Ornithologi

A studio for bird study

Tag: pectoral

New to the World, The Pectoral Sandpiper

by Bryce W. Robinson

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I know I’ve promised photos of the chicks I’ve seen on the tundra, and have yet to share anything. I’ll admit, photographing these little things is a lot more challenging than I had imagined. They seem to never stop moving, and if you don’t keep a keen eye trained to them at all times, they hunker under some grass, no longer to be seen.

I have had a bit of luck, mainly with chicks that are a bit older. One thing I like about looking at lone chicks, is the exercise of identifying the bird. It is a bit tricky, but it forces you to pay attention to certain helpful traits, and ignore body plumage altogether. The first thing I noticed about the young Pectoral Sandpiper pictured above, is the distinctive bill. Pale at the base, dark at the tip, with a slight down curve, thinning at the end. Obviously a Pec!

 

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Pectoral Sandpiper- Calidris melanotos

by Bryce W. Robinson

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The Pectoral Sandpiper is one of the most common sandpipers in the areas I’ve been frequenting. These birds have one of my favorite flight displays. The male flies low over the tundra, filling his anterior air sacs with air to increase the resonance of his calls. Close your mouth, and in a low voice repeat goo goo goo goo, and you have produced the sound of the displaying male Pectoral Sandpiper. I’m making attempts to record this behavior, but all I have so far are some very poor photographs. I thought I’d share one just to help paint the picture of the bizarre behavior.

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The behaviors here are fascinating. This is only a taste of the smorgasbord of incredible bird life that is available here in the thawing tundra summer. I can’t wait to capture and share more.