A Solitary Life

It’s been cold, rainy and dreary here for days, but I finally got the chance to see what was happening on the “wild side” of our property.

From across the pond I saw the tiniest movement and aimed my camera. About ten feet to the right of the Mallard decoy that my husband put in the pond to punk me (and it worked and I didn’t find it funny ha-ha), there was a little shore bird.

Here are a couple zoomed in images of what I have identified as a Solitary Sandpiper.

This bird does a great job of blending into the surroundings.

I decided to see if I might be able to get closer by driving to the East side of the pond, where it was wading along the pond’s edge. I hoped it wouldn’t fly off.

While the lighting wasn’t great, I was still able to catch some decent images of this Solitary Sandpiper – a bird that only migrates through the area. In fact, except for a bit of northern Maine and Vermont, this bird doesn’t breed (summer) or winter anywhere in the lower 48 states of the US. I feel fortunate to have filmed it. A couple of years ago, I caught a quick shot of the same species – pretty much just a blur that an expect birder was able to ID for me.

I’ve read that Solitary Sandpipers hunt insects, crustaceans, mollusks, amphibians, and other prey while using their long beak to penetrate the soft soil at the edges of fresh water ponds or creeks, and also salt marches.

Now is the time to expose a curious fact about myself; I obviously have known that many shorebirds are referred to as “sandpipers” but it wasn’t until I started looking at the photos I took that I realized they are probably referred by that name because their beaks look like a pipe that they plunge into the sand when hunting for food. Sand – Piper. Duh! I never really put the term and the function together!

Two interesting facts I pulled of AllAboutBirds about the Solitary sandpiper:

The Solitary Sandpiper lays its eggs in old nests of several different songbirds, particularly those of the American Robin, Rusty Blackbird, Eastern Kingbird, Canada Jay, and Cedar Waxwing.

Of the world’s 85 sandpiper species, only the Solitary Sandpiper and the Green Sandpiper of Eurasia routinely lay eggs in tree nests instead of on the ground.

One Comment on “A Solitary Life

  1. Funny Tammie Sand Pipe remarks remember pipe in and pipe out-that’s where they make the piping sounds. I did not know about the two species nesting behavior. I learn something new everyday about the Amazing God – creation for all of us ❣️

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