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)

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

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...>


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