Image a chickadee dressing up for a Halloween as a sandpiper and you’ll get an idea of the size of the smallest of all sandpiper species.
The Peterson Field Guide has a page showing the “peep” sandpipers. There are five of these look-a-like sandpipers. In identifying the sandpiper I photographed today there are a few things to look for. With White-rumped and Baird’s Sandpiper the folded wings extend beyond the tail tip.
That is not the case with today’s bird.
In Western Sandpiper, the legs are dark not yellow.
You can see in the above photos that the St. Lawrence river bird has yellow legs. It also does not have webs between the toes like a Semi-palmated Sandpiper would. This is the well-named Least Sandpiper.
I will identify it at the end of the post.
I took these photos during a short stop by the St. Lawrence just south of Trois-Rivières.
The white tail feathers at the rear identify this as a Mallard.
I came from the sunny valleys
And sought for the open sea,
For I thought in its gray expanses
My peace would come to me. – Sara Teasdale