Monday, September 5, 2011

Pectoral Sandpiper

I drove down to Fern Ridge yesterday to check out the shore bird action I have been reading about on OBOL. It was a beautiful place and chocked full of birds, but unfortunately the Ruff seems to have gone missing a few days ago and I didn't see the other birds I was hoping for, such as a Red-neck Phalarope, American Avocet or Stilt Sandpiper.
I did however, get some great views of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and California Quail. I also saw a new life bird; a Pectoral Sandpiper. It flew in while I was taking pictures of some Yellowlegs which was great because it helped give me a feel for its size. This wasn't the hardest shorebird I've tried to identified, but it wasn't easy either. The combination of its overall look and size combined with the yellow legs and shorter bill with orangish, yellow base were the major factors influencing my decision.
In addition, I believe it is a juvenile as its breast is paler and more streaked than an adult and its back has more rufous tones.


  1. Congrats on the sandpiper! Fern Ridge is an awesome place!

  2. I believe you are correct that the Pectoral is a juvenile (as is the yellowlegs).

    There is quite a bit of size difference between the male and female Pectoral Sandpiper. That can cause some identification difficulties at first--females are only 2/3 the size (weight) of males.