In Ontario, this is chiefly a fall migrant, though some may be found in spring and a few have lingered into winter. It is a tundra breeder and a few have been found in summer along Ontario’s Hudson Bay strip of tundra.
They winter in the southern USA and in the mountains south to Guatemala. I usually see them in fall on ploughed fields or on mudflats with shorebirds.
Its general colouration reminds me of a dull, immature Yellow-rumped Warbler, but without the yellow rump of that species. It shows narrow white edges to the tail, which it pumps up and down like a waterthrush or a Spotted Sandpiper.
The flight is very erratic, birds of a flock rising high in the air, then falling, weaving in and out, uttering “pip-it” or “tsit – it” notes somewhat resembling the flight notes of Horned Lark (with which they often associate).
Dr. J. Murray Speirs