SanderlingCalidris alba (Pallas)
Status Common transient, rare in winter. It is an uncommon spring migrant (although some of these had probably wintered locally) from early April through May, with some last sightings in June (average 29 May, latest 8 June). A bird on Cape Sable on 17 June 1971 was probably a non-breeder. It is a very common fall migrant, a few arriving as early as mid-July (average 17 July, earliest 11 July), and it is most abundant from mid August through September. It is still fairly common in late October and early November; laggards are regular until early January, especially on Sable Island and in the southwest, where they regularly succeed in overwintering.
Description Length: 18-20cm. Adults in spring: Upperparts variegated with black, rusty ochre and white; below white; throat, neck and upper breast overwashed with variable amounts of reddish ochre spotted with brown; bill, legs and feet black. Adults and immatures in winter: Above pale brownish gray variegated with black; below pure white.
Range Breeds in the Arctic of both the New and Old Worlds. In the eastern part of the New World it migrates southward along the Atlantic coast, wintering from Nova Scotia to the West Indies and southern South America.
Remarks Typically birds of the beaches seldom seen elsewhere, these hardy little sandpipers seem to be in their element when heavy waves pound the shoreline. With nimble feet they follow the backwash down, to scamper back quickly before the rush of incoming waves, gleaning particles of food from the sea. After the great congregations of their numerous relatives have left our shores for warmer climates, some of these little beachcombers often will be found still searching diligently for food along our beaches, which by then seem to us bleak and forbidding.
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