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
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