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

 
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