Solitary Sandpiper

Hey guys, welcome back. Back to shorebirds today for the solitary sandpiper. As its name suggests, the solitary sandpiper is often seen alone. They are a medium-sized shorebird, about the size of a robin, but taller. They sport a distinctive eye-ring, have an olive-brown head and upperparts, with some mottling of white, and have a white belly. They often bob their tails (or more accurately, the entire rear of their bodies) up and down. In flight, the white belly contrasts with dark underwings, making for a unique color pattern compared to other shorebirds.

Solitary sandpipers were fairly common in Central Park in spring, and one of only two sandpipers I ever saw inside the park itself (the other being the spotted sandpiper.) They prefer boggy muddy area, but aren’t too particular beyond that and will thus show up in lots of areas, even away from the shore. They are also one of only two shorebirds that lay their eggs in trees, as opposed to on the ground. They will re-use old nests of birds like American robins, eastern kingbirds, and Canada jays. The solitary sandpiper can be found in every one of the lower 48 states during migration and nest in nearly every Canadian province as well as Alaska. They’re a pretty easy sandpiper to ID, and getting used to them helps more unfamiliar birds stick out from the pack, or flock as the case may be. Next up, back to warblers! See you then!

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