Monday, June 20, 2011

Spotted Sandpiper: Late April Migration to Northern Illinois

I spotted this Spotted Sandpiper in Rock Cut State Park, IL; 4/29/2011.
It's no wonder that the sandpiper I most often see is the Spotted Sandpiper, since it is the most widespread breeding sandpiper in North America. It likes ponds and streams on rocky shores, but I have seen it on sand bars as well. I have observed the Spotted Sandpiper along the Kishwaukee River in Espenscheid Forest Preserve, along Lake Pierce in Rock Cut State Park, as well as along the shores of the lake in Bauman Park. Many times I see it at rest standing on one leg (Above).

A BIF shot of a Spotted Sandpiper, Bauman Park, Rockford, IL; 5/5/2010.
The first time  I identified a Spotted Sandpiper was a year ago in Bauman Park. It was already in low evening light and the sun was down, so I was lucky enough to get a somewhat decent BIF shot of it to show its white wing stripe (Above). These sandpipers have olive-brown upperparts with white underparts dotted with bold black spots. It has dull yellow legs, and a black eye-stripe underneath a long white eyebrow, and a long bright orange bill with a black tip.

A "teeter-tail" wading in the shallows of the Kishwaukee River, Espenscheid Forest Preserve, Rockford, IL; 5/5/2011.
Spotted Sandpipers bob their tails up and down while walking or wading (Above). When they feel threatened their teetering becomes faster and they are sometimes known as the "teeter-tail." They breed from northern Alaska and Canada and across much of the northern and midsection of the U.S. It spends winters along the Pacific coast south from British Columbia and across southern states, the Gulf States and south to Central and much of South America.

A "fling" of Spotted Sanpipers resting on a downed tree in Pierce Lake,
Rock Cut State Park, IL; 5/8/2011.
Now for my favorite tidbit - a collective group of Sandpipers are known as ... (get this) ... a "bind," a "fling," a "hill," or a "timestep."
I can't wait to take notice of my next timestep of teeter-tails.

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