Saturday, September 11, 2010


Today I decided to explore the area around Tillamook. My first stop was to Bayocean Spit and I ended up spending most of the day there. Because the sun was just rising, I decided to walk the ocean beach side first since it would light the birds along the shore well. After walking the full length of the beach, I walked the gravel road back along Tillamook Bay.
While the birds were a little spotty, there were a few good opportunities. One of those was my first sighting of Sanderlings. I saw a flock of about 35 fly in along the shore and land at shore's edge not far ahead of me. As I moved in closer, I noticed they were actually moving towards me, so I just stood there and let them come to me. I like it when the birds cooperate like that. :-) At one point a larger wave came in and the whole flock ran in just ahead of it. Then, just as fast as they flew in, they all took off together.
When I got the images on my computer this evening, I wasn't sure if they were Sanderlings or Semipalmated Sandpipers. There's a lot of similarity between the two. Then I noticed in Sibley's field guide that Sanderlings have a pronounced white strip on the upper side of their wings. Luckily, I had taken some pictures of them as they flew away. When I opened the image posted above, it was obvious that these were Sanderlings as the white wing stripe was there just as Sibley illustrated.

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