Fall Shorebirds of Seapoint


Least Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Plover

Baird's Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper



• Pectoral Sandpiper

• Purple Sandpiper

• Ruddy Turnstone

• Killdeer

• Black-bellied Plover

• Greater Yellowlegs

• Quiz


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Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)

7.5" Length. Usually seen singly, anytime, does not interact much with other shorebirds. Breeding plumage seen in August and early September, nonbreeding plumage seen September through October, juveniles after late July.

Spotted Sandpipers are shorter-necked and longer-tailed than the Calidris sandpipers. They are best known for their distinctive habit of bobbing their tail and body constantly as they wander about foraging and they have a stiff-winged flight pattern that sometimes has a bit of pause in the flapping. They breed across Canada and all but the most southern US states, but do not breed as far north as most of the other shorebirds you'll find at Seapoint. Juvenile and nonbreeding plumages are almost indistinguishable. Below is a nonbreeding adult.

Here's a breeding plumage adult I spotted in late August, not only is there a prominent spotted pattern on the throat, breast and belly, but the wings and back are also mottled with darker brown markings. Breeding plumage birds also have a brighter and more orange-ish bill which is dark only at the very tip.

Less of a standout in the weed wrack.

With Spotteds, the hardest thing is to tell apart a juvenile from a winter adult. But in early August it's easy, any adult is going to be spotted and any unspotted, a juvenile. Here's part of a family, or what I presumed was a family, since there was one spotted adult with a total of 4 unspotted juveniles

Below may be a juvenile or not, I can't tell, the plumage is much the same as the nonbreeding adult but there is more patterning on the wing and back feathers, whereas in nonbreeding adults the faint pattern seems to be confined to the wing, at least according to the illustrations in Sibley's.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos from Seapoint of Spotted Sandpipers mixing with other shorebirds or in flight.

Next > Sanderling

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