Friday, 6 July 2012

Semi-possible semipalmated sandpiper

I stopped by at Panama Flats for an hour or so on my way to work this morning.

There was still some reasonable shorebird activity, and I counted 41 Western sandpipers, 24 least sandpipers, 2 greater yellowlegs, 3 spotted sandpiper, several killdeer and a what appeared to be a semipalmated sandpiper.

This latter bird was even less obvious than the one I saw here on Wednesday, and I'm not entirely 100% of its identification... here are a couple of really poor pics - see what you think.

It certainly stood out as being different from the many Westerns nearby, with its relatively short, straight bill and complete lack of rufous tones.

Having done a little bit of online 'research', I'm quite happy that this is indeed a semi-p. I also had a positive response from one skilled local birder who reckons it looks good for that species.
These things aren't always straight forward and it's good to put what little knowledge I have to the test from time to time!
Now we just have to wait for the really large wader flocks to start turning up, with adults in all stages of moult, and juveniles mixed in... plus the possibility of even trickier species to dig out from among the masses. Bring it on!


  1. Jon,
    Sorry for the late comment. I saw your SESA post on BCVIBIRDS. I tried to post, but the server picked up my message as spam for some reason. Sure is a SESA. Nice SOSA find at Panama Flats!

    Wesley Greentree

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  3. Thanks for your comment Wesley.
    I was pretty sure of its ID, but I'm always a little cautious with the first SESA of the season! I don't like to be over confident with some species - I have seen some very short billed, dull westerns that could easily be mistaken for semi-p's.
    It's a real pity that Panama has dried up so early this year, who knows what may have dropped in. Hopefully you'll find something up-island that we all come up to twitch!
    Cheers, Jon