There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Least Sandpiper

Calidris minutilla

Small sandpiper
Short, dark bill, drooping at tip
Yellowish legs
Brown head
White underparts

  • Whitish supercilium with darker crown and eyeline
  • Gray-brown to black back feathers and wing coverts with brown edges
  • Thin, white wing stripe
  • Brown breast with black spotting
  • Gray-brown breast band usually present
  • Black line on rump extending onto tail
  • Pale supercilium with rusty crown
  • Black back feathers and wing coverts with bright rusty edges
  • White "V" on back
  • Breast with golden cast and fine streaking
Listen to its call.

Dozen of these birds were foraging at the upper edge of the mudflats when I visited Panama Flats last week. These birds may be the smallest shorebirds in the world, but what they lack in size they certainly make up for in number.   

Learn more about the Least Sandpiper.

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