Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Solitary peep

An ordinary pop can is about 11 cm., or almost 4 1/2 inches tall, and 2 1/2 inches across the top. It's a handy measuring stick, for occasions like this:

Least sandpiper, with pop can

At Oyster Bay Park, just south of Campbell River, the trail passes a smallish bay, mud flats at low tide. Along the shore, around sunset, we met this Least Sandpiper, foraging among the rotting seaweeds for beach hoppers. We stood still while it walked towards us and passed a few metres from our feet, quite unafraid.

It was incredibly small; USGeological Survey gives its length as 4.75 inches, about midway between a chickadee and a bushtit, but with a fair proportion of its length used up by the beak.

The colour and pattern blend into the background.

Beautiful design.

This surprised me: from Wikipedia,
They nest on the ground near water. The female lays 4 eggs in a shallow scrape lined with grass and moss. Both parents incubate; the female leaves before the young birds fledge and sometimes before the eggs hatch. The young birds feed themselves and are able to fly within two weeks of birth.


  1. Anonymous2:46 pm

    We have some Least Sandpipers migrating through our area too. I have been video taping the Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs.

    Old Duffer

  2. There are probably more of them up in your area. This one was the first one I've seen, at least, close enough to identify it.


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