Holmethorpe Sand Pits ... Tuesday 13th September 2011

On Sunday, Tom Cahalane discovered a small wader at Water Colour Lagoon 1 at Holmethorpe Sand Pits.

Water Colour Lagoon 1 may stir up visions of crystal clear blue water, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and gently swaying palm trees but nothing could be further from the truth. On one side there is a view of the Water Colour housing development and, on the other side, the view of a landfill site. It does attract the occasional decent wader though.

This wader turned out to be a Dunlin, nice to see but a annual visitor that has already turned up at Holmethorpe on a few occasions this year.

So what is so special about this particular bird? Well, how often can you watch a wader from ten feet away?

This bird is right by a fairly busy path that divides Water Colour Lagoon 1 from Lagoon 2. A path used by almost every dog-walker and jogger in the area. This little wader ignores every yapping dog and panting jogger that passes.

First found on Sunday, the bird is still present today (Tuesday) in exactly the same spot that it was first seen. It is feeding well, finding plenty of worms near the water’s edge and appears to be in good health. I cannot remember seeing such a confiding wader at the pits before.

Ageing the bird has presented a few problems, but it does seem to show faintly the whitish V-markings on the mantle and messy streaking on the breast and upper flanks of a juvenile, whilst there are grey feathers in the mantle and wings that suggests a juvenile moulting into first-winter plumage.

Below are a few of photos that have been taken of the Dunlin since Sunday.





  1. Predictably, I went up over to Water Colour at 6pm and dipped!

  2. It is still there this morning (Weds), Neil, but when it is asleep it is very hard to spot amongst the stones despite being so close.

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