[Tweeters] Fill Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Constance Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Mon Sep 26 02:15:54 PDT 2022

Hey tweets, many thanks to Louis Kreemer and Alex Sowers for the spectacular find of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper yesterday. They opined that it might be the same bird that was seen on Foster Island some days ago. That could be. My records show the following previous sightings for Sharp-tailed at Montlake Fill:

1 seen by Mark Egger on Sept. 12, 1987
1 seen first by Kevin Aanerud on Sept. 29, 1996. This one hung around until Oct. 14, when it was last seen by Chris McInerny.

So "our" Sharp-tailed might also still be present for a few more days. It seemed very happy in the company of a couple of Pectoral Sandpipers. Three Killdeers were making pests of themselves by flying around and calling, all for no apparent reason. But luckily this did not spook the other shorebirds, which, BTW, included two Wilson's Snipes foraging in the mud of Yesler Cove right out in the open.

It was enormous fun to be out there at my favorite place on Earth with fellow birders who shared the joy of seeing this rare Siberian stray, which should have been on its way to Papua New Guinea or Australia but instead stopped by Seattle. I always wonder, when I see a vagrant like this, whether it will survive its wanderings and make it back to its breeding grounds in the spring. I think this bird has a good chance, as it should be able to find reasonable foraging habitat up and down the West Coast. It may not stay with the Pectorals, who are on their way to South America, but who knows?

In any case, these shorebirds show us both how big the Earth is, and yet how tied together. And the wonder of it all! Imagine going from Alaska to Argentina (or Siberia to Australia) under your own power: the habitats you pass through so varied, the human boundaries so meaningless, the adventure so fraught, the occasional peacefulness so serene.

I will never see what this bird sees or do what this bird does. But I can tag along in spirit, and so I do. - Connie, Seattle

csidles at constancypress.com
constancesidles at gmail.com

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