Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - Irondequoit Bay, New York
10-11 October 2002

On Thursday 10 October 2002 Dominic Sherony found a juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpiper near Lasalle Landing Park on Irondequoit Bay on the outskirts of Rochester, New York. Several local observers managed to rush over and see the bird. The next morning it was relocated with up to 50 Pectoral Sandpipers and appeared off and on during the day. Here are a series of digiscoped pictures supplemented by a brief description from Willie D'Anna and Betsy Potter taken on Friday 11 October 2002. This is a review species for New York State and allobservers are strongly encouraged to submit descriptions, photos, video or sketches to the New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC) so that this great find be recorded for posterity.

"DESCRIPTION: This is a juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and it has been associating with Pectoral Sandpipers (over 50 in the morning) which is typical of this species in North America.  It is very similar to a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper but can be picked out by its brighter red cap and brighter white supercilium which extends further back on the head than it does on most (but not all) Pectorals.  The breast is orangy buff, much brighter than on the Pectorals and, as on the Pec's, it is sharply demarcated from the white belly and undertail coverts.  Streaking is limited to just below the throat (and a few blurred streaks extending onto the sides of the belly) and does not extend to the bottom of the buff color as it does on the Pectorals. The undertail coverts are streaked which is another objective field mark for helping to separate the two species.  The scapulars and tertail edges were slightly brighter rufous than on all of the Pec's as well.  This individual was slightly larger than most of the Pec's.  Note that there is considerable variation among the Pec's so simply finding a bird that has a brighter cap and whiter supercilium is not enough to ID this bird.  Look for the breast pattern and undertail coverts." (Posted by Willie D'Anna to NYSBIRD-L on Friday 11 Oct. 2002).

Figure 1.  Photograph copyright of Willie D'Anna© 2002

Figure 2. Photograph copyright of Willie D'Anna© 2002

Figure 3. Photograph copyright of Willie D'Anna© 2002

Figure 4. Photograph copyright of Willie D'Anna© 2002

Figure 5. A very nice comparison shot with a Pectoral Sandpiper (rear). Photographs copyright of Willie D'Anna© 2002

Figure 6. Another comparison with Pectoral Sandpiper. Photograph copyright of Willie D'Anna© 2002

Click here for photos of adult Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, and adult Pectoral Sandpipers.

Photographs copyright of Willie D'Anna© 2002 All rights reserved.
Page layout copyright of Angus Wilson© 2002 All rights reserved.
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