Monday, October 11, 2010
MA - Curlew Sandpiper - 10/11
Curlew Sandpiper (rear center) - juvenile at rest with Semi-palmated Sandpipers. At rest, the vivid white rump was often visible and one of the better field marks to use when trying to locate the bird in the tide wrack. Sandy Point, Plum Island, Essex Co., MA. October 11th, 2010.
Curlew Sandpiper (right) - juvenile in flight with Semi-palmated Plovers. Again, the white rump facilitates identification in flight although the presence of White-rumped Sandpipers complicated matters at times.
Curlew Sandpiper (left) - juvenile with Semi-palmated and White-rumped Sandpipers and a Dunlin (right).
This Curlew Sandpiper was an excellent find for Suzanne Sullivan at Sandy Point, Plum Island on October 8th and provided a fine excuse for a family 'twitch' on Columbus Day. We first found the bird in flight over the dunes at Sandy Point with a small flock of Dunlin and Semi-palmated Plovers, when it was relatively to pick out due to its larger size and vivid white rump. Later we had prolonged views of the bird feeding at the edge of flats and at rest in the tide wrack.
Curlew Sandpipers are more or less annual in MA, but juveniles, such as this bird, are rare with only two listed in the Birds of Massachusetts (Veit & Petersen), and both of those from the month of the September (1985 & 1991). On personal level, this was my first Curlew Sand in the US since an adult in California in 2001, well before my digi-scoping days, so naturally I welcomed the opportunity to grab a few images of this smart, scaly juvenile.
Lots of other nice species present at Sandy Point too, including very close looks at White-rumped Sandpipers and American Pipits.