My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Pectoral Sandpiper, Calidris melanotos

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Calidris melanotos

The Pectoral Sandpiper is a small, migratory wader that breeds in North America and Asia, wintering in South America and Oceania. It eats small invertebrates. Its nest, a hole scraped in the ground and with a thick lining, is deep enough to protect its four eggs from the cool breezes of its breeding grounds. The pectoral sandpiper is 21 cm long, with a wingspan of 46 cm.

The Pectoral Sandpiper is a largish calidrid (21 cm in length, with a wingspan of 46 cm) with a grey-brown back, brownest in the summer male, and greyest in winter. The Pectoral Sandpiper has a grey breast, sharply demarcated at its lower edge, which gives this species its English name; this clear dividing line is particularly conspicuous if the birds are turned towards the observer. The legs are yellowish, and the bill is olive with a darker tip.

The juveniles are more brightly patterned above with rufous coloration and white mantle stripes.

It is a very long-distance migrant, and about half of the species breeds in the boggy tundra of northeast Asia, the rest nesting in a range from Alaska to central Canada. The American and most of the Asian birds winter in South America, but some Asian breeders winter in southern and Australia and New Zealand. On migration and in winter, the Pectoral Sandpiper is typically found in freshwater habitats.

These birds forage on grasslands and mudflats, picking up food by sight, sometimes by probing. They mainly eat arthropods and other invertebrates. The male has a courtship display which involves puffing up his breast, which has a fat sac in the breeding season to enhance his performance.

On to my photos:

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral sandpiper

Pectoral sandpiper

Pectoral sandpiper

Pectoral sandpiper

Pectoral sandpiper

Pectoral sandpiper

This is number 124 in my photo life list, only 226 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!



12 responses

  1. I thought I may have seen some of these here, but a lot of the shore birds tend to look quite similar. The ones I’ve seen have been hanging out on the rocks near the surf. Not freshwater at all.

    September 18, 2013 at 3:23 am

    • Thanks! You wouldn’t believe how many hours I’ve spent using three online field guides identifying the shorebirds I’ve photographed. And people told me warblers were hard to ID, they are a piece of cake compared to shorebirds.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

  2. If this one got into the grass I’d never see him unless he moved. Nice shots!

    September 18, 2013 at 6:25 am

    • Thanks! I can’t tell you the number of times that I was standing someplace when one of these shorebirds appeared out of nowhere. They blend in so well with everything that unless they move, they are hard to see.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:42 am

  3. I’ll be sad when you’ve shot the last 226.

    September 18, 2013 at 7:01 am

    • Thanks, but I doubt if I will get every one of them. But, there will always be photos of birds appearing in my blog, along with the flowers and other things I see.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:37 am

  4. Great shots!

    September 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    • Thank you, those shots are better than the falcon shots from the last trip there, but I thought that the falcon would get more comments

      September 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm

  5. Now I’m starting to have photo envy. Hope I made your day. 🙂

    September 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    • Thanks Emily, you did, but I know that you’re just kidding me. 😉

      September 28, 2013 at 8:15 am

      • Oh no..not kidding at all my dear. Funny, woke up this morning thinking of you. Missing our little vignettes. Hope you’ve had great week

        September 28, 2013 at 8:21 am

      • Thanks. I had a fantastic week, shot over 1,000 photos to sort, spent several nights in campgrounds so quiet that I could hear the wings of moths as they fluttered around the lantern, and saw some terrific scenery. But, as I often do, I burned myself out by pushing too hard to see and do too much in each day. You’ll see as I post about this week.

        It was a week where as I would be setting up for a landscape shot, and eagle would fly into the frame, if that tells you how good it was.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:29 am