stilt or curlew sandpiper/Grimsby area

ltcjac at ltcjac at
Sun Sep 14 23:25:30 EDT 2003

    The Grimbsy sewage lagoons (north lagoon) had a nice assortment of
shorebirds, including  numerous Greater and Lesser yellowlegs,
Semipalmated and Least sandpipers, Short-billed dowitcher and Killdeer.
I was looking for the Buff-breasted, and noted a Pectoral sized
sandpiper with a strongly decurved bill feeding next to a Greater
yellowlegs.   After a close look for about 5 minutes, I decided it was a
juvenile Stilt sandpiper. It had a scaly back, and a streaked buffy
breast like a Baird's sandpiper, and a prominent white eye stripe that
broadened behind the eye. The bill was more decurved than any Stilt I've
seen, and somewhat shorter. Since it was persistently feeding belly
deep, I never got a good look at the legs. It was not nearly as skittish
as the yellowlegs, and seemed quite tame. Finally, it flew off, and I
noticed a white rump, and poorly defined white stripe in the upper
wings. Unfortunately I could not determine the leg color.
    I am not familiar with the juvenile plumage of a Curlew sandpiper,
and this bird was definitely a juvenile. If it wasn't for such a sharply
decurved bill, I would call it a Stilt. Also the white on the upper
wings and somewhat shorter bill gave me further doubts.  Comments?

    Also later on I saw about 20 Common Nighthawks feeding over a large
soybean field in the Grand River valley, off RR 17, about 12 km west of
Dunnville. Time 6:30, Weather: just rained, steamy and muggy. Temp mid
70's. Winds SSE, light.

Lewis Crowell
East Aurora, NY USA

ltcjac at

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