Least Sandpipers really are the littlest shorebirds, the least of the shorebird family. This one is a juvenile, this year’s fledgling, born on the high Arctic tundra, left by its parents to fend for itself amidst the bloom of summer’s thick insect hatch. Then it self-starts a migratory journey to winter in the southern states or beyond, as far as mid-way down the South American continent. They are six inches long.
When the adults pass through earlier than this, they are typically worn, drab and colored a smudgy brown. Some say they look like they have been dipped in tea, a denser brown than other peeps. The youngsters, like the one pictured below, have crisp fresh plumage, all the feathers sharp, well defined and the colors distinct and rich, the whites bright white.
Bad weather is good for birding and birders feel like adventurers taking on the elements. This Leastie was one of three working the muddied and puddled dirt road running across the Farm Institute at Katama, just as the strong easterly blow was subsiding.
Birds need to tend to their feathers, in detail. In the process, this one appears to be in a state of preening ecstasy.
Birds are cool! Lanny
These images and Lanny McDowell Avian Art fine art prints are available for purchase. Contact me or View my gallery.
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