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zbird

Lots and Lots of Sandpipers

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All pics taken today in KY at a fish hatchery. Are these all the same species? I don't know much of anything about sandpipers, so I'm not even going to try to guess what they might be. Pics 1 and 2 are the same bird, but the rest were all different individuals. 

1.

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2.

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3.

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4.

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5.

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6.

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2. is another SPSA. I think 4. and 5. are probably more Leasts. Not sure on those, but I think I'm seeing yellow legs on both of them, so they can't be Baird's. Pectoral is a possibility I would presume, but the coloration and stature looks better for Least to me.

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The wings of bird #5 are way too long for Least Sand, whose wing tips usually do not reach the tail tip. Additionally, Least Sands typically sport two pale streaks on the back ("braces"), which this bird lacks. The large black centers to the scapulars and long wings help ID this as a Baird's.

Bird #4 might be a Solitary -- it's got thin legs and what seems like a droop-tipped bill, but I'd like a different view to definitively ID it.

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Huh, I'm not seeing Solitary at all with #4... doesn't have an eye ring and that bill is way too droopy. The long wings makes sense with #5, although I wasn't sure if you could see them very well. I didn't know much about the plumage differences, cool to know!

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34 minutes ago, Tony Leukering said:

The wings of bird #5 are way too long for Least Sand, whose wing tips usually do not reach the tail tip. Additionally, Least Sands typically sport two pale streaks on the back ("braces"), which this bird lacks. The large black centers to the scapulars and long wings help ID this as a Baird's.

Bird #4 might be a Solitary -- it's got thin legs and what seems like a droop-tipped bill, but I'd like a different view to definitively ID it.

Here's a different view for 4. This one flew away pretty quickly, so these two pics were the best ones I could get. 

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58 minutes ago, Kevin said:

Nice photo!

Thank you!! I was surprised it let me get that close, but it was definitely keeping an eye on me!

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Even from the original photo, #4 is pretty clearly a Baird's. Long, dark legs with a flat and wide body, light buffy beast. Not sure where Solitary is coming from with that one.

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Those legs are clearly yellow. You can even see the white stripes on the back that Tony mentioned. I do know that Pectorals have those white stripes as well. I'll yield to anyone who can identify LESA and PESA apart with these photos. 

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Posted (edited)

1 and 2 come off as a juvenile spotted sandpiper. did you notice if it was bobbing / dipping its tail frequently?

Edited by Soohegan

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It was bobbing its head, but I didn't notice anything about the tail. Is that a good way of identifying them?

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1 hour ago, zbird said:

It was bobbing its head, but I didn't notice anything about the tail. Is that a good way of identifying them?

it's a dead simple way to ID spotteds. watch closely and they are constantly or somewhat regularly dipping their tail.

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@Melierax Ah, after taking a look at the second photo of #4 you are right- that is a Pectoral Sandpiper! Good catch.

I'm not really getting Baird's vibes from #5, I'm really interested to know how Tony arrived at that ID...

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So if I have everything straight, then 1/2 is spotted, 3 is a least, 4 is pectoral, and 6 is spotted. Is 5 a Baird's? That's the one I'm still unclear on. I keep going back and forth between photos of Baird's and Least trying to figure it out, but they both look good! I don't have an eye for sandpipers yet. 

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