In Dec 1999 there was a "Rock Sand" at Ft Bragg (Virgin Creek) with bright orange-yellow legs and bare parts. I was confused by this at the time.
Surprisingly, Hayman et al.'s "Shorebirds" makes no mention whatsoever that bare part coloration can be used to distinguish Rock and Purple. They focus on the pattern of white on the wings and sharpness of the spots on lower breast and flanks. There's been a Purple Sand in Utah this winter with considerable discussion re: the ID.
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>>> Ken Burton <shrikethree@...> 01/09/11 8:21 PM >>>
This afternoon Jon Dunn (who, I'm told, has some credibility - wink,
wink) found a candidate PURPLE SANDPIPER on the North Jetty at the mouth
of Humboldt Bay. A couple of dozen birders made it out there over the
next few hours. I don't know that anyone is absolutely convinced yet
but people did get photos, which I imagine will be posted somewhere
There were three obvious Rock Sandpipers there and one bird with a
distinctly more orange, and apparently thicker, bill base; and seemingly
less-distinct underpart markings, more like streaks than spots. The
bill also looked slightly longer to me. Some people thought it had
brighter legs and was paler, but I'm not sure I agree and I think Purple
is supposed to be darker, not paler.
The flock containing these birds was on the south side of the jetty near
the tip late in the afternoon around high tide.
I didn't find this bird and saw it only briefly but the silence has been
deafening and I thought someone should break it and get the word out.
Those of you who were just here for the Brown Shrike may be wishing I
If you do go and aren't familiar with the site, there are some things
you should know:
1) You can drive all the way to the base of the jetty if you have 4WD;
otherwise you will have to walk the last half mile.
2) The jetty is very dangerous. It is slippery all the time and waves
often break over it.
3) Climbing on the dolosse, which you may need to do to see the birds,
is extremely risky. We don't want to lose anyone, and we don't want to
lose access. Please be careful!
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