Thursday, September 19, 2013

Poor man's Buff-breasted

I've been hurting for shorebirds this year.  Out of the godwits, avocet, buff-breasted, the 2 reasonably possible phalaropes, red knot, stilt sand, and less common plovers I've seen about half of what I've averaged (frequently with much less effort) in the past.  I still need White-rumped and Purple Sandpiper too but their windows haven't peaked (or even started wrt Purple) yet.

This juvie Baird's was on the beach earlier this week, it's the closest I've come to seeing a Buff-breasted Sandpiper this year.  In the past I've usually either had Buff-breasted on calm sunny days in August or brisk-strong N wind days in September.  The Baird's appeared on a brisk N wind.

I may have had a shot at 280 this year with some rarity luck if I'd had an average number of shorebirds, I have virtually no chance at that barring some crazy luck with rarities at this point.

Here it found some micro something or another to eat.
Note the pale scalloping to the scapulars marking this bird as a juvie.  The long wings that extend past the tail eliminate all other peeps except the fairly dissimilar White-rumped.  The bird has a more cleanly cut off buffy breast than does Semi-palmated in addition to a slightly heavier and more drooped bill.
I don't see Baird's in the water very often, this day there was a large puddle on the upper stretch of the beach where it was foraging on a fairly gusty day.

I had hoped to do a pelagic today but the storm and rain put a pretty emphatic crimp on those plans.

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