New Life Birds

An outing to Chippewa Inlet Trail produced several new “life birds” for North America, which is rewarding and also a bit of a challenge now that I’m at 176 unique species. (At least, a challenge as long as I’m only birding in Ohio.)

There was a group of shorebirds on a mud flat, and at first I didn’t realize there was anything new because the Semipalmated Plover (the new life-bird) look similar to Killdeer, especially if you are not paying attention. And also especially if they are mixed in with real Killdeer! It was the wife who first noticed that not all of the birds looked quite right for Killdeer.

Semipalmated Plover, Chippewa Inlet Trail, 2021-05-22
Killdeer, Chippewa Inlet Trail, 2021-05-22

The second new bird was the Least Sandpiper. As implied by the name, they are the smallest of sandpipers, not much larger than a sparrow. The key to correct identification is leg-color (which should be yellow-green) and I struggled for a long time to get a good picture where that detail was visible. The lighting conditions were terrible, with very overcast skies and quite a bit of glare off the water, not to mention that the birds were running around in mud, which can cover and obscure their legs.

Least Sandpiper, Chippewa Inlet Trail, 2021-05-22