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

Very agitated Spotted Sandpiper

I walked the trail around Florence River Park this morning for the first time in awhile. Not only have I not been able to take this on but this park was closed for much of the past few months due to the extensive rains and river flooding in the area. As I walked the trail alongside the Arkansas River I heard a Spotted Sandpiper call. I stopped to look for it--unnecessary as this bird came flying close and calling in a very agitated manner. Clearly not the normal Spotted Sandpiper actions I expected this was an indication the bird had a nest nearby. This sandpiper was so agitated and aggressive for this species, flying within 8 or 9 feet of me, I retreated a distance to watch. That took a little while as this bird was quite suspicious and even flew back onto the trail looking to see if I was still around (wow, never would have thought s Spotted Sandpiper would stalk me). It took a full 10 minutes for the bird to decide it was safe and it went into some vegetation near the water and surprised me with a tiny chick. SeEtta