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What sandpiper ?

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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 10:07   #1
Jean FRANCOIS
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What sandpiper ?

Hello,
what is this Sandpiper ?
Is it possible that it is a Western ?
USA, Florida, february
Thank you.
Jean
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 11:09   #2
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It is a sandpiper. Black legs and semipalmated feet make it either Western or Semipalmated. Based on the bill size and shape, I would say that it's a Semipalmated Sandpiper.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 11:15   #3
Valéry Schollaert
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I agree on Semipalmated. Very nice to see the "semipalms" !
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 11:40   #4
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That is a nice photo. Semipalmated Sandpiper is very rare in the US in February/winter.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 12:25   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valéry Schollaert View Post
I agree on Semipalmated. Very nice to see the "semipalms" !
Palmations.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 12:45   #6
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Based on my vast experience of 1 individual as soon as i saw the feet i thought gotta be a Semi-P

Laurie -
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 13:07   #7
Jean FRANCOIS
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Originally Posted by Microtus View Post
That is a nice photo. Semipalmated Sandpiper is very rare in the US in February/winter.
An information that I have voluntarily kept so far : the photographer claims that the bird was screaming like a Western
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 13:26   #8
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An information that I have voluntarily kept so far : the photographer claims that the bird was screaming like a Western
Jean
That is interesting!
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 14:04   #9
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Western would be much more common then Semipalmated. I'm curious about the location. There was a Semipalmated Sandpiper reported at Merritt Island NWR in February.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 14:18   #10
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This is why these vernacular names can be misleading - Florida is nowhere near the West.....

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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 14:46   #11
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This is why these vernacular names can be misleading - Florida is nowhere near the West.....

Laurie -
It's a long way west of Europe - but more to the point, Western's breeding range is further west than Semi-p's (though with much overlap). Western is the shorter-distance migrant, wintering mainly on USA lower 48 coasts; Semi-ps almost all go to the southern Caribbean, and Central and northern South America. But that could easily change with the current global overheating: Florida isn't very far north of the current wintering range.

As to which this is; it's a very tricky pair in adult winter plumage. Bill length overlaps, this clearly isn't a 'long-billed' Western, but a 'short-billed' Western can't be ruled out on this alone. Bill curvature may be more useful, and this bird's quite straight bill favours Semi-p. The feathering hardly differs between the two, but Western is described as being a 'slightly cleaner, colder grey' - so this bird's warmer, browner tones would again tend to point more to Semi-p. Hard to be sure though as that may just be a camera light balance effect. Calls are probably the best way to tell them apart; without a recording I can't say, but I'd give a good deal of weight to the photographer's comment.

So, overall: with points in favour of both species, I think this one has to go down as indeterminable between them without further evidence. Sorry!
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 14:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmepler View Post
Western would be much more common then Semipalmated. I'm curious about the location. There was a Semipalmated Sandpiper reported at Merritt Island NWR in February.
Key West, february 2016
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 15:08   #13
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There is an eBird record of a Semipalmated Sandpiper photographed in February 2016 at Long Key State Park campground, which is about 65 miles to the east of Key West.
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S27837252
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 15:23   #14
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Palmations.
Semi-palmations ?

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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 16:10   #15
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1 western sandpipers have palmations as well so that cannot be used as a distinguisher

2 the bill shape is strongly suggestive of semipalmated. Length wise it’s on the long side of the spectrum but the bluntness of the tip and the straightness are very typical of semipalmated and this bill profile is virtually absent in westerns. Anomalies are frequent with peeps though.

3 leg position and head shape are both very suspect characteristic to assess from one photo but appear to both favor western. (Very suspect from one photo)

Any other photos?

Based upon the bill alone if you were to call this a semi you’d be right 99% of the time. Also semis are more common in Florida in January than ebird realizes, though still very rare. I wouldn’t conclusively cast my vote without other photos still.

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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 16:16   #16
Jean FRANCOIS
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Originally Posted by Valéry Schollaert View Post
Semi-palmations ?

That's where the problem is.
The foot of mauri is also semi-palmated.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 17:09   #17
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Originally Posted by tom baxter View Post
Also semis are more common in Florida in January than ebird realizes, though still very rare.
And presumably Key West at the extreme SW tip of Florida, is perhaps more likely to have them than other places in the state?
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 17:26   #18
Jean FRANCOIS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom baxter View Post
Based upon the bill alone if you were to call this a semi you’d be right 99% of the time. Also semis are more common in Florida in January than ebird realizes, though still very rare. I wouldn’t conclusively cast my vote without other photos still.
No other photo, unfortunately.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 17:35   #19
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so the answer is: it IS possible that it is a western sand but, as tom baxter explained, not sure. bill is indeed pretty semipalm-like but would be quite long for that sp; and i also had the same impression about a front-heavy bird (which is, as said, difficult to assess from one single image). so, i'd not put a certain name on it except if the observer is pretty firm in his knowledge about the vocalizations of the two sp.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 19:37   #20
Jean FRANCOIS
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Thank you for all these constructive, if not definitive, opinions.
Jean
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 20:00   #21
Valéry Schollaert
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Some people seem to have misunderstood me. I never stated that "semi-palmations" were an identification feature, I just said it was nice to see them so clearly.

I based my ID on bill, and it is a Semi-p. length and shape IMO. I don't know other characteristic to use to distinguish both in this plumage.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 20:16   #22
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Here are some ramblings...and some reading - https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/f...853-p00876.pdf

Bill structure and length. There is overlap between the two, with short-billed Western and long-billed SemiPs. You could make an argument that the bill on this bird is longer than typical SemiP, but matched by some.

Typical SemiP bills
https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/...-pusilla-2.jpg
https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/...-pusilla-1.jpg
https://rollingharbour.files.wordpre...ce-hallett.jpg

Shorter-billed Western
https://www.audubon.org/sites/defaul...?itok=lSEqNfLR
http://www.pbase.com/gregbirder/imag...8726/large.jpg - a juvenile male with very short bill reminiscent of the OP image

In addition the streaks on the breast are very thin (as with Western) and the wear on the mantle considerable suggesting early moult into winter plumage. SemiP juveniles moult October-December; juvenile Western has largely completed its moult by late September. So is this bird a first-winter? Is the covert near the black alula at the leading edge of the wing a retained juvenile feather? If so and it is a first-winter, does this then account for the excessive wear to the winter/basic scape and coverts?

An interesting and educational bird, but I might, if pushed, plump for Western...

B
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Old Saturday 27th July 2019, 06:46   #23
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Thank you Brian.
This, with the voice noted by the photographer, tilts the balance towards a Western.
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Old Saturday 27th July 2019, 06:59   #24
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Whatever it is had it been found when Ernest ‘Papa’ Hemingway lived on the Keys it would have been shot with a gun not a camera and then there would be no doubt to its identity

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Old Saturday 27th July 2019, 10:45   #25
Valéry Schollaert
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Some people about the bill length, but even on shortest billed Western usually show a very light curved shape on bill tip. OP bird shows a very straight bill, an additional detail pointing towards Semipalmated IMO.
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