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The second picture seems to show a shorter beak, dark eye stripe and dark on the crown. However, the first picture seems to show a more pale face, like a Curlew! They are definitely the same bird?
My Flickr photos...
I'm almost certain it's the same bird. I tracked it through the lens as it flew towards and past me and in to land. I got a total of 6 shots and there is only 13 seconds between the first and last. There is a 10 sec gap between the last in-flight shot and the first landed shot but I did not move the lens from where I tracked it to before shooting a burst of 3 shots. The first photo is very heavily cropped. I posted the other 2 because they show some of the characteristics in flight and also to give an idea of size and distance. It is actually further away and therefore smaller in the cropped shot than in the other 2. I didn't adjust the exposure settings between shots and the background and light is different in each of the shots which explains the apparent differences in the photographs. I have zoomed the first photo to the point of pixelation and at that size it does show a distinct dark eye stripe and what could be a dark patch on the top of the crown.
I should have said in the observation that as it flew towards me I would have assumed from the colour and size that it was an immature gull (there were lots about) if it hadn't been for the flight which struck me as being different. I tried to pick it up through binoculars after getting the photographs but failed even though I did not see it fly off. I couldn't see from the screen view on my camera what it was and still thought it was probably a gull so didn't spend as much time searching for it as I would have if I thought it was a curlew or whimbrel. If it had been a curlew I think I would have picked it up in the bins although there is a chance that it flew off when I was checking the screen.
I've just checked the exif details for the photos and I did in fact adjust the exposure by -1/3 for the final (at rest) shot. This and the different background probably explains why the head markings do not show as well on that photo.
Since getting the id here I have posted the photos to 2 Flickr (not the account shown below) groups under the heading "Curlew or Whimbrel" I have had a response in both groups indicating Whimbrel with no suggestions of Curlew. One of the comments was "Pale inner primaries suggest whimbrel".
I should add that Whimbrel sightings have been reported regularly in this area recently on the Glamorgan birds website so it would not be an unusual sighting. I still think Whimbrel is more likely.
I don't think that they do! Curlew has larger pale notches on the inner primaries and so they appear paler than on Whimbrel.
Thanks ophrys. Your comments are very helpful. I'm glad I checked back here on the primaries comment.
Lat/Lng: 51.473998, -3.630229
OS grid ref: SS868762