White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
25 Mar 2013, 6:28 PM,
#1
White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
I went on a kayaking trip from Beasley Flats to Gap Creek along the Verde River on Saturday. Three small sandpipers kept flying ahead of us as we floated along the river. It was driving me mad that I could not peg their identification. They were too small to be Killdeer, but they were a sandpiper for sure. I finally got a good look at them through my binos, and I saw distinct white rumps and thought, "Probably White-rumped Sandpiper...either way, that should make a good field mark for looking up in the book." After looking in my field guide, I'm not sure what else they could be, as they are the only small sandpiper with a white rump.

Also of note, an adult Bald Eagle (quite likely a territorial one), several singing Lucy's or Yellow Warblers (I need to re-study the minute differences in their songs), a dozen White-throated Swifts or so, and an abundance of Violet-green Swallows.
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25 Mar 2013, 7:24 PM,
#2
RE: White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
(25 Mar 2013, 6:28 PM)John DeLuca Wrote: After looking in my field guide, I'm not sure what else they could be, as they are the only small sandpiper with a white rump.

Wilson's Phalarope?

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26 Mar 2013, 9:44 AM,
#3
RE: White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
I don't have any good ideas about what the sandpipers could be, but I will chime in to caution that White-rumped Sandpiper in March in Arizona would be a pretty epic sighting! Few if any of these birds should have arrived anywhere in the US by now from their wintering grounds in South America. They don't typically start to arrive until late April, and a quick check of eBird data shows no observations in 2013 for the entire continent as of yet.

I'm not familiar with the timing of shorebird arrival in the Verde Valley, but I would think that the only expected sandpipers in late March would be Spotted and Least, and maybe Western and Solitary.

An interesting sighting!
Jason
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26 Mar 2013, 11:26 AM,
#4
RE: White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
By the way, I think that the only other small sandpiper with a white rump is the Curlew Sandpiper, for which I'm not sure there are any AZ records (although given the date, I'm not sure they would be any LESS expected in the state than White-rumped!). As Roger said, Wilson's Phalarope has a white rump. Its early for them too, and I tend to think of them as flat water birds, but I think they would be more likely than either of the sandpipers above.

Jason
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26 Mar 2013, 12:02 PM,
#5
RE: White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
Still waiting on that first AZ Curlew Sandpiper. It should turn up some day. Heck, it should turn up BEFORE the Ivory Gull! ;-)
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26 Mar 2013, 11:18 PM,
#6
RE: White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
Yeah, it seems like quite an unusual sighting. I don't think that they were Wilson's Phalaropes, as the birds had wingstripes characteristic of most sandpipers (and not on Wilson's,according to Sibley), and they didn't seem as large as phalaropes. They definitely were not Spotted Sandpipers, as I am very familiar with that species (plus Spotted Sandpipers completely lack any white in the rump/tail area). I doubt that they were Least Sandpipers, as I distinctly remember commenting to myself "white rump patch"... perhaps the lighting could have caught the central rectrices in a funny light, causing the entire rump to look white, but I doubt it, as I remember seeing the whites, browns, and blacks characteristic of sandpipers. I suppose that they could have been Curlew Sandpipers, but that seems even more unlikely, based on looking at the distribution in Sibley. I only saw the birds in flight and for a few seconds on each occasion. I saw the birds on three occasions, as they kept flying ahead of us as we floated near them. This photo illustrates the angle from which I viewed the birds when noting the white rump (i.e., they were flying more-or-less directly away from us): http://ibc.lynxeds.com/photo/white-rumpe...ump-well-0

In summary, I'm pretty confident that they were White-rumped Sandpipers, but they could have been Curlew Sandpipers. ...A rather maddening sighting. If I knew then what I know now, I would have pulled the kayak over and bushwhacked in pursuit of these birds.
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27 Mar 2013, 8:07 AM,
#7
RE: White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
In August of 2000, while floating near Beasley Flats, I saw a Semipalmated Plover.
It seemed to be "smaller than a killdeer" and had a single black necklace. Sibley doesn't show a white rump but if you Google image the bird, there's one. Who knows if it's accurate. Piping Plover appears to have a white rump.
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28 Mar 2013, 12:52 PM,
#8
RE: White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
Ouch! This one will haunt you john Sad
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3 Apr 2013, 9:42 PM,
#9
RE: White-rumped Sandpipers on Verde River
Indeed!
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