Rishton mud finally delivers

As can be seen from the image, the water level at Rishton Reservoir has been rather low for some time despite the recent rain. Not sure if this is because of another leak in the canal/reservoir bank but it went down dramatically during the spring and has remained low causing the Great Crested Grebes to leave. Even the local fishermen had given up and that's when birds started to turn up and remain on the "West Bank".
Rishton Res from a couple of weeks ago - lots of sand/mud/rocks
There has been a steady trickle of birds through - good numbers of Black-headed Gulls with the odd Mediterranean Gull in there. Oystercatchers have been regular with up to 4 as well as Common Sandpipers with up to 7. Redshank and Little Ringed Plovers have also put in appearances along with a single Black-tailed Godwit a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday, we were looking after our godson, Isaac, and I thought it we'd nip down t'res and the play area for a while. Of course the first call was the reservoir side and I immediately picked up a small wader in the far corner - it had me puzzled as it certainly wasn't any of the usual suspects. It was low down and cavorting around wagtails which were a similar size so I thought of a stint but it seemed a bit to big for that. I got a bad phonescoped image and sent it to Bill Aspin just in case I was just looking at an odd Dunlin. But it had pale legs. I put the news on the local WhatsApp group to see if anyone was around and fortunately Tony Disley was. Ten minutes later, he arrived as did the murk - the clouds had been threatening for some time! Meanwhile fortunately for me, Isaac was very happily playing up and down and jabbering away.

Tony was also a bit bemused so made his way down the muddy side of the reservoir to get a closer view - soon he phoned me - it's a Purple Sandpiper! Of course it was - the clues were there but the location and time of year as well as the perceived size were all throwing me off course.
Purple Sandpiper with freshwater mussel shell courtesy of Tony Disley
The news was disseminated and folk quickly turned up to see a first for East Lancashire and certainly something I wasn't expecting. A couple of Green Sandpipers came into the same bay for a while.

It was still present this-morning along with four Ringed Plover, two Dunlin, 95 Lapwings, a Black-tailed Godwit, two Oycs and a Common Sandpiper. A veritable feast of waders!

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