See Spot Fly

It’s another pressure cooker month, but the good news is this post puts me over the hump and now looking downhill at the monthly quota.  One day it is going to get me and my streak will be over … but alas, not likely this month.  To use a common term from my workplace, there’s always the bus-factor to take into account – for those unfamiliar, the higher the factor, the higher the risk to the company if you get ran over by a bus that day.  With only one post short as long as my fingers are still able to press on keys I should be able to finish it from the emergency room ha!

Take a gander at today’s featured feathered friend.
Spotted Sandpiper shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge on May 20th, 2017
That intriguing looking bird is a Spotted Sandpiper.  Once again, those clever bird namers are saving teeth wear on the creative cogs.  Let’s see, it has Spots and it is hanging out on a shoreline – I got it Spotted Sandpiper – start the presses. In all seriousness, you have to be appreciative of a Sandpiper you can quickly identify.  If you have not had the experience trying to ID an obscure Piper, it ranks right up there with discerning a juvenile Sparrow.  The Spotted has a couple of distinguishing marks with one being …. well … it has SPOTS and not streaks or solid.  The hard eye line and ink tipped orange bill also collectively give it away.
Spotted Sandpiper shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge on May 20th, 2017

Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this stoic Peep.

The Spotted is not a new bird for me having been featured multiple times on the blog (link here and here).  Much like the later post was better than the first, this set is a further improvement of the technical capture (at least from my perspective).  Interesting enough, each of my Spotted posts have been in a completely different location – Yellowstone, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (finally remembered where that second set was taken) and now Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge.  This bird sure gets around.   A quick look on the Cornell Bird Site confirmed that they pretty much cover all of North and South America. On this particular trip I was able to capture some additional angles providing a more complete picture of the bird’s characteristics.  Let’s start with a full view of the tops of the wings and flight posture.
Spotted Sandpiper shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge on May 20th, 2017
This angle reveals the white highlighting on the outer wing feathers and a better view of the white shoulder piping that you just get a glimpse of when on the ground.  The other thing I didn’t realize before was how stocky the body is compared to the length of the body.  Almost looks like a brown Nerf football with wings.  Contrast that with the more elongated body of the Black-Necked Stilt in the post before.  To complete the flight visuals, here is another shot showing the underwing pattern.
Spotted Sandpiper shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge on May 20th, 2017
The white of the breast carries up high through the underside of the wing but maintains the brown feather edging from the top of the body.  From a wing position perspective, the Spotted keeps them nearly straight out from the body with limited backward slant.  Very distinct coloring – will have to remember this in field – reminds me of the Willet which can be difficult to identify until it takes flight – their white barring on their wings give them away every time.  As a pat on the back, these are all hand held shots with the 200-400mm Beast (and people wonder why I’m a bit of a gym rat).  If those angles were not enough, I went ahead and included another perspective for your viewing pleasure.  If my brother Ron has taught me one thing, iy is capture every angle possible to aid in the identification process.  Truth be told, he’s gifted at filling my grey matter up
Spotted Sandpiper shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge on May 20th, 2017

.. that my friends represents the end – literally (hehehehe)

Hope you enjoyed my cool find on a quick trip through the refuge!



2 thoughts on “See Spot Fly”

  1. Wow, a whole lot of angles and even views of the top and the bottom of the wings in flight!! This is great. And while you have a signature shot of a bird looking back over its shoulder at you, you also have a signature tag line on your posts showing the back end of the creature under discussion.

    Really great post!



  2. What can I say, I try and give my favorite bird confirmer everything he needs to make a proper ID. Especially with these shorebirds and peeps – there are so many of them with very little differences without the additional perspectives you are going to be spending a few sleepless nights looking through reference books. This one is pretty easy with the spots and deep eye line but others are a nightmare – not at juvenile Sparrow nightmare levels, but still harder than hell to distinguish without good angles. You did get a special bonus with this in the flight shots – those are always a bit harder to get because I don’t want to be directly responsible for them taking off while shooting them on the ground. Guessing a giant flock of Coots saw me accidentally prompting a lot of running on water commotion scaring away my subject.


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