Monday, August 26, 2013

Baird's Sandpiper - North Springfield Lake

Yesterday morning (Sunday, August 25) Don Clark and I checked out the mud flats at North Springfield Lake in Springfield and Weathersfield, VT for southward bound migrating shorebirds.  Viewing was from two locations overlooking the northeastern portion of the reservoir from Springweather Nature Area.  Over the past several weeks there have been some interesting bird sightings: most notably three Snowy Egrets, up to five Great Egrets, and two Black-crowned Night-Herons.  Both egrets were present on Sunday as well as the following shorebirds: Great Blue Heron (at least one), Green Heron (2), Killdeer (upwards of 30 or so), Solitary Sandpiper (1), Spotted Sandpiper (1), Greater Yellowlegs (2), Lesser Yellowlegs (3), Least Sandpiper (9), and Baird's Sandpiper (1).

The Baird's was the most significant sighting of the morning.  Spotted feeding on Canada Goose droppings (small insects or other invertebrates?) littering the sandbar island.  The island is where the Snowy Egrets tend to loaf when not foraging.  The following photos were digiscoped from the overlook at a range of 100+ yards:

Above, note size comparison to Killdeer.  When Baird's was seen next to Least Sandpiper, the former was decidedly larger.

Baird's back has a scaly appearance and head, neck and upper breast are washed with light brown or buff.  Both above and below photos show long wing tips (primary projection and tertials extend beyond tail tip).

Below, note long, straight bill without any discernible curvature.  Our bird for the most part avoided the edge of the sandbar island preferring to feed on higher, drier ground.