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Western Sandpiper

Pescadero, CA is my new favorite place.  They have a beach, marshes, and Butano State Park.  Today was an exceptionally good day for birding.  I saw several new types of birds and several well-known birds that are experiencing a molt in anticipation of their winter plumage.
The most exciting discovery of today was seeing Western Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers.  I’ll discuss the plovers in a later post.
Western Sandpipers travel in large flocks.

Here is a close-up of two.  Aren’t they beautiful?

I really like the lighter brown feathers on their wings.  They look distinct in the above picture, but against other backgrounds, the brown helps them blend completely. 

Below is a comparison of the sandpipers with a Heermann’s Gull for size.  They’re very small birds.
Western Sandpipers eat aquatic insects, worms, small mollusks, and crustaceans from shallow water.  The sandpipers to the left of the gull above are searching for food.
I was photographing the sandpipers in some shallow water when I discovered a huge group of them napping and preening.  I almost walked into them, they were so well hidden.  You see the brown section at the bottom of the photograph?  Those are birds!
When you are close to them, you can hear the cheep noises that they constantly make.
Below is an even better picture.  You can really see how they blend here.
I saw them in other sections of the beach and when they were not eating, they always chose to be near debris that served as camouflage.
I’ve been tracking my life list of birds on Birdpost and today’s discoveries put me up to 82.

One Response to “Western Sandpiper”

  1. […] know I’ve written about Western Sandpipers before, but this time you can see their winter plumage.  Anywhere you see rock formations in the ocean, […]