Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rock Sandpiper

I ended the year well.
I made my second trip ever yesterday to Seal Rock State Park. The weather was fantastic until about 10:30 AM when clouds started rolling in, but even then it was pleasant.
Best of all, I was successful in finding all my target birds, with the prize being my first sighting of a Rock Sandpiper. There were at least two on the beach as I saw two together during one sighting and then had sightings of a single bird throughout the morning.
Some time had passed after my sighting of the first Rock Sandpiper when I spied a Surfbird. This started me questioning whether I had correctly identified the Rock Sandpiper as they look somewhat similar. A Rock Sandpiper was my primary target at Seal Rock and when your mind is set on seeing a certain bird, you can sometimes misidentify a bird that closely resembles it.
Luckily I had more sightings of Rock Sandpipers throughout the morning and at one point I saw one next to a Surfbird as seen in the image above. The sandpiper (on the right) is clearly smaller and has more defined feathers on its back, along with more spots on its breast and belly.
Other target birds that I successfully saw were Harlequin Ducks (I hadn't seen any yet this year), Black Turnstones and Black Oystercatchers. Nice additions were close views of Surf Scoters and Sanderlings.
On my way back home, I stopped at Newport's South Jetty and saw Red-breasted Mergansers, large numbers of Common Loons, large numbers of Horned Grebes and a male Barrow's Goldeye (my first Oregon sighting). I'll post images of some of these birds in the coming days.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great trip- congrats on the Rock Sandpiper! I only saw my first one a few weeks ago, also mingling with Surfbirds and confusing the heck out of me..