Pectoral Sandpiper at Angostura

Shorebirds are in general short supply in our area even though more than 30 different species can be found in Costa Rica. At least 15 of these are found almost exclusively on the coasts. Virtually the only sandpiper to be found with any regularity is the Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius):

Sandpiper, Spotted, CATIE, Canal (2)

Unusually, this Spotted Sandpiper at CATIE, Turrialba, is in breeding plumage; photo by John Beer

We hardly ever see spots on the Spotted Sandpiper because like many other shorebirds it is a migrant species  that only rarely spends the summer here. The bird seen above was photographed in mid-April. Much more usual is the plumage seen in the following image:

Sandpiper, Spotted, Atirro (4)

November Spotted Sandpiper at Atirro, Turrialba; photo by John Beer

In a recent post I dealt with the Greater Yellowlegs that appeared at Angostura. John Beer returned to the same location and found 4 of them this time, accompanied however by a Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotus). This species is usually a passage migrant in Costa Rica and won’t be seen here after late November, but in the last ten years there are only 2 eBird reports of this species locally, both from Casa Turire on the banks of the Angostura Dam.

Angostura (417)

Beautifully patterned Pectoral Sandpiper at Angostura, November 2018; photo by John Beer

We plan a return trip this week to see whether the bird has moved on or is still at the same location. Although it is a fairly common species in Costa Rica as a whole, I consider it rare, or at least very uncommon, in the Turrialba area.

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