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September 2007


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Allan Strong <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 10 Sep 2007 13:49:31 -0400
text/plain (87 lines)
Let me through out a couple questions...maybe you can answer them 
Walter.  To me, the facial pattern seems wrong for a Semipalmated, which 
seem to show a stronger supercilium pattern.  Is this a useful ID 
point?  Additionally, not being a real expert on Baird's, I would think 
that the primary projection on bird #1 despite perhaps not being as long as 
a "typical" Baird's, is still longer than what you would see on a 
Semipalmated, especially if you compare extension beyond the tail as 
opposed to beyond the tertials.  Since the "scaley" back pattern of Baird's 
seems to be an easy way to pick juvenile birds out of large flocks, I find 
that I probably don't pay as close attention to molt patterns in adult 
Baird's.  Would adults still be in alternate (worn, presumably, obviously 
not the case here) plumage in VT in September or do they molt prior to 


At 11:45 AM 9/10/2007 -0400, you wrote:
>Hi Jeff, et. al.,
>I agree that images two and three are juvenile Baird's Sandpiper, image 
>four is a juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs, and image five is a juvenile 
>Semipalmated Plover (as I am sure you knew already).
>The bird in image one I also took for a Baird's at first, but it clearly 
>could not be the same individual as the one in images two and three as it 
>is much rustier looking and the coverts are very different (whitish 
>limited to the feather tips with a lot more rich buff). On further 
>examination I have come to the conclusion that the bird in image one is a 
>juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper, a remarkably unworn bird at that. Anyone 
>who doubts this should compare the primary projections of the definite 
>Baird's in images two and three and the bird in the first image. In the 
>first bird only three primary tips can be easily seen and only two project 
>far beyond the longest tertial. In the Baird's shown here four primary 
>tips extend well beyond the longest tertial. Other details that point to 
>Semipalmated include length of tarsus, both above and below the heel joint 
>(notice how tall the Baird's looks versus bird one), rusty-edged 
>scapulars, bill shape and length (again compare birds), and the short 
>neck; Baird's tend to have a long, rather gull or tern-like, neck that 
>makes them look more gracile (see image two of the alert-posture Baird's). 
>The broad whitish tips on the Baird's coverts make it look scalier as 
>opposed to the mostly rich warm buff edging of the coverts in the 
>Semipalmated, hence the overall rusty-buff appearance of bird one. Thanks 
>for the superb photos, better than the images of Baird's and fresh juv 
>SemiSand I reviewed in Paulson and "The Shorebird Guide", looking at them 
>was most educational for me. A bird in motion, whose calls and actions add 
>to plumage and shape information, often presents fewer ID problems than a 
>still photo or a bird in the hand.
>Good birding,
>Walter Ellison
>23460 Clarissa Rd
>Chestertown, MD 21620
>(formerly of Hartland and White River Jct., VT)
>Observing Nature is like unwrapping a big pile of presents every time you 
>take a walk.
>Jeff Nadler wrote:
>>A few photos from a morning visit at Dead Creek.  Although taken in 
>>several far apart places, I beleive the several photos of the first 
>>sandpiper are the same species ( saw several of these together each 
>>time). The black legs but slightly curved bill, to me suggest juvy 
>>white-rumped, or western. (least have green-yellow legs and semi-palmated 
>>has straight bill). Not sure though. Can anyone offer ID suggestion? Thanks.
>>Jeff Nadler

Allan M. Strong
University of Vermont
The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
347 Aiken Center
Burlington, VT 05405