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.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pectoral Sandpiper

Calidris melanotos

  • Medium-sized shorebird
  • Medium-sized, slightly drooping, dark bill
  • Yellowish legs
  • Black patch on rump extending onto tail
  • Thin, white wing stripe  
  • Brown head with dark streaks
  • Pale supercilium
  • Black back feathers and wing coverts with brown edges
  • Brown breast with fine streaks ending abruptly and contrasting with white underparts
  • Similar to adult
  • Back feathers and wing coverts with pale brown, rust, or golden edges
  • White 'V's on back
  • Dark rusty crown

Listen to its call.
And now for a couple of definitions. The supercilium is the eyebrow region.  Wing coverts are the feathers that cover the base of quill feathers.

I saw these two shorebirds at McIntyre Reservoir, in the Martindale area, a few days ago. Although this is private property, the land owner kindly allows birders access to view the reservoir from the dike surrounding it. I wasn't able to get too close to these birds but you can still get a clear picture of the sharp border between the dark breast and the white belly. The legs in these photos look quite dark but I think it is just the lighting, or quite possibly mud.  It's curious how their bellies remain so white. 

Learn more about the Pectoral Sandpiper.

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