Solitary Sandpiper: Dr. J. Murray Speirs

As the name suggests this bird is often seen alone, or in small groups.

Solitary Sandpiper

I have usually seen my first in the second or third week of May, but sometimes miss them on the way north and have to wait until they return in July.

Solitary Sandpiper

On their breeding ground in northern Ontario you may find the agitated parents proclaiming from the tops of dead spruces by roadside puddles. Unlike most sandpipers, they nest in trees.

Solitary Sandpiper

I have often been alerted to their presence by their calls, which resemble the “wheet-wheet-wheet” whistles of the Spotted Sandpiper but given at a much higher pitch.

Solitary Sandpiper

They are a little bigger than “Spotties”, darker in colour, with black-barred outer tail feathers and prominent “spectacles” (white eye rings, with white lines running forward from these).

Solitary Sandpiper

The different manner of flight ands the white dots on the dark back also distinguish them from the Spotted Sandpiper, with which they often associate during migration.

Dr. J. Murray Speirs

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