Stilt Sandpiper, Maybe? – Weekend Highlights

When it’s the end of August, the temperature is 74F, the humidity is 90% at 5AM, and there is a chance of thunderstorms all day, you hope the birding isn’t going to slow. But if you have birded long enough to read the signs you know it is going to be slow. And it was. Almost eerily quiet. So not many highlights.

Franklin Township Community Park was the start of the day for a little owling which didn’t pan out but I had my first encounter of the year with mosquitoes. It was just a matter of time before all the rain started to produce good number of them.¬† The reason I picked Franklin Township Community Park was because it’s adjacent to watered high school athletic fields and this is a good time of year to check them for shorebirds. They aren’t as productive as sod farms but you never know. Like the time I found the American Golden Plovers in Franklin.

KILL (1)
Taken right before sunrise this photo shows some of the 50 Killdeer on the athletic fields. One never knows when an American Golden-Plover or Buff-breasted Sandpiper might show. 8/27/16

On to the local shorebird spot and the morning departure of Canada Geese. It doesn’t take long for 500 geese to fly off even in smaller groups of 25.

A quick binocular scan didn’t produce many shorebirds besides Killdeer and a few peeps. And one Lesser Yellowlegs. Or not?

STSA (2) Stilt Sandpiper
My first impression was a Lesser Yellowlegs. But it wasn’t feeding in a frenzied manner.
STSA (6)
The legs seemed a little too short and the bill not needle enough.
STSA (10)
It then came into view a little better and the bright supercilium started pointing to a Stilt Sandpiper.
STSA1
Here is a cropped and enlarged photo. Bill doesn’t look long enough for a Stilt Sandpiper but it might be the angle.
STSA (17)
Even in this blurry distant photo you can tell the size compared to the Killdeer. Even feeding a Lesser Yellowlegs legs should appear¬†longer than the Killdeer’s legs whereas a Stilt Sandpiper’s would be about the same. And in this pose the bill appears fairly thick.

Am I 100% sure it is a Stilt Sandpiper? No. In the field it didn’t appear or act to be a Lesser Yellowlegs. And everyone is encouraged to chime in if they have an opinion.

No birding Sunday as the day was spent painting the daughter’s bedroom. Luckily she has no more rooms to paint!

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