Wht-rumped Sandpipers @ Eagle Lakes Park, Naples
Walt Winton and I arrived at Eagle Lakes shortly after sunrise today (Sat 1 May)
and quickly found a long-winged calidrid sandpiper. As the light improved we
were able to identify this individual as a very likely White-rumped Sandpiper.
We waited for the definitive indicator, the white rump, to clinch it 100%.
While never seeing the rump as well as we would have liked, a few quick glimpses
while preening or in short flight indicated a lot of white back there! I did
see the lower mandible well enough to pick up an orangish color at the base.
Speaking of the bill, it did not appear straight to us, but definitely drooped a
bit. More like the Least Sandpipers around it then the occasional Semipalmated
Sandpiper that came by. There was a very obvious rufous color to the cap and
ear coverts, with no buff color throughout the head and neck. The supercilium
is very prominent. The chest was noticeably streaked and mildly buff colored,
but along the sides a few streaks did reach the flanks. At this point, I do not
expect the bird has completely molted into breeding plumage, and the field marks
present will only become more obvious over time. Certainly one of the
difficulties separating Wht-rumped and Baird's at this time of year is many are
transitioning, or in-between non-breeding and breeding plumage. The behavior
was also more in line with what much of the published literature describes for
Wht-rumped. When it was foraging, it seemed to be exclusively in water from
mid-leg to above the belly, and often probed with its head submerged.
Eventually the shorebirds present shifted their location, and at least one
other, possibly two, Wht-rumped SPs were discovered. It is an excellent time
for them to be staging after a long flight from South America, so with east
winds I would not be surprised to see this number increase over time.
Most of the previously reported birds are still present, with a few Stilt
Sandpipers in spectacular breeding plumage. No sign of a Baird's Sandpiper
today. There are good numbers of shorebirds scattered around outstanding
habitat, so anything could certainly be present and missed when concentrating on
mainly the gazebo area as we did.
I hope to post some pictures to the list's home page soon.
Cape Coral, FL