Date: 11/9/17 10:00 am
From: Bob Archer <rabican1...>
Subject: [obol] An appreciation of Rock Sandpiper, their subspecies, and looking for bands

There are 4 subspecies of Rock Sandpiper. Reading about these tough little
birds it seems the more northern breeding C. p. tschuktschorum, which
breeds up on those two peninsulas where Russia almost touches Alaska, tends
to leap frog its southern breeding cousins (that breed on islands in the
Bering Sea or the third down on the Alaskan Peninsula) when migrating
south. The fourth subspecies breeds on Russian islands. I could not find
anyway to safely separate the subspecies out other than size, paleness and
wing stripe width, all of which are variable and tough to see. I did see
that Alaska F&W bands the subspecies in the Bering Sea (*C. p.
ptilocnemis). *I have looked at all ebird photos, see no bands yet, but
might be fun to keep your eyes open.

The migration still keeps birds well north of most other shorebirds. How
these tough little things survive the northern winter is part of Alaska F&W
research efforts.

Cool birds.

No one knows of any other info as to subspecies separation?

Bob Archer

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