Forest Strnad and I birded for a couple of hours this morning and found shorebirds on a couple of the stops we made.
We decided to make Wagner Sod Farm, on the northwest corner of Hwy. 60 and Ibson Ave (east of Faribault), our first stop. Usually I scan the field from Ibson as there's much less traffic. Doing the same today and striking out again, I decided to check the west side of the field from Hwy. 60. Here, we found a single Buff-breasted Sandpiper and 52 American Golden Plovers.
We decided to make Wells Lake a stop, hoping that water levels were down enough to host shorebirds. We were pleasantly surprised to find quite a good number of shorebirds here, 90% being Least Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs, but we did also find Semiplamated Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers and best of all, 8 Red-necked Phalaropes.
I did have an exciting moment observing one Pectoral Sandpiper. It was noticably larger than the other Pecs, but smaller than the nearby yellowlegs. It had a very bright orange bill, more distinct supercilium and lighter overall facial area, and compared to the other Pecs, a cleaner throat and upper chest, but still "dirty". If it wasn't for the bird being smaller than the yellowlegs, I would have called it a Ruff in winter plumage! I recall we had this same situation in our county last year, but I don't remember what some of the theories were whether it was a juvenile Pectoral or what. Any ideas?
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