The Solitary Sandpiper

August 3, 2015

Bob Sandpiper

When we think of sandpipers, we envision hundreds migrating  in flocks along our shores, but here at Mount Auburn we can encounter two species, the Spotted Sandpiper and the Solitary Sandpiper, during their fall migration. Both these species can be seen along the edges of Halcyon and Auburn Lakes and Willow Pond. The Solitary Sandpiper is not truly solitary. Unlike most shorebirds that migrate in large flocks, the Solitary usually migrates alone, but it is not unusual to find more than one in a given location. The other unusual fact about Solitary Sandpipers is that they are the only North American shorebird to nest in trees. The Solitary Sandpiper was first described by Alexander Wilson in 1813 but its nest was not documented until 1903-90 years later. The Solitary Sandpiper uses nests built by songbirds such as Robins, Eastern Kingbirds, Bohemian Waxwings or Gray Jays, usually in a spruce or other conifer tree

Look for the Solitary along the muddy edges of the ponds as it feeds by slowly walking and stirring up insects to the surface, similar to the way herons and gulls feed.

About the Author: Bob Stymeist

Bob Stymeist is Bird Observer's Bird Sightings Compiler and a regular bird walk leader for the Friends of Mount Auburn. View all posts by Bob Stymeist →

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