Curlew Sandpiper – CSI

After looking to catch the falling tide at The Hawk, CSI, I set up to check through the scattered shorebirds visible off Fish Plant Road parking lot. Using the tailgate to give some shelter from the brisk south-easterly wind I started to scan and count. The birds were some distance away but identifiable. Before I reached the end of the existing group another, smaller flock came in about 20% closer, so I scoped them up and saw three Short-billed Dowitchers and two Red Knot with them, then I noticed what I thought might be a Curlew Sandpiper.

I grabbed the camera and took 20 shots on rapid fire, all time stamped at13:41. As I switched back to the scope one of the sea peepers in a truck pulled in briskly and flushed the flock, I didn’t see where they went. I then tried to view the images on the back of the camera but the view was inconclusive.

I had a short errand to run but, once home, downloaded the shots. My instinct was correct and there was an obvious adult Curlew Sandpiper in the shot. I processed one image in order to put it on Atlantic Canada Birding, and called people to tell them of my suspicions. Then I started to make supper!

Sensing my desire to edit photos and not cook bacon, despite the inherent pleasure in that process, I went back to the computer and checked the rest of the images. They are all doc shots but diagnostic – the only thing is, after viewing the rest of the shots, it’s clear that there are two adult Curlew Sandpipers.

Below are all the shots that are of use, lightened, sharpened and resized. I checked my camera time as I felt I was there later, I was correct, I hadn’t changed the time to take into account summer time savings and was an hour out, therefore I was there at 14:41 and not 13:41.

Had I been able to keep the flock close and the sea peeper not flushed them then I would have been able to positively ID the bird/s (I only thought one in the field) and stay with them. As it was I didn’t relocate the bird/s but the flock was restless (as always) and were moving about a lot. I also rather wanted to see what images I had on the computer.

I’ve seen Curlew Sandpiper throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia (but not in N. America) and in virtually all plumages although not for some years. Given a decent view they are pretty easy to ID. I hope these stick.

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I went back later, more record shot I’m afraid but others will get better ones.

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And if you are reading this from outside NS, you might be interested in downloading the free Cape Sable Island site guide, click on the image (like the one below) on the sidebar to download free from my publishers. It is also available from iTunes, Barnes and Noble and Kobo and other eBook sellers.

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