I took a client to Cannon Beach this week to see the Tufted Puffins nesting on Haystack Rock (Birding Oregon p. 124). While he was photographing his lifer Heerman’s Gull, I had a chance to study a small flock of Western Sandpipers. Cannon Beach is a very popular tourist town, so the crowded beach usually holds very few shorebirds. But this flock had found a particularly slimy patch of rocks that was effectively repelling the tourists, so I was able to watch the birds feeding undisturbed.
This bird is probably a male. The bill is short and straight, but still tapers to the tip. He is already starting to molt into his gray winter (basic) plumage, although he still retains a few colorful scapulars.
I will be teaching a class on autumn shorebirds at Portland Audubon on September 16. For more information, click here.