For the Birds: Sandpiper in the puddle

Here’s the latest For the Birds column …

Photo by Chris Bosak
A least sandpiper seen in New England.

This moment existed only because of the heavy rains we experienced last week. The body of water was small, shallow, algae-ridden and not at all something to behold.

OK, it was a puddle. No more, no less … your typical run-of-the-mill puddle.

Until a least sandpiper showed up and transformed the puddle into an exotic waterscape. The small shorebird was migrating south earlier this week and saw the puddle as the perfect place to rest and perhaps find an easy meal.

It had flown in from somewhere up north and was on its way to points south. But for a few hours anyway, home was a puddle in New England.

The bird paid little attention to me as I watched and photographed it for several minutes. Migrating birds can be like that. They are intensely focused on fueling and resting for their long journey.

The funny thing about the sighting was the location of the puddle. It exists on and off — depending on the weather — at a dirt parking area that Continue reading

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Never mind Waldo, where’s the sandpiper?

Photo by Chris Bosak Where's the Least Sandpiper in this photo?

Photo by Chris Bosak
Where’s the Least Sandpiper in this photo?

You all did so well on the last “find the bird” quiz, that I figured I’d give you another one. This one, I have to say, is much more difficult with its two distinct sides of the photo (a dry side and wet side.)

I grabbed this photo of a Least Sandpiper while volunteering to monitor Piping Plovers and Least Terns at Coastal Center at Milford Point in Milford, CT. It demonstrates the challenges birdwatchers have when it comes to finding and identifying shorebirds. It’s no wonder why so many people refer to them all simply at “peeps.” The camouflage is remarkable. The eggs laid by shorebirds are even more amazingly camo’d.

More importantly, it demonstrates how well their coloration and markings make it difficult for predators, such as Peregrine Falcons, to spot them.

So good luck in finding the bird. As a small hint, the bird is small in the photo, but not impossible to find. I’ll post the answer in a few days. If you can’t wait and need more hints, drop me a line at bozclark@earthlink.net

If you missed the last one — in which a Piping Plover was hidden in the photo — here it is.

Thanks for checking out http://www.birdsofnewengland.com.