My next post was going to cover making sure the last of August and beginning of September to check your local athletic fields for American-Golden Plovers and Buff-breasted Sandpipers. But since I found some of each I thought I had better do a “special” post. The rest of the weekend I’ll cover later this week.
Saturday afternoon after my usually birding I stopped by St. Francis Soccer Fields (7702 S Arlington Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46237) to check for shorebirds. There are 16 fields stretching over a half mile located behind a locked fenced. I scanned from the small rise along the street.
Of course there was too much air shimmer from the sun but on a far field I thought I made out an American Golden-Plover and possible two Buff-breasted Sandpipers. But maybe they were Pectoral Sandpipers.
Sunday morning I was there at sunrise to beat the air shimmer and to have the sun to my back. And the plan seemed to work with even distant birds showing clearly in the scope.
It didn’t take long scanning through the 350 Killdeer to find the American Golden-Plover. It was close to the road but flushed and still landed on a middle field.
Then the scan for the Buff-Breasted Sandpipers commenced. The far fields must have some undulations because the birds, including the Canada Geese, would disappear out of view and reappear. So I figured I might be in for a long morning.
After 45 minutes a possible Buff-breasted Sandpiper came into view on a FAR field. Then another. I watched them for a few minutes and from the Buff color, small size, not a distinctive breast, and their feeding habit was sure of the ID. But at that distance a photo was going to be poor. I called Mike since I knew he wanted to see them and to confirm the ID.
After an hour off and on seeing them he finally confirmed the ID. The problem was until the sun was high enough and they moved back into a better position the bird’s color and shape weren’t obvious. Mike then proceeded to find a third one.
I left at 9:45 when the ground had started to heat up and the air shimmer from the sun had made scoping the far fields difficult.
If you decide to try for the birds odds are you won’t get close views. My advice is to go in early morning and you’ll need a scope.