Sunday, September 29, 2013

Buff-breasted Sandpiper!!

  This is a mega-rarity, previously seen in Korea perhaps three times. Here's the report I wrote for Birds Korea:

Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis
Jeju Island, September 28, 2013 
  I rode out to Jeju’s northwest coast early on Saturday morning in search of a reported Buff-breasted Sandpiper. I arrived at a field just in from the coast that featured a great mix of wet and dry habitats, and waited for the bird to show itself. After almost an hour, a small shorebird flew from the dry scrubby area to the small wetland next to the road – it was the Buff-breasted Sandpiper! I hunkered down low and got some spectacularly long and close looks at it as it paced lazily through the mud at the edge of the water. Such a sleek and regal bird, it was a real pleasure to watch.
Also spotted in this small but productive patch of wetland were low single-digit numbers of Common Snipe, Long-toed Stint, (amorous) Green Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, and Dunlin.
  The Buff-breasted Sandpiper seemed to be most closely associating with two Pacific Golden Plovers. Outlandish theory time - perhaps it fell in with these birds in their overlapping summer ranges in eastern Siberia and got mixed up and followed them to the ROK instead of its normal South American wintering grounds?