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sbruenjes

More help with peeps

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I saw these birds today at our local park in Essex County New Jersey. I couldn't get a good pic, but I am curious what birds are living right by me.. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

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IMG_2703 (2).JPG

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Posted (edited)

These actually aren't peeps, these are Spotted Sandpipers. Note the large wing stripe. Peeps are usually known as the small members of the genus calidris: Western, Semipalmated, Least, White-rumped, and Baird's Sandpipers. Spotted are members of the genus actitis.

Edited by Connor Cochrane
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1 hour ago, Connor Cochrane said:

Spotted are members of the genus actitis.

Wow I have totally just lived my life thinking they are Tringas...

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, AlexHenry said:

Wow I have totally just lived my life thinking they are Tringas...

I think the name change must have been pretty recent. That's what I thought at first, before I looked it up and found it was actitis

Edited by Connor Cochrane

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This is why I completely avoid using the term.  I can't remember what species it encompasses.  The only time I use it is in eBird 'peep sp.' when I have a small shorebird I can't nail down.  Who knows, I may be using that wrong.

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3 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

This is why I completely avoid using the term.  I can't remember what species it encompasses.  The only time I use it is in eBird 'peep sp.' when I have a small shorebird I can't nail down.  Who knows, I may be using that wrong.

Species, genus, families- they're always being changed and reorganized. That's just an inherent side effect of trying to classify something quantitatively which does not actually exist discretely, but instead on a continuum. Populations shift and change very generally over time, so the exact point at which a population becomes a 'species' is completely arbitrary and has no objective meaning outside the, again, arbitrary one which we assign to it.

tldr: species as we know them don't actually exist, therefore trying to classify them as such is inherently problematic

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Benjamin said:

Species, genus, families- they're always being changed and reorganized. That's just an inherent side effect of trying to classify something quantitatively which does not actually exist discretely, but instead on a continuum. Populations shift and change very generally over time, so the exact point at which a population becomes a 'species' is completely arbitrary and has no objective meaning outside the, again, arbitrary one which we assign to it.

tldr: species as we know them don't actually exist, therefore trying to classify them as such is inherently problematic

I understand what you're saying regarding classification changing, but that wasn't my point.  I'm not going to memorize what species come under the title 'peeps', regardless of whether their binomials change.  I'm just not that interested in using the word correctly.  It's just a collective nickname.  It takes more effort to type 'small shorebird', but I already have a pretty good grasp on what that phrase means, it doesn't cause confusion among those who may think they know 'peeps' but don't, and I'm a touch-typist anyway.

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

Wow I have totally just lived my life thinking they are Tringas...

Spotted has been in Actitis for my entire birding life/career. However, that genus is a member of the Tringinae, the subfamily of shorebirds of which Tringa is the type genus -- that is, the first genus described and the one providing for the subfamily name. Contrast this to the "peeps," which are ALL in the genus Calidris, a genus housed in the subfamily Arenariinae (the name coming from the type genus Arenaria, the turnstones). While the genus Tringa is generally characterized by spots, round or otherwise, on or near the edges of wing feathers, other genera in the subfamily (in the ABA Area, restricted to Xenus, Actitis, and Phalaropus) have other tendencies. The genus Calidris, however, is nicely homogenous in being characterized by feathers having contrastingly pale fringes.

The take-home is that if your mystery bird does not have pale fringes on wing feathers, it is not a peep -- though realize that worn birds may have lost their fringes.

Edited by Tony Leukering
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6 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

The only time I use it is in eBird 'peep sp.' when I have a small shorebird I can't nail down.  Who knows, I may be using that wrong.

Yes, you probably are. The eBird category "peep, sp." is restricted to all the small Old World species with "stint" in their names plus Spoon-billed and the New World species of Baird's, Least, White-rumped, Semipalmated, and Western sandpipers. To wit, various things such as Sanderling, Dunlin, and Pectoral Sandpiper are NOT peep. Nor are any plovers or other smaller shorebird species. Thus, in most of the US, there are, essentially, only five species of peep, which ain't hard to memorize.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Tony Leukering said:

Yes, you probably are. The eBird category "peep, sp." is restricted to all the small Old World species with "stint" in their names plus Spoon-billed and the New World species of Baird's, Least, White-rumped, Semipalmated, and Western sandpipers. To wit, various things such as Sanderling, Dunlin, and Pectoral Sandpiper are NOT peep. Nor are any plovers or other smaller shorebird species. Thus, in most of the US, there are, essentially, only five species of peep, which ain't hard to memorize.

Heck, if I could identify them, I wouldn't be listing them as 'peep sp.' in the first place! 

Maybe eBird would be better off if I didn't list them at all, but a practical reason was demonstrated to me just this month.  The water level in a nearby farm pond has been lowered over four feet, exposing large stretches of lake bottom.  I hoped it would draws lots of waders and shorebirds, and it has.  I posted a list last week that included '6 peep sp'; the only other shorebirds on that list were Killdeer, very common at this site.  Apparently the list was noticed by better birders than I, since multiple people who don't normally visit this obscure pond have been to it since.  They've identified Least, Spotted, Solitary, Pectoral, LEYE, immature LBHE;; none of which are normally seen at this pond.  I've even managed to spot ID a few of those myself.

I'm pretty sure now looking at my pics that what I saw originally are Least but if I hadn't listed 'peep sp', nobody else would have come to this spot or seen these birds.

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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15 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I'm pretty sure now looking at my pics that what I saw originally are Least but if I hadn't listed 'peep sp', nobody else would have come to this spot or seen these birds.

That could well be. I might also suggest the eBird entry of "shorebird, sp." That entry really should be on every eBird filter.

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9 minutes ago, Tony Leukering said:

That could well be. I might also suggest the eBird entry of "shorebird, sp." That entry really should be on every eBird filter.

Outstanding!  I don’t know how I’ve missed that one!  It’s what I’ve really wanted all along

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