Limnodromus scolopaceus – Gïach Gylfin-hir Vagrant
At c.13:30 on 1st January 2013, I noticed a dowitcher feeding on one of the islands in the freshwater lagoon near the Gann Estuary in Dale, Pembrokeshire. This wader was generally snipe-like in size, shape and feeding behaviour, but was strikingly grey with a strong white supercillium extending from the base of the long straight bill to behind the eye. My first instinct was to take a record photo of the bird and then to phone David Astins, who was also birding in the area at the time. I noted the following features while waiting for David Astins to arrive:
Bill: long and straight (snipe-like), mostly black but becoming greenish towards the base.
Head: generally grey, but with a slightly darker crown, a dark eyestripe and a broad white supercillium extending from the base of the bill to behind the eye.
Upperparts: generally grey, with darker streaking on the mantle and no warmth in the plumage. The scapulars and tertials were generally a clean grey with darker centres and pale whitish fringes.
Underparts: breast grey, belly white, barring on the flanks and undertail coverts.
By the time that David Astins arrived, I was comfortable that the bird was a Long-billed Dowitcher, but had not seen the bird fly nor heard it call. David stayed with the bird after I had left and noted that when the bird flew it gave a distinctive single sharp trill, which it uttered on several occasions.
Photo (c) Richard Crossen
The bird was last observed on the 13th April, by which time it had been seen by many observers,