Wednesday, August 15, 2018

White-rumped Sandpipers at Port Isabel Reservoir, 8/15/18

I decided to hit some shorebird spots today to see if I could turn up something unusual.  I had some birds in mind, but the three White-rumped Sandpipers at the Port Isabel Reservoir were not on my radar.  White-rumps pass through the Rio Grande Valley in good numbers in May and even into early June on their way to the high Arctic to breed.  But their return route takes them down the east coast of the US to their wintering rounds in southern South America.  They are very rare fall migrants in Texas.

When I found the first one, with it's long attenuated shape, I thought I had found a Baird's Sandpiper.  But the color was off and the breast streaking was too heavy.  That white superciliary was weird too.

And then it flew and I saw the white rump and knew I had made a good discovery.

Later I came across this individual which looked more like the White-rumps I see in May.  Here it is with a Western Sandpiper  and then with a Wilson's Phalarope.

Then a third darker individual came along and I got a shot of the second and third White-rumped Sandpipers together.  I checked on the first bird and it was a ways down the mudflats but still in view as I watched these two.

Flight shots of the third bird.

Maybe whatever caused to guys to stray off their normal course will bring down some other shorebird rarities.  I hope so.

And then I checked out South Padre Island and didn't encounter any unusual shorebirds.  But this Prairie Warbler at the Convention Center was a nice find.

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