• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Unknown flyover calidris from inland Virginia (1 Viewer)

tom baxter

Well-known member
Vagrant? Unknown flyover calidris from inland Virginia

This bird was seen last year on May 8. At the time I think I probably wrote it off a a Pectoral Sandpiper, but now looking back through pictures a number of things don't add up. I can not seem to find a match with any NA shorebird.

I included the original photos but can add cropped ones if anyone wants just let me know.

1. what is with the barring on the flanks?
2. it has a thin straight looking bill in every photo
3. it has horizontal barring on the tail
4. no patagial darkness on the underwing
5. hard to imagine that the pale, whitish rump is an artifact of the photo.

Anyone have any crazy or not so crazy suggestions?
 

Attachments

  • unknown sandpiper.jpg
    unknown sandpiper.jpg
    42.9 KB · Views: 91
  • unknown sandpiper2.jpg
    unknown sandpiper2.jpg
    38.7 KB · Views: 66
  • unknown sandpiper3.jpg
    unknown sandpiper3.jpg
    40.8 KB · Views: 54
Last edited:

tom baxter

Well-known member
cropped
 

Attachments

  • unknown sandpiper5.jpg
    unknown sandpiper5.jpg
    109.5 KB · Views: 74
  • unknown sandpiper6.jpg
    unknown sandpiper6.jpg
    81.5 KB · Views: 37
  • unknown sandpiper4.jpg
    unknown sandpiper4.jpg
    81.3 KB · Views: 74

CARERY

Well-known member
Sometimes waders put their legs up to the belly not streched out. I think this is what happened here. Agree with Lesser Yellowlegs. I think all Calidris should show at least a faint lighter wingbar?
 

tom baxter

Well-known member
Sometimes waders put their legs up to the belly not streched out. I think this is what happened here. Agree with Lesser Yellowlegs. I think all Calidris should show at least a faint lighter wingbar?

Appreciate the input. Personally I find that very hard to believe, but I don’t have a clue what it could be so if you are experienced and seeing this as a yellowlegs then I suppose it is possible.

My problems with yellowlegs are the tail, it should be much more noticeably white, the throat should be pale, the body should be slimmer and frankly I don’t see how it would be physically possible for a yellowlegs to hide it’s legs this much. Even if they very rarely fly with their legs pulled in I don’t think it’s possible for them to bend their legs in a way that they could conceal them completely. I have never seen them do it, i am sure that they can but I just be very rarely done. I agree with the lack of a wing bar being problematic for calidris but everything else structurly looks like a calidris. in the photo of the down stroke you can see the innerwing is thinner than the hand which i think is also calidris-like


Just realized I didn’t add the right photo of the downstroke. I will have to add it later.
 

CARERY

Well-known member
What is your ID for the accompanying waders? Except for the 'missing' legs they just look alike your mystery bird to me.

I suppose you have seen waders standing on one leg sometimes just hopping on the one leg to change the position? When I first observed this behaviour I thought it was a bird that had accidently lost one of it's legs. Just a few seconds later the same bird just walked normaly among others (think it was a Ruff). The second leg was completely concealed by belly feathers. Moreover I have (though rarely) seen waders flying with both their legs 'pulled in'...
 

tom baxter

Well-known member
What is your ID for the accompanying waders? Except for the 'missing' legs they just look alike your mystery bird to me.

I suppose you have seen waders standing on one leg sometimes just hopping on the one leg to change the position? When I first observed this behaviour I thought it was a bird that had accidently lost one of it's legs. Just a few seconds later the same bird just walked normaly among others (think it was a Ruff). The second leg was completely concealed by belly feathers. Moreover I have (though rarely) seen waders flying with both their legs 'pulled in'...

The other birds are lesser yellowlegs. I think the mystery bird looks structurally different aside from the legs but it is an interesting thought. I will surely keep it as a possibility as I circulate the image. Just fyi I have had a field guide author look at it and yellowlegs was not considered at the time. Certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t one and it is a very peculiar looking bird so your guess is as good as anything I have come up with. I lean towards calidris but I am biased because I already had ruled out yellowlegs, maybe even too quickly. Once I get a chance to upload get to my computer I will try to remember to upload the down stroke photo. The wing shape looks calidris to me.

Thanks for stimulating thoughts
 

jalid

Well-known member
frankly I don’t see how it would be physically possible for a yellowlegs to hide it’s legs this much. Even if they very rarely fly with their legs pulled in I don’t think it’s possible for them to bend their legs in a way that they could conceal them completely. I have never seen them do it,
Look at the accompanying photo of Spotted Redshank, also a very long-legged species of Tringa, taken in May in Finland. It is not very rare to see them flying this way, legs hidden. They may look very odd then, especially when juvenile or in winter plumage, this distinctive summer plumage makes species identification easy.
 

Attachments

  • Triery  Söderskär 20160507-BX6Q1921.jpg
    Triery Söderskär 20160507-BX6Q1921.jpg
    156.1 KB · Views: 50

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
+1 for Lesser Yellowlegs. Looks just like the other birds to me, except for the legs not being visible, which has been explained.
 

tom baxter

Well-known member
Thank you all for the input I am being swayed. Pretty cool that they do this, it makes them look like an entirely different bird. +1 on the redshank comparison too. Thanks all.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top