Long-billed Dowitcher – 1987 first for Pembrokeshire

Limnodromus scolopaceusGïach Gylfin-hir Vagrant

Although restricted as a breeding species to north-east Siberia, Alaska and north-west Canada, the Long-billed Dowitcher is an almost annual vagrant to Britain and Ireland.

A first winter bird was at the Gann from the 12th December 1987 to the 3rd January 1988.

Late in the afternoon of the 12th December 1987, approaching high tide with a light drizzle falling, Graham Rees was positioned in his car overlooking the upper Gann lagoon when an unfamiliar medium sized wader, with a Snipe like bill and a white patch on its back, flew in to alight on a muddy margin. Viewed through a window mounted telescope it was identified as a Long-billed Dowitcher and a full description was taken.

This was before mobile telephones were available and by the time the observer had returned home to use land lines to spread the word, darkness had descended. However, the bird remained in much the same place until the 3rd January 1988 and was seen by many observers. When flushed, as it was all too frequently by dog walkers, it usually called, adding further confirmation to the identification. The details were submitted to the BBRC who found it acceptable.

Graham Rees (County bird recorder 1981 to 2007)

Photo – Long-billed Dowitcher at the Gann, 2013

More about the Long-billed Dowitcher in Pembrokeshire