Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Not so solitary sandpiper...

It was a little cloudy overnight, and I woke up with thoughts of grounded migrant shorebirds. Not how everyone greets the day, admittedly, but as we birder's know, the urge to follow our instincts can be just as strong as our quarry's desire to move south at the breeding season draws to a close.

So, I headed to my new favourite Victoria birding spot; Panama Flats.
The northern pool looked pretty lively as I approached, and through my bins I could see plenty of avian activity. There were lesser yellowlegs all over the place, and I counted at least 13. By comparison, 11 greater yellowlegs were also present.
As I scanned through the least sandpipers and western sandpipers, a larger bird caught my eye.

An adult solitary sandpiper. Nice. The bird gave excellent views as it fed close to me, among other species. A few minutes later I picked up another, this time a juvenile, and after about half an hour the two birds were feeding together.
I counted 46 leasts and 17 western sandpipers in total, but due to the fact that they were constantly moving around the area, these counts were probably conservative under estimates.
Also present were a single semi-palmated sandpiper, 5 killdeer, 5 spotted sandpiper and 13 short-billed dowitchers. The dowitchers called clearly identifying themselves as short-billed - I suspect that when I saw 13 'long-billed'  a couple of days ago, my interpretation of their brief calls was faulty, to say the least!
Good numbers of barn swallow were around too, and among them I noticed at least 2 cliff swallows and a northern rough-winged swallow. A single purple martin also flew through, but carried on in a southerly direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment