Sunday, May 29, 2011

Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis)

Every now and again a particular bird or birds give themselves up completely to the camera, this is one such occasion when an amazing 8 of these birds were at Ballycotton last September. These birds all juvenile probably never saw a human before and as such were extremely approachable and inquisitive.

The buff colour which gives the bird its name isn’t restricted to its breast but in fact covers its head, neck and the rest of the underparts. The combination of buff underparts and delicately scaly upperparts is found in only one other wader, the juvenile Ruff. To clinch he identification of this rarity you should notice the shorter, straighter bill, the cluster of fine spots on each side of the breast and the plainer face with a more open-eyed expression. In flight they look characteristically plain brown above with no white in either the wing or the tail.

Very rare visitor from America, often found in dry, grassy habitats such as golf courses and airfields as well as at the margins of wetlands.

Birds which occur in Europe must have got caught up in westerly winds as they tried to migrate from their North American breeding grounds along the Atlantic to South America.

And I got completely soaked, but it was well worth it.

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