This week’s photo, taken September 13, 2014 at Discovery Park in Seattle, WA, features a WESTERN SANDPIPER, in flight with its “peeps.”
Sandpipers, especially the small ones, can be notoriously difficult to tell apart. Often, we are forced to view them from a great distance, making it tough to detect much detail. Even if they fly close by, they move so darn fast and turn and bank so often that it’s mighty hard to figure out what specific birds we have in front of us. To make matters worst, many types of sandpipers look amazingly similar to others when they are not in breeding plumage, and most of us are likely to be in the presence of the non-breeding variety (unless you happen to live in the far northern latitudes where most sandpipers nest).
Small sandpipers are casually called “peeps,” and many people use that term when they have difficulty figuring out the exact species. Last Saturday at Discovery Park, a flock of “peeps” zoomed right by us. We suspected that the fast-moving birds were all one species, but when they landed conveniently close to us, we noticed a lone SANDERLING mixed in with the group of 24 WESTERN SANDPIPERS.
View Joe’s Best Bird Photos at: http://joe-sweeney.fineartamerica.com