Sharp-tailed,Buff-breasted Yesterday

barry.levine at barry.levine at
Sun Sep 8 12:35:35 PDT 2002

Yesterday Marvin Cooper and I ventured across the border to Reifle,the
Sod Farm at 74th and also the end of 104th St in the Boundary Bay area.
When we arrived at Reifle at 10:00 AM things were very slow probably due
to the low tide. We did not see either the Hudsonian Godwit,Sharp-tailed
Sandpipier, or the American Avocet that were reported earlier in the
week. The Godwit, by the way, hasn't been seen for the last 2 days at
least. We spent a few minutes talking to John Ireland, who was setting
up for last nights PIg and Corn roast. John confirmed that the house
Sandhill Crane was probably taken by a coyote. So for those of you who
are accustomed to being greeted (?) by the crane when you arrive at
Reifle, this might be the first year in the last 14 or so that that
doesn't occur.
We then headed off to the Sod Farm located near the airport on 72nd St
by Boundary Bay to look for Buff-breasted Sandpipers. A large group of
local birders were there including familar faces Rick Toochin and Derek
and Cathy Sutton. The birds were being seen at an incredibly far
distance through heat shimmer. Basically specks.
We joined Rick and a friend from BC named Mike, and at 4:00 pm we headed
to 104th St along Boundary Bay. There things picked up as the tide moved
in. We had an incredibly diverse group of Sandpipers come in. Though not
large in numbers, the group included 1 Sharp-tail, 15 or so Baird's,
with a similar number of Pectorals and 2 Semipalmated Sandpiper's to go
along with small numbers of the expected Least's and Western's.
We then returned to the Sod Farm where a large group of birders,
including a former student of mine-Kristi Nottingham and her husband
Hans, were looking at at least 11 Buff-breasted Sandpipers. The closest
was about 50 yards away, but afforded us much better looks than the
specks seen earlier.
For those of you thinking about trying for these birds, the
Buff-breasted's have been seen for most of the past week (later in the
day seems better) and John seemed to be of the opinion that the
Sharp-tailed seen at Reifle on Friday could possibly be sticking around
for at least a few more days. As far as learning shorebirds, one
couldn't have a better experience than the flock of sandpipers at 104th
St. We had scope views of Pectorals,Baird's and Sharp-tails in the same
frame for comparison. Quite fantastic.

Barry Levine

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