Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tiny Spotted Sandpiper chicks

I had to sneak up and sit, partially hidden from the parent, about 35 feet from where I watched the Spotted Sandpiper chicks in order for the parent bird to let these chicks come out from inside the vegetation where I could watch and photograph them. The parent continued in a state of alert and called the chicks back into hiding several times when other park users walked by. I was able to see two chicks together at one point but not sure if there may have been more as otherwise I only saw one at a time, and then usually at least partially obstructed by some vegetation.
I was surprised to see such young chicks already doing the Spotted Sandpiper teetering. I am more amazed to read in Birds of North America (BNA) online that this begins within 30 minutes of hatching-these are indeed a precocial species.
As I watched the chicks spent a lot of time in the cover of vegetation but when in view they would peck on the ground. BNA says they begin feeding themselves about 2 hours after hatching. Like other shorebird chicks they are cute little downy critters. This is the first time I have found young Spotted Sandpipers or other evidence of their breeding along the Arkansas River in my area though I have looked for breeding here for some years. More on the parent bird tomorrow. SeEtta