manor Farm), 10th-11th August, 1 on 10th and 11th Aug.

2012 Dorney Common, 18th-23rd September, A juvenile on 18th and 23rdSep.

1998 Little Marlow GP, 18th-23rd October, A juvenile from 18th until23rd Oct.

1995 Willen Lakes, 13th September, 1 for about 30 minutes on 13th Sep.

1989 Linford GPs, 1st September, 1 on 1st Sep.

1988 Dorney Common, 28th September to 9th October, 1 intermittently between 28th Sep and 9th Oct. It spent much of its stay at nearby Slough STW (Berks).

One of the reasons for this and other waders to turn up at Dorney Common is the fact that the stream that runs along the east side of the common gets choked with plant growth and the stream overflows onto the common. This can leave an extensive area flooded which is often churned up by cattle. It attracts good numbers of ducks, geese and some waders.

Flooded ground at Dorney Common showing the churned up areas creating the attractive habitat for wildfowl and waders
Photo by Dave Cleal
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