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Hi MOBirders:

At the last stop of Saturday's StL Aud Soc field trip, at Winfield L & 
D, I spotted a large stint feeding with the mixed flock in the slough 
upriver of the access bridge.  Most, maybe all, present had scope 
looks.  At first glance the bird was slightly bigger overall than the 
nearby LEAST and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERs, and this is what initially 
caught my eye.  It was noticeably longer-legged and also had a fairly 
long, dunlin-like droopy bill, pointy at the tip.  In fact, I looked 
carefully at the bird to make sure it wasn't a Dunlin. The bird had dark 
legs and was mostly clean white below.  Given the distance from the 
bridge and heat distortion, feather color was tough to sort out from 
this spot.

After the group disbanded I moved over to the Sandy Slough Rd. side, 
went down to the bank and got much closer to the flock.  I was able to 
relocate the bird and from this point I could see chestnut along the 
scapulars, although the intensity of the color varied from lighter 
anterior to darker and richer posterior.  There was pretty good contrast 
with the gray coverts.  Cornell describes the possibility of "varying 
amounts of chestnut" on juveniles, and Paulson says, "some juveniles 
show less intense rufous on upper scapulars, but always present."

So, I believe this bird was a juvenile WESTERN SANDPIPER.  A second 
bird, matching generally the description of the first came into view 
later.  I didn't look at it carefully but, based on the rough match, I 
think it was possibly a second western.

BTW, many thanks to Mike Grant for leading a really fun field trip 
Saturday.  If he hasn't already I know he'll be filing a good report.

Mike Thelen
Univ City, StL Cnty, MO
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