Date: 9/11/20 12:51 pm From: Robert O'Brien <baro...> Subject: [obol] Curlew Sandpiper--One that got away?
Back in the last century, during the heyday of the Tillamook Bay-Ocean Shorebird Flats, I birded there as often as I could. On one visit this time of year I parked on the dike and walked down to the flats. The tide was out a long way and there was the usual large flock of western sandpipers, along with some other usual suspects, along the water's edge. BUT, there was a larger one mixed in, It resembled a Western somewhat from a distance but was much lighter in color and obviously bulkier. I studied it with binoculars. It looked really interesting. Wow. As I was about to set up a telescope, this one sandpiper took flight out of the flock and headed south along the water's edge. I still had the binoculars to follow it. It had a conspicuous white rump. I headed down the beach to find it. Looking all over, I had no luck. I went back to the flock but nothing unusual was present. As it got dark I walked back up onto the dike to leave. There was a small flock of dowitchers and a few teal in the shallows on the freshwater side. 'IT' was with them. I took a photo of them in the dusk and started down to get closer. They flew. That was it.
The only other possibility would be a Stilt Sandpiper which is generally similar in immature plumage, with a white rump, but with quite different proportions. Long legs, for instance. Now although it was with dowitchers, it was not feeding like them with an up and down bill movement. Stilt Sandpiper has a similar feeding pattern. 'IT' was not feeding like that.
See attached cell-phone copy of a copy of a slide. (The comparison of Dowitcher & Stilt sandpiper is a photo I took some years later on the Texas Coast.)
Note 'ITs' short stature. Note the long legs of the dowitcher. If you use your imagination (I'm good at that) you can make out the blurry downcurved bill and the absence of long legs of 'IT'
Oh well. Birding is the journey, right? Bob OBrien Carver OR