Semipalmated Sandpiper - Calidris pusilla

On July 16th 1997 the brothers Theo and Mars Muusse discovered a small calidris sandpiper. They believed it was a summer-plumaged Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla. They saw the bird at the same spot where the bird from 1996 was seen, the Lepelaarsplassen in Flevoland. The 1996-bird was there on July 18th-19th 1996. Unfortunately, the bird disappeared and was only to be discovered exactly a week later on July 23rd by the same Muusse Brothers in the late evening. Next day (July 24th) it was seen by a single observer at noon. In the late afternoon on July 24th I was so lucky to see it together with a few other birders before it disappeared in the reeds. On Friday July 25th only three observers were lucky enough to see the bird at a distance of about 10 meters and were able to see the semipalmated feet with some effort. The last day it was seen on Saturday 26th, being very elusive.
Bird on the left; July 1997, Oostvaardersdijk, Almere, Flevoland; © Mars Muusse.
This is either the second record (if we consider this bird the same as last year and this is highly likely, considering the timing and location) or the fourth. The third record was on July 16th 1997 when another Semipalmated Sandpiper was observed and photographed till dusk by a few observers on the isle of Texel, Noord-Holland (cf Dutch Birding 19 (4): 207-208).

On August 3rd 1997 another bird was reported at Huisduinen (Noord-Holland). It was discovered by Arend Wassink, who discovered also the bird on Texel. This record was the fifth for the Netherlands and the third of the summer in 1997 (cf Dutch Birding 19 (4): 201, 202-203 and 208)!

Bird on the rigt; 3 August 1997, Huisduinen NH; © René Pop.

I was very happy to see this bird too and I finally saw the semipalmated feet! These pictures are a mile-stone for me, since from June 1987 on all my new species were documented photographically. And before June 1987 I have photographs of my second, third etc. The only rare species (considered by the Dutch Rarity Committee, CDNA) seen by myself in the Netherlands I do not have a picture of the particular individual I saw are: Baillon's Crake (though sound recorded), Great Snipe, Whiskered Tern, Tengmalm's Owl (also sound recorded) and Cetti's Warbler.
The first record of the Semipalmated Sandpiper was a (probably first-summer) bird on June 12th-13th 1989 also in Flevoland (cf Dutch Birding 13: 83-85, 1991 and Dutch Birding 18: 214-215 & 218, 1996).

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