A superb morning's birding.
First of all, Draycote's latest star attraction - a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper - did the decent thing and hung around long enough for me to see it. Despite having been there since Monday, it showed no signs of being in any hurry to move on, and was there to greet me at 7.15am (my earliest start in quite a while). I watched this smart little American bird on my own for quite a while before moving on as the number of birders, and the inevitable photographers, started to grow.
Up at Tofts Shallows there was little to add apart from a solitary Common Sandpiper, so I headed off to Hensborough Bank, my other 'best guess' for a good place for autumn waders. On my way round I found plenty of Yellow Wagtails, a juvenile Shelduck that crossed low over the water, good views of a pair of Meadow Pipits, a Green Woodpecker, hundreds of low-skimming House Martins, a Yellow-legged Gull, and plenty of other diversions. But the wader count looked set to disappoint as Hensborough turned up nothing but a pair of Lapwing.
However, I set the scope up near Rainbow Corner for a final scan, and instantly locked on to a distant godwit - bar-tailed as I worked out through closer examination. So I set myself down on the wall, and waited as it worked its way towards me along the waters edge. Great views of a super wader, and one (I later learned from my records) that I have never seen before in Warwickshire.
With a lifer and a county tick already under my belt, I headed off to Brandon to see whether yesterday's Osprey had hung around. It hadn't, which served me right for trying to push my luck.
Bird of the day: Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos), a scarce passage migrant from America or Siberia. To be honest, I enjoyed finding and watching the 'barwit' more, but the Pec's rarity wins the day and secures it my coveted 'bird of the day' award! I've linked my poor picture (it was early and quite dark) to a better set of photos taken by proper bird photographer Steve Valentine so you can see what it looked like. The larger barwit photo is all my own work though, as are all the others (I particularly liked the three Snipes posing on an otherwise quiet morning at Brandon).