Sunday, August 01, 2010

Spotted or Solitary?

photo by MURRAY HEAD, who entitled it "Questionable Sandpiper"

Murray sent in the photo above with a quote from Tom Fiore's report posted yesterday:

"Spotted Sandpipers also have begun to reappear & there will likely be other new southbound migrants in the coming week."

Murray's note continued:

"I spotted a solitary sandpiper last week on the west side of the Point... but I don't know if he is Spotted."

Here's my answer to Murray, who is a great photographer but an insecure birdwatcher:

Murray, the back of the sandpiper in your beautiful photo is a plain brown color. That's what the Spotted Sandpiper looks like in the fall, even when it is solitary. The back of the Solitary Sandpiper both in the spring and the fall is spotted [with small white spots]!

PS There are a few other differences between the two species...