Sandpipers – Shorebirds of of West Texas


In west Texas. when sandpipers are mentioned, it brings to mind little birds pecking around in the desert.  At least, that to the un-informed.  Meaning the non-birder.   Well, we out here do have rivers, albeit small in comparison of the giants waterways of the mid-west and the east.  We also have lakes, albeit all man-made, with the lone exception of Caddo Lake in east Texas.

Sandpipers are little skitterish little birds that scamper along the shorelines feeding in the shallow water.  There are many other shore birds besides the sandpipers but we’ll get into those another day.  The problem with these species is that all resemble one another, making identification difficult.  I have six photographs here, and I dearly hope that I haven’t got them mixed up or mis-identified.  It was good practice for me to write this.

First we have the Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus).  8.5 inches, weight 2 oz.  Wingspan 18 in. Long legs and a slightly drooping bill.

Stilt Sandpiper

 

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca).  Similar to the sandpipes but a little larger.  14 inches, weight 6 oz. and 28 in. wingspan.  They forage after small fish, and bob their when alarmed.  It has a slghtly upturned bill.

Greater Yellowlegs

 

The Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) is smaller than the yelowlegs.  8.5 in.  1.8 oz and 22 inch wingspan.  It has a distinctive spectacle eye-ring.

Solitary Sandpiper

 

The Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) is a tiny thing weighing less than an ounce.  6.5 inches tall with a wingspan of only 14 inches.  Has a bit mor rufous color.

Western Sandpiper

 

The Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia) 7.5 inches, 8 oz., and 26 inch wingspan.   It is a little larger and heavier, and has striking markings when seen in flight.

Spotted Sandpiper

 

And last and certainly the least is the Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla).  Only 6 inches tall, weighs .7 oz, and has wingspan of only 13 inches.  Has small head, thin pointed bill, and crouching posture.

Least Sandpiper

 

I hope you enjoyed these pictures of some of our popular sandpiper type birds.  More shorebirds will follow in another post.  Click on any photo to see an enlargement.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Sandpipers – Shorebirds of of West Texas

  1. Where is the ” Western ” shore of Texas? Living in Houston I only know of the eastern shore?

  2. Pingback: Rarity Focus – It's A Bird's Life

  3. Very impressive, Bob. I never get close enough to get enough detail – but many of these look very familiar…I think I just saw Mr. G.L. a few weeks ago – he must be a fast flier. 🙂

    • Sandpipers, and really most shore birds, really give me fits trying to identify them. There are so many similarities. But, I am glad that I am impressing you. 🙂

      Thanks again, Cindy

      Bob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s