Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baird's Sandpiper!

Never thought I'd see a Baird's Sandpiper this far EAST -- they migrate south through the Great Plains west of the Mississippi -- but we've had one here at nearby Bald Eagle State Park for the last couple of days, and today I was able to get up there and see it!

Here are the best of my crappy photos; it was an overcast and misty day:

Here's the bird with what I first thought was a Semipalmated but someone else called a Least Sandpiper that was working the swimmer's beach alongside the Baird's:I just didn't pay much attention to the little guy, but he was small and brown, a lot like a Least.

Here's what a real photographer, listserv buddy Ron Crandall, did with the same bird, a much better camera, and getting a lot closer to the bird.

I also saw more Eastern Kingbirds and Eastern Bluebirds than I could count; they were everywhere and the bluebirds were VERY excited, chasing one another in what seemed liked territory-protection displays. These two were hanging out on a pavilion after chasing each other in super-tight formation. The funny part was their plumage. Do adults molt most of their blue off, or were ALL the birds I saw first-year juveniles? Because they ALL looked like this: speckled like starlings on the breast/shoulders, blue only on wing and tail tips.

Here's my complete list, courtesy of eBird:
Double-crested Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Least Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
Eastern Kingbird
American Crow
Barn Swallow
Eastern Bluebird
Gray Catbird
Chipping Sparrow (I was delighted to see an adult feeding a juvenile as they foraged on the ground. No pics, though! Couldn't get a good shot in time.)
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow


John said...

Great sighting! I've only seen Baird's once.

Those both look like hatch-year bluebirds to me.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Kokolo must have never seen a bird before!

Nice pix .. wish we had some blue colored birds out here - nly the Stellar's Jay and a rare bluebird I never see!

dguzman said...

John--so that means ALL the EABLs I saw that day - probably twenty? - were all first-years. Wow. What a great crop of new bluebirds!

Kokolo, sweet jeebus, leave me alone!

Rabbits' Guy--looks like it! When I was out west, I saw a Western Bluebird (beautiful!) and Steller's Jay, but I never saw a Mountain Bluebird. Those look amazing.

Larry said...

I don't think yor photos are crappy-pretty good.Conratulations on the Baird's-I had someone show me one once but if I was being honest with myself I couldn't tell it apart from the others at the time so it didn't really count. Seems like you had a good look.

dguzman said...

Larry--thanks! I went there specifically looking for it, and luckily it was next to a bird that was very different from it. Still, had I been all alone--I doubt I'd have gotten it on my own without forewarning. Still--I tried to focus on particular things common to Baird's, like the long wings extending past the tail -- not many sandpipers have that like the Baird's.