White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis)
Discovered this afternoon at the saltpans in Fuencaliente, the White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) is a long-distance migrant which breeds in NE Alaska and N Canada east to S Baffin Island. It winters in SE South America from CE Brazil to Tierra del Fuego. With a total of 39 records, this species is the second most-detected Nearctic vagrant to the Canary Islands (after the Pectoral Sandpiper, Calidris melanotos).
The bulk of records have been between September and November, peaking in October. A spectacular influx was recorded in October 2005, when more than 50 birds were found on almost all of the islands (nine birds together on La Palma). [Rare Birds of the Canary Islands, Eduardo García-del-Rey and Francisco Javier García Vargas, Lynx Edicions, June 2013].
After a while observing at the saltpans, a second bird appeared. Relations between the two were not exactly cordial, so it was difficult to photograph them together...
This is my fifth record of the species, and seventh individual on La Palma:
Oct 2010 (n=1), Aug 2011 (n=1), Oct 2012 (n=1), Oct 2012 (n=2), Oct 2014 (n=2)
The present photos show most of the key identification features: attenuated overall shape with wing-tips projecting beyond tail; blackish, medium length legs; slightly decurved bill with brownish base to lower mandible; white upper tail coverts (= white rump), etc.
A couple of Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) were also present at the same location this afternoon.
This sighting of Calidris fuscicollis will be forwarded to the Spanish Rarities Committee in due course.