Western Sandpiper at Presqu'ile Provincial Park

This Western Sandpiper was discovered in the flock of peeps at Owen Point. It's molting from juvenile to first winter (formative plumage). It already has grey winter scapulars and other feathers on the upperparts. Its juvenile coverts and other juvenile feathers are quite worn. The molt of Western Sandpipers into first winter (formative) plumage is ahead of that of Semipalmated Sandpipers. Found by Jon Ruddy on 26 August 2018.


VIDEO: Presqu'ile Shorebirds includes Western Sandpiper at end

Slightly larger than Semipalmated Sandpiper (right), the Western Sandpiper (left) stood out by the length and tapered shape of the bill, its much greyer/paler plumage, and contrasting wider rufous-fringed scapulars. 26 August 2018.


Yes! Both Western and Semipalmated Sandpipers have semipalmations or partial webbing between the middle and outer toes. The Birds of North America on-line Western Sandpiper account (2014) says: "Legs and Feet: Black, sometimes tinged greenish or brownish; substantial webbing between the toes, particularly between the middle and outer toe." Pyle (2008) says "Legs and feet black with hind toe moderately well developed and substantial webbing between fore toes" which he illustrates in Figure 374D-E. Presqu'ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario on 26 August 2018.


Western Sandpiper - second bird from left - with Semipalmated Sandpipers at Owen Point, Presqu'ile. The algae is perfect for shorebirds. 26 August 2018.


Link to Presqu'ile Shorebirds on 26 August 2018