Sunday, August 10, 2008

Spotted Sandpiper at Charles River

These first pictures are from my birding trip to the Charles River three weeks ago. It took me a while to figure out what these little wading birds were, but I feel pretty confident they're Spotted Sandpipers. According to Cornell's All About Birds Website (see the link in my blog's sidebar) they're extremely common on the edge of nearly any water source throughout North America.

I returned to the river today and was able to get some more pictures, this time of a solitary bird teetering on top of the lilypads:

Let me know what you think of my ID. The turning point came when I got to step 11 in my methodology: the National Geographic Birder's Journal. Sometimes it takes getting a fresh perspective to be able to see the way. Then I returned to my Sibley Guide to see his description of the Spotted Sandpiper that's when I picked up on the yellow bill notation in Sibley's description. Aside from the spots on the body, that was one of the most distinguishable characteristics and somehow I had missed it on my first pass through the book.


Anonymous said...

Your ID is "spot" on. Sorry, I couldn't resist :)
This is one bird where behavior is at least as good a field mark as plumage. Spotted's constantly bob their back ends, like a waterthrush.

Birdinggirl said...

Thanks Grant. Yes- the spots were very distinguishing, along with the teetering. It was especially noticeable on the lily pads, and fun to watch.

Larry said...

Yes-I actually saw the spots on photo two.-There is one particular stage of molt when the bird has a bright orange bill and spots but in one of the molts they look similar to a Solitary.