[Tweeters] Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Crockett Lake (Whidbey Island) again today

Sarah Schmidt one4bats at comcast.net
Sun Jul 21 15:52:46 PDT 2013

Joe Sheldon and I were back at the same location as yesterday for the
second day of the Western Sandpiper survey.* At about 12:30 we
re-discovered the Buff-breasted Sandpiper. As I scanned the far shore
counting WESAs, I found myself looking at a slightly larger and distinctly
buffy-brown bird with yellow-orange legs and a short bill. Unfortunately it
was on the north shore of the lake, at least twice the distance from which
we saw it yesterday, and heat shimmer made it increasingly difficult to
discern. During the two hours we watched, it remained far too distant for
photographing, and much of the time too poorly visible for identification.
Several birders arrived to look for it, and some of them saw sufficient
identification marks to call the bird.

Again we were looking from the south shore of the lake perpendicular to
Milepost 14. When first sighted it was out on an open mud flat on a dry
ridge of mud above the waterline. It was close to some westerns, and was
about 1/3 larger. Its overall brownness is what made it stand out. After
about five minutes it flew up with a flock of peeps. As I watched the
flock, I thought I glimpsed a small group that included a larger bird peel
off and land back in the vicinity from which it flew. Later we spotted the
bird foraging in that area up among the "grass" (low greenery that may have
been pickleweed, grass, rush, etc.). It appeared in brief glimpses, then
disappeared back into the grass.

If folks go looking for it, I can only recommend trying to get there before
the heat waves get bad (but the past few days fog has obscured the lake
during the early morning hours), having a good scope and giving yourself
plenty of time to scan for a buffy-brown anomaly. Juvenile starlings were
also feeding along the vegetation edge and with the distance and heat
shimmer became hard to distinguish from the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, though
the latter has a more yellowish cast to its buffy brown wash.

Sarah Schmidt

* A collaborative effort of Bird Studies Canada and Simon Fraser University
utilizing citizen scientists -

^o^ ^o^ ^o^ ^o^
Sarah Schmidt
243 Rhodena Drive
Coupeville, WA 98239
(360) 678-8396
(360) 929-3592 cell
one4bats at comcast.net
^o^ ^o^ ^o^ ^o^

“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished,
refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be
restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”
--Pete Seeger
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