Date: 8/29/17 11:10 am From: Al Stokie <alstokie99...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Buff Breasted Sandpiper & Western Sandpiper On Montrose Beach Tuesday 8-29-17
Hello Bird People,
It's too bad we can't know in advance where we should go birding as then listing would be much more simple. But it doesn't work that way & it's probably just as well as knowing where to go in advance would take all the fun out of finding those special species we are all after. I have recently complained about my Montrose visits being always 1 day off as to finding special birds but not today & so there will be no complaints from me today.
Arrived at 6:30 a.m. & learned that the only shorebirds around were 3 Semipalmated Plovers. Walked down the public beach & soon saw 2 of the 3 & just beyond them was a bigger, light colored shorebird which had a Mourning Dove look to it. Got closer & it proved to be quite a bit better than a Dove. Matthew C waved me over & we had good looks at a juvenile BUFF BREASTED SANDPIPER on the very edge of the beach. This is a good sighting for Montrose & it turned out Matthew had seen a 2nd Buffie by the flooded part of the beach but the 1st one had flown off before I arrived. So only 3 shorebirds but 1 was a rare (at Montrose) one.
Later while Alex B & Michael F were taking photo's of the Buffie other birders arrived including Fran M. Then Fran got a call from Luis M saying that he had a possible Western Sandpiper by the Protected Area fence. Fran & I hurried over to learn that the 2 Peeps Luis & Howard B had been looking at had flown toward the flooded beach area. Went back to the flooded area & there were the 2 Peeps one of which was a normal looking Semipalmated Sandpiper & the 2nd was the very large billed probable Western. So now several of us had other attributes to consider. In addition to the long & slightly down curved "honker" of a bill we noticed that the big billed Peep was noticeably larger overall than the Semi-Sandpiper. Next thing to consider was the amount of reddish color in the back & scapulars. This was not very obvious at 1st but as the lighting got better & the bird moved in closer & stood at certain angles that reddish color became more obvious. So all things considered it did seem to be a juvenile WESTERN SANDPIPER. But Fran has great photo's & perhaps some real shorebird experts will agree or disagree. We'll see.
All the shorebirds flushed from time to time due to human, dog & beach cleaning machine activities but the shorebirds always returned until a group of about 15 Ring Billed Gulls took off & flew right over the flooded beach area very low to the ground. I guess that was enough as all shorebirds flushed, went higher & disappeared. Fran saw the 2 Peeps fly toward the hedge area & then south. The Buffie left as well. The only shorebirds remaining at 9 a.m. were 2 newly arriving Sanderlings.
It's hard to believe that a Buff Breasted Sandpiper at Montrose isn't the Top Bird but on this day anyway it was beaten out by the Western Sandpiper for Bird-Of-The-Day honors. Runner-Up to the Buff Breasted Sandpiper.
Birder-Of-The-Day to Luis M for 1st finding the Western & deciding we all should check it out. Without that we were all leaving & may have missed the bird altogether. Runner-Up in this category to Matthew C for finding not 1 but 2 Buffies. As usual no birder awards for me as my only accomplishment was that I was there on a good day.
Al Stokie Picking the right day (finally) to visit Montrose today
------------------------------------ Posted by: Al Stokie <alstokie99...> ------------------------------------