Solitary Sandpiper

September 6, 2015

Earlier this spring, I was hiking the Lost Valley Trail on Weldon Spring C.A. when I ran across a solitary sandpiper working the shoreline of a beaver pond. The lone sandpiper wasn’t too skittish but it kept an eye on me as I deployed my tripod. I didn’t want to bother the busy little shorebird so I settled for a “bird in its habitat” image in the marginally harsh light of late morning.

After a capturing a few images, I faded back into the weeds and watched the interesting sandpiper, which is listed in “Birds in Missouri” as an uncommon migrant. It was actively feeding on invertebrates and whatever other morsels it could find among the mossy logs and muddy rocks. I waited for a while to see if any other shorebirds made an appearance but they never did.

About three weeks after my initial sighting, toward the end of May, my friend Bill and I were hiking the same trail, looking for nesting warblers. As we approached the beaver pond I said, “Hey, I wonder if the solitary sandpiper is still here?” Bill thought it would be cool to see the solo traveler but I figured “no chance!” We didn’t see anything as we scanned the pond, and just as I was getting ready to leave, Bill shouted from about 25 meters away, “Hey — I see it!” I looked across the pond near a small inlet and there it was, the same solitary sandpiper, jumping from log to log in search of food.

On our way home, Bill and I wondered what it must be like to be so non-social while so many other bird species are quite gregarious. We also wondered how long the little hermit planned to stick around. I don’t know when it finally left because I never made it back to the trail after that. I suppose it eventually got the urge to mate and headed north a ways but who really knows.

It sure was nice to witness the “solitary” part of the solitary sandpiper first hand. Maybe I’ll see it next year at the same beaver pond.

Happy Labor Day,


Update:  The solitary sandpiper has been upgraded to “common” status in Missouri. Thanks to Mark Haas, Vice President, The Audubon Society of Missouri (ASM), for the heads-up!

Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images and Print Information:  Here

7 comments on “Solitary Sandpiper”

  1. What great text to go with your beautiful image. Thank you. I do wonder about lone birds…

  2. Nice picture! My late husband was a woodcarver and carved and painted many of these birds.

  3. Beautiful image 🙂

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