Saturday, September 3, 2011

Least Sandpiper

 In early Spring two other birders and I found a Least Sandpiper at Cape Broyle. For all of us it was a first. The problem was the bird was so far away, we only had a record shot and really didn't get a good look.

Bellevue Beach, the beach that keeps on giving, remedied that last week. Among a group of "peeps," this little Least Sandpiper really stood out.

 The Least Sandpiper that is considered common to Newfoundland and Labrador has been elusive. I think that it is most likely found in Labrador. It was really nice to get an up-close look at this 6 inch long shore bird. With changing light and the clusters of "peeps" scurrying around, it is not always easy to pick out the Least. For me the first checkpoint was the color of the legs. That is helpful, of course, if you are up close. From a distance the best marker is its brown scaled upperparts.

This little bird came quite close. My birding partner of the day and I sat on a rock. Once we established a physically low profile, the "peeps" began to move closer to us. The Least was quite comfortable with us being close but was more skittish when I was standing.  It is only through these encounters, that I really learn the looks and necessary bird-watching behavior that will yield the most favorable looks.

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