Friday, October 15, 2010

Sandpipers: Part I

Again, the term is loosely used and debatable. But here are the first four:

The Greater Yellowlegs -- not nearly as good a photo as the others -- I found at Whitewater Draw in Arizona. It is about 14 inches so it larger than a jay, but smaller than a crow. It breeds on the tundra during the summer months, and winters along the southern coasts with an occasional sighting somewhat inland, as it is here at Whitewater Draw:
Greater Yellowlegs

The Willet is typically about 15 inches and likes coastal beaches, freshwater and salt water marshes, lakeshores, and even wet prairies. They are noisey birds with several distinctive calls -- similar to the Killdeer. They separate when feeding but if one Willet takes flight all will follow, as in the second photo. The first photo is from Central Oregon and second from Humboldt Bay, California.

The Spotted Sandpiper is half the size of a Willet. It winters in the Southernmost part of the United States and winters in throughout the rest of the US and Canada. The spots of the Spotted Sandpiper are only shown during breeding plumage. Otherwise the breast is white. This photo was taken at Lake Cochise in Arizona.
Spotted Sandpiper

The last one for today is the Long Billed Curlew. I am sure I have shown you this before, but since it is listed as a Sandpiper, here it is again. The Long Billed Curlew is quite large, the size of most large hawks, although shorter wingspan. It winters along the Pacific Coast and summers on inland plains. It is a sandpiper less associated with ocean shores.
Long Billed Curlew

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