Monday, August 24, 2015

Morro Bay - Return of the Sandpipers

  August 24 - Baywood - South Morro Bay - Western and Least Sandpipers (aka peeps) are returning by the thousands from their breeding grounds, Western Alaska for the Western Sandpiper and for the Least Sandpiper, the tundra and boreal forests of the Arctic.

The most notable difference between the two species is leg color - Western, black; Least, yellow green.  But if they are feeding in muck or standing in water nearly up to their knees, which are hidden in their feathers, luck is needed for identifying them.  (photo - Least Sandpiper)

As the migratory season progresses, a flock of sandpipers may include Semipalmated Plover, small flocks of Dunlin and Long-billed Curlew, and one of their best friends, my very favorite - the Black-bellied Plover.  For the keen of sight, a Baird's Sandpiper might be spotted.  Fortunately, the Baird's is one inch larger and a tad plumper than the Western and the Least.

The Western Sandpiper is the most abundant shorebird species in North America, whereas the Least Sandpiper, the smallest shorebird in the world, is numerous but is often found in much smaller flocks.

P. S.   Binoculars are a must when looking at peeps.  Now for some fun!

 How many Dunlin do you see in the photo?  Are the smaller birds Western or Least Sandpiper?  The answer will be in the next posting.  Happy Birding!

1 comment:

  1. The pic with reflection in water is so beautiful !

    I see 19 birds ,is this right ?