[Tweeters] Shorebird ID help requested

Birder1944 at aol.com Birder1944 at aol.com
Tue Sep 13 16:12:30 PDT 2011


On Monday, September 13, I birded up in the Skagit and Samish Flats area,
and I saw a little peep that has me scratching my head. After studying my
pictures, of it, I finally decided it must be a Semipalmated Sandpiper, but
the color of the legs keeps bothering me. They appear yellowish in my
pictures, although at the time, I thought they were black. From the size, it
has to be a Western, Least, or Semipalmated, and at this time of year, it is
most likely a juvenile one.

I've never paid a lot of attention to Western and Least Sandpipers, other
than to ascertain the leg color, and I have never seen a Semipalmated one
before. Several features of this one say Semipalmated to me - the scaly
appearance of the back, with white borders to the feathers; the length and
especially the thickness of the bill at the base; the pattern of color on the
upper breast; the dark cap; the dark coverts behind and below the ear; and
the length of the wings with respect to the tail. Nonetheless, the color of
the legs keeps bothering me. I would appreciate any opinions, especially
if you can tell me the reasoning behind the opinion. I would like to make
this a learning experience. I suspect it is actually a juvenile Least
Sandpiper, so I won't be overly disappointed if that is the fact, but I want to
get it right, and I would like to learn from the experience.

I saw it at the southern end of the Padilla Bay trail, just north of
highway 20, maybe a hundred yards along the trail. The tide was out, and it was
foraging on the mud, away from the water. The only other shorebird around
was a Spotted Sandpiper, and in one of my pictures, you can see them
together, for a size comparison.

The pictures can be seen on my website. At the link below, click on
September and scroll down to Monday, September 12 to see them.

_http://www.barry15.com/2011_Quest/_ (http://www.barry15.com/2011_Quest/)
and click on September

Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

Barry Brugman
Kirkland, WA

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