Sunday, May 5, 2019

Sanderling at Imperial Beach

Many smaller sandpipers may be found on the open beaches during spring and fall migration, and winter too. But Sanderlings are always quickly identified by their behavior of chasing the waves in and out with stiff, rapid legs.

Each of the birds below have advanced a few days apart in their molt from the non-breeding plumage into the breeding plumage. The bird on the right is closest to the non-breeding plumage with pale gray mantle feathers edged in white--though there are a few new black-centered breeding feathers poking through, here and there. The bird in the middle is a bit more advanced with many new black-centered wing and back feathers of the breeding plumage, as well as a stronger-marked breast band.

Sanderlings on the beach
Sanderlings. April 21, 2019. Imperial Beach, California.

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