Saturday, March 21, 2009

Solitary Sandpipers

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm finally making a quick post about birding on Thursday. I had the afternoon off and spent about 3 hours birding Lake Creek Trail starting at the new parking lot and walking the entire length to the Parmer Village development. On the creek next to the parking lot I found a new bird for the year -- 2 Solitary Sandpipers. I got this picture of one, eating something it just caught. These birds breed in the boreal forests of Alaska and Canada, and they winter in central and south America. A few actually winter in south Texas, and sometimes a few can be found in the Austin area in the winter. 2 winters ago I actually found a few on Lake Creek. But since then I have only seen them here during migration and in the summer.

It's interesting. Many shorebirds like the Solitary Sandpiper spend very little time actually on their breeding grounds. According to the TAS Austin-area checklist, Solitary Sandpipers are most common around here from mid-March to mid-May during spring migration, and then from July until September during their fall migration. So from March until September, that leaves only about a month and a half when we don't see any in the Austin area either heading north or heading south.

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