Photo by BarrytheBirder
This Spotted Sandpiper, which I photographed today, appears to have enjoyed a well-fed summer. He or she looks just a little plumper than those in my field guides. Which is good, of course, given that its winter migration may take it as far as northern Argentina. This is the sandpiper that bobs its tail up and down with every step that it takes. My Royal Ontario Museum Field Guide describes its flight thusly: "Shallow, rapid, fluttering wingbeats. Deep stroke flight characteristic of most shorebirds rarely see. Sails low over water on stiff wings." Considering it may fly to Argentina this fall, one can't help but wonder about the efficiency of its tense flying style. Because it is mid-September or perhaps because this is a first-year bird, there are no spots on its breast or belly, which give it its alliterative name.
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