I took these shots of a young sanderling last Saturday during a bird identification class I am taking. I had never seen a sanderling before and was surprised that it approached us as closely and nonchalantly as it did. According to my birding instructor, Jerry McWilliams, however, this is not an uncommon behavior for sanderlings. Sanderlings are pretty small sandpipers, 7-8 inches with a wingspan of 14 inches. They weigh only about 1.4-3.5 oz! That has always amazed me about birds but it shouldn't seeing how they have to be able to fly:)I thought these images would be sharper than they are given his proximity but maybe it was the light mist of the day. At any rate, it was a beautiful bird to see and add to my life list, that is if I kept a list. I really need to start writing these things down:)According to Cornell's All About Birds Bird Guide on-line the sanderling is one of the most widespread wintering shorebirds in the world. It breeds in extreme northern Canada, parts of Alaska, and in parts of northern Greenland, Russia and Norway. The sanderling winters on all coasts from southern Alaska and Nova Scotia and southward to southern Chile and Argentina. Its range is quite incredible.
I wonder where this guy is now. Maybe a quick stop over in Florida, then onto the balmy shores of Argentina. Aaah, the good life.