Date: 7/13/20 9:47 pm From: David Bailey <davidcbaileyoregon...> Subject: [obol] Juv. Semipalmated Sandpiper in Clatsop County (earliest juvenile Calidris for Oregon?)
Monday 13 July 2020 Clatsop County, Oregon
I took my daughters out to Trestle Bay via parking lot D at Fort Stevens State Park east of the South Jetty of the Columbia River this evening so they could swim and play and I could do some birding. The tide was high and the island shores were flooded as well as the mudflats. There was still a bit of shore along the near side and out east towards that end of the peninsula.
The first bird I spotted was a lone Calidris sandpiper that surprisingly to me turned out to be a colorful and fresh-plumaged juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. I would think that this bird would have had to have hatched in early June from an egg laid in early May. I don't have my Shorbirds of the Pacific Northwest (Paulson) or Birds of Oregon a Greater Reference (Marshall et al.) handy, but can't recall a record of a hatch-year juvenile Calidris this early in Oregon before. I expect the adults to show up sparingly but earlier than most adult Westerns and Least Sandpipers (Dave and Kathy reported one in Coos yesterday and there have been several in Eastern Oregon this month) because of their more southerly breeding range followed by the first juveniles being Semipalmated, but not for another week or ten days.
Two photographers and birders were out there coming back from the end of the peninsula when I we were headed out and I immediately put them on to the rare bird. They should have point blank full-frame shots as they were able to crawl quite close to the SESA within 2 meters. I am hoping I can get one of their snaps to share with everyone, as I only had the phone on my camera and was not able to obtain any photos.
The Sandpiper was behaving like a typical youngster in that it wasn't worried that it was alone (a flock of Western Sandpiper adults was flying up and down the shoreline and being quite flighty when occasionally setting down for a moment...), or that people were that approaching that close to it.
I also was able to sight the second-year COMMON TERN that has been reported previously out there. It was at the end of the peninsula with the Caspian Tern and mixed California and Ring-billed Gull flock. Of additional note were the first arrivals to the coast this year of about two dozen JUVENILE CALIFORNIA GULLS in their lovely brown plumage including a rather light variant. Juvenile gulls are really quite charming.