Spotted Sandpiper: Dr. J. Murray Speirs

This is the familiar sandpiper that runs along the beach ahead of you, stopping to teeter up and down every few steps, and whistling as if calling your dog “wheet, wheet, wheet”.

Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper (winter plumage)

Unlike most other sandpipers, which are birds of passage, the “spotty” breeds throughout Ontario, at the edge of lakes and streams, or even on ploughed fields.

Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper (winter plumage)

With its plain, brown back, white breast (with big black spots in adults, but plain white in young), its teetering habit (shared with the Solitary Sandpiper) and characteristic whistle, it is easily identified.

Spotted Sandpiper (winter plumage)
Spotted Sandpiper (winter plumage)

The habit of circling out over the water on stiff, fluttering wings, separates it from the Solitary Sandpiper, which flies with the usual more direct, rowing flight of mot other shorebirds.

Solitary Sandpiper (photo: wikimedia)
Spotted Sandpiper (winter plumage)
Spotted Sandpiper (winter plumage)

Dr. J. Murray Speirs

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