Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima)

"There is something moving in amongst the rocks and seaweed; there it is, look; what is it? It is so well hidden."

One of the real reasons we get involved in nature watching is because there is always the chance of something new, something unusual, something special. Maybe it's the old hunter/gatherer thing and when I am out for a walk I am always hunting out that something extra, especially if there is going to be chance of a photo.

So it was one cold December day. We were walking along Studland Beach towards Poole. It was low tide and at the point where the line of the beach turns toward the harbour there is a long line of rocks stretching out to sea and I just caught a glimpse of something moving and after a little 'chase' there they were, five Purple Sandpipers.

Not a common bird by any means but they are regular visitors to Dorset shores in winter and I have seen small parties in amongst the rocks right down on point of Portland Bill.

In summer these birds nest on the hillsides in the Arctic tundra of Iceland and northern Scandinavia but most winters a dozen or so end up here on our coast; keep an eye open for them on our rocky coastal places.

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