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

Solitary Sandpiper, Tringa solitaria

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.

Solitary Sandpiper, Tringa solitaria

The Solitary Sandpiper is a small wader (shorebird).

This species measures 18–23 cm (7.1–9.1 in) long, with a wingspan up to 50 cm (20 in) and a body mass of 31–65 g (1.1–2.3 oz). It is a dumpy wader with a dark green back, greyish head and breast and otherwise white underparts. It is obvious in flight, with wings dark above and below, and a dark rump and tail centre. The latter feature distinguishes it from the slightly larger and broader-winged, but otherwise very similar, Green Sandpiper of Europe and Asia, to which it is closely related. The latter species has a brilliant white rump. In flight, the Solitary Sandpiper has a characteristic three-note whistle. They both have brown wings with little light dots, and a delicate but contrasting neck and chest pattern. In addition, both species nest in trees, unlike most other scolopacids.

It breeds in woodlands across Alaska and Canada. It is a migratory bird, wintering in Central and South America, especially in the Amazon River basin, and the Caribbean. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

The Solitary Sandpiper is not a gregarious species, usually seen alone during migration, although sometimes small numbers congregate in suitable feeding areas. The Solitary Sandpiper is very much a bird of fresh water, and is often found in sites, such as ditches, too restricted for other waders, which tend to like a clear all-round view.

The sandpiper lays a clutch of 3–5 eggs in abandoned tree nests of songbird species, such as those of thrushes. The young birds are encouraged to drop to the ground soon after hatching.

Food is small invertebrates, sometimes small frogs, picked off the mud as the bird works steadily around the edges of its chosen pond.

On to my photos:

 

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper, Tringa solitaria

Solitary Sandpiper, Tringa solitaria

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

This is number 152 in my photo life list, only 198 to go!

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

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11 responses

  1. Nice shots, curious where they were taken.

    April 1, 2014 at 9:18 am

    • Thanks! The Muskegon County wastewater treatment facility is where these, and many of the species of shorebirds that I post have been taken.

      April 1, 2014 at 9:22 am

  2. Beautiful bird, but what does “dumpy wader” mean?

    April 1, 2014 at 9:21 am

    • I’m not sure, that’s what I get for using Wikipedia as a source. Also, both Wikipedia and eBirds say that this species has a greenish back, but I don’t see that in my photos, or in the photos from those two sources which are intended to be used for identification purposes. They look brown to me. The bird’s bill looks a bit green, but not their backs.

      April 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

  3. I am going to enjoy following your blog.

    April 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

    • Thank you, I’m glad that you’re enjoying it!

      April 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

  4. This bird sounds like one that would like it here with all of our lakes and ponds, but I don’t remember ever seeing it. You got some nice shots of it.

    April 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    • Thanks, they’re hard to see, you have to watch for motion, then look for the bird.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm

  5. What a good project this is. I notice one of your commentators wondered what dumpy wader meant. Dumpy is a word we use in Britain and it means the wading bird is short, stout and/or thick-set. I’m not sure that that is a good description of your bird!

    April 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    • Thank you! The project does keep me occupied and outside, what more could I ask for?

      Thanks for the explanation, I’m not sure if dumpy fits, but, it is what I found on the web, and the web is never wrong, right? 😉

      April 4, 2014 at 2:56 am

      • Of course it’s never wrong!

        April 4, 2014 at 4:18 am