An adult (!) Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was found at Muskegon a few days ago, the first bird I've chased in Michigan in a couple years, probably since the Berylline and Costa's Hummers, and my first chase since the Ivory Gull this winter. And just like with the Ivory Gull, the first thing I saw was Phil Chu. Phil was clearly good luck, both times the bird appeared within minutes. My first look was my closest look, it moved back quickly while getting others on it, but even if I'd gotten shots off initially it was probably too dark to matter. Eventually the sprinkles cleared enough that I was down to the distance as the major hindrance to pics.
Here's the bird in the middle with 2 pecs back in front of the weeds
In some lighting the pale eyebrow stood out. The cap was the darkest part of the head, a brown ground color with some rufous and dark highlights. With good looks through the scope it did have a thin eyering though a lot of birds have a suggestion of an eyering. The facial marks coalesced somewhat more densely in the ear coverts to give a line through the eye as well.
You can get a sense in the next pic of how the breast coloration grades smoothly into flank chevrons. The bird's back bracing seemed a little narrower to me than the pecs with the lateral ones buffier than the pecs. The bird had redpoll like streaking to the undertail coverts, something I haven't noticed before in American shorebirds.
With a tattler in the Sleeping Bear area a couple weeks ago, this bird now in Muskegon, surely the next step in the pattern is a decent rarity in Berrien, yes???