domingo, 25 de septiembre de 2011

Buff-breasted Sandpiper September 2011

Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis)

Discovered at the Fuencaliente saltpans (Las Salinas) this morning, this is my second Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) on La Palma, following my first sighting on Sep 29 2010 at the same location (see corresponding blog post).

The bird shown here was foraging restlessly around the edges of two adjacent pans, together with 4 Sanderlings (Calidris alba), a couple of Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula), and the usual small numbers of Turnstones (Arenaria interpres).

The characteristic buff tones are clearly visible in the above image

This species is held to be the second most frequent Nearctic wader recorded in Europe, after the Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos). Since 1960, it has been considered an annual visitor to Great Britain, where it ceased to be classified as a rarity from 1983 onwards. By the year 2003, 620 birds had been recorded there.

In Spain, the Rarities Committee had accepted 28 records of this species by 2003, making it the third most common American wader at national level, after the previously cited Pectoral Sandpiper and the Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes). The Spanish sightings came mainly from Galicia (11), Catalonia (5) and the Canaries (6), with another 6 from Portugal.

Since 2003, the number of observers has increased considerably, with the result that fewer migrant birds escape detection: as a matter of fact, in recent weeks, unusually high numbers of Buff-breasted Sandpipers have been reported from various locations around the country, including 2 on Lanzarote, 11 in the Ebro Delta, and 4 in Galicia.

Observations of Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Spain mainly correspond to the post-breeding migratory period, with almost all records occurring between the end of August and mid-October, and hardly any in spring. As is the case with other Nearctic waders, the Canary Island sightings tend to be somewhat later, suggesting that birds make a stopover in mainland Europe before reaching the islands.

Most of the information in this post comes from Aves Raras de España, E. de Juana, Lynx Edicions 2006.

The present sighting will be submitted to the Spanish Rarities Committee in due course.

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