Two new "year birds” on the afternoon of September 16th tied my September 2014 tally of seven bird species, while two more on Sunday September 20th set a new personal record as the September to remember continues.
The birds I saw were:
Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis) which was first
seen by Dr. Webster in St. Lucy earlier that day. I was happy to see that it hung around as it
became my 85th bird for the year. Buff-breasted Sandpipers are 7-8 inches in
length, Buff (yellowish-brown) allover hence the name, with a pointed, black
bill, rounded head with long yellow legs. These shorebirds prefer short grassy fields.
- A Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris
melanotos) was seen on a flooded road at Vaucluse in the parish of St. Thomas
on my way home after seeing the Buff-breasted Sandpiper. The
bird was very busy feeding on earthworms along with a pair of Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes). Pectorals are 8-9.5
inches with Yellowish green bills and legs, mottled dark brown to black
upperparts while their bellies are white and their breasts are heavily streaked.
- A single Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) was seen on Sunday morning at the same location, Vaucluse, where I had
seen the Pectoral Sandpiper just a few days earlier. These birds can easily be
mistaken for Semipalmated and vice
versa. Something that I know oh so well,
as it happened to me just last month when I mistook a juvenile Semipalmated
with a relatively long bill, for a Western.
- Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) this medium size Tern was also seen on Sunday morning at Six Men’s Bay in the parish of St. Peter. This became my 88th year bird.
With a few days remaining I am aiming for a final tally of ten new Year species for the month. Can I do it? Time will tell but so far it continues to be a September to Remember.