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ID 4 peeps, S Texas coast, USA (1 Viewer)

River Girl

Well-known member
United States
These 4 were part of a larger group in which I saw Least and Semipalmated. Please ID these. Thank you
 

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stuartelsom

Registered User
Supporter
United Kingdom
In the first pic from left: Western Sandpiper, 2 Least (note the pale legs) and a bird which could be Semipalmated, but could also be a short-billed Western. The blob-tip profile on the bill points to SemiP, but this species pair can be tricky to separate, hence my caution. The second image shows the same three species (9 Least Sand, 6 Western and a single Semi-P) with the best example of breeding Western Sand being the second bird from the left. Note the bright rufous crown and ear-coverts of WS.

I've attached a couple of full breeding plumaged Western taken on one of my previous spring tours to UTC (Bolivar).

Stu
 

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Butty

Well-known member
1. From left:
stilt sandpiper?? (odd bill, rufous crown+ear-coverts) - or just a dunlin??
I guess least sand
least sand
I guess semi-palmated sandpiper

2. At least 6 least sands and some other stuff :)

(crossed with Stuart's)
 

Butty

Well-known member
1. Good point indeed (y)
2. Obviously (!) I am not assuming that - just as you're not assuming it's a western sand in breeding plumage. Dear me...
 

stuartelsom

Registered User
Supporter
United Kingdom
Okay, swap 'assuming' for 'attaining'. Put another way, a Dunlin on the Texas coast in spring should not show bright rufous ear-coverts and a pale belly.

Stu
 

Butty

Well-known member
a Dunlin on the Texas coast in spring should not show bright rufous ear-coverts and a pale belly.
Excellent. Hence my unease expressed at the outset. Ta. I'm sure though that it's fine for a western sand on etc in spring etc to show bright rufous ear-coverts and no summer flank/chest/scap markings etc. (but I do not doubt your ID).
 

River Girl

Well-known member
United States
In the first pic from left: Western Sandpiper, 2 Least (note the pale legs) and a bird which could be Semipalmated, but could also be a short-billed Western. The blob-tip profile on the bill points to SemiP, but this species pair can be tricky to separate, hence my caution. The second image shows the same three species (9 Least Sand, 6 Western and a single Semi-P) with the best example of breeding Western Sand being the second bird from the left. Note the bright rufous crown and ear-coverts of WS.

I've attached a couple of full breeding plumaged Western taken on one of my previous spring tours to UTC (Bolivar).

Stu
Thank you for so much information. I did think Western was a possibility, and I got a photo of a Semipalmated sticking its foot out showing the feature.
 

stuartelsom

Registered User
Supporter
United Kingdom
No problem,

Further to Butty's comment, I've been looking through my archive for a transitional plumaged Dunlin (in NA of course) which illustrates my point. The most helpful image I can come up with is this image of 2 with a WRS on the left, both taken in Texas probably a week-10 days from now, so as early as the timing is, whilst the head/body moult is progressing, some limited black belly feathering is present.

Dunlin is probably the least photographed wader on a spring tour to Texas...

Hope this helps

Stu
 

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Butty

Well-known member
Useful - ta. Of course one can often see black on the belly of dunlin in spring - but... whether there is always black on the belly as soon as any other breeding plumage is being attained is, of course, quite a different matter.
 

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