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Red Knot Calidris canutis

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Sanderling Calidris alba

Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla

American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus

 

 

 

 

 

Red Knot Calidris canutis

The red knot is the largest calidridine sandpiper of North America and largest species in the genus Calidris. Its colorful breeding plumage changes to dullgray in winter, with few distinct markings.

Range:

There are three races (islandica, rufa, and roselaari) that breed in the Arctic from Greenland to northern Alaska. The roselaari race migrates from breeding areas in Alaska’s Seward Peninsula and North Slope (and possibly easternmost Siberia) to Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico wintering areas. The rufa race migrates from its wintering habitats in Tierra del Fuego to its arctic tundra breeding grounds, a distance of 15,000 km, gathering along the way to fatten up in staging areas before embarking on long-distance, nonstop flights that sometimes exceed 2,500 km.

Spring migration and stopovers:

Argentina’s central Atlantic coast (February-April), the southern Brazilian coast (late April-early May), and most famously in New Jersey and Delaware, on the beaches of Delaware Bay (late April-early June), where they bulk up on horseshoe crab eggs prior to a long flight to their Arctic breeding grounds.

Fall migration and stopovers:

Southward migration begins with adults in mid-July, shortly after eggs hatch (OR WHEN YOUNG FLEDGE?). Major stopovers first include the coasts of Hudson and James bays and a few sites in the Canadian Maritimes, Massachusetts and New Jersey, where adults steadily increase through early August and decline rapidly between Aug. 10-20, with first juveniles arriving between Aug. 20-30. Flying over the Atlantic from U.S. staging areas directly to South America, most individuals make landfall along the coasts of the Guianas in mid- to late August; move south and east to near Belem, Brazil; then fly over Brazil to the Atlantic coasts of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, first arriving in early October; then move south along the coast to their main wintering grounds.

Winter:

The major rufa wintering zone is on the coasts of southern Chile and Argentina, with the largest concentration in Tierra del Fuego. Other birds, perhaps roselaari, winter on Florida’s west coast, and probably also on the Atlantic coast of northeastern Brazil and Colombia

 

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Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Description:

Small, stocky bird with short, orange legs; a short, wedge-shaped, black, slightly upturned bill; and variegated russet plumage.

Range:

Three of the world’s five breeding ranges breed in the North American Arctic, and two of them migrate to wintering grounds in the Western Hemisphere. Birds that breed in western Alaska and eastern Siberia migrate to the West Coast, from Washington State to Mexico, as well as to Southeast Asia, Australia and the western Pacific. Turnstones that breed in northeastern Alaska to Baffin Island – the morinella population – winter from Massachusetts and the Gulf of Mexico south along both coasts of Central and South America to central Argentina and Chile, with fewer birds wintering even further south to Tierra del Fuego.

Spring migration and stopovers:

Northward migration begins in March, with the major spring stopover on the Delaware Bay from late April to early June, before moving north-northwest to their Arctic breeding grounds in late May or early June, and earlier in Alaska. Most immatures remain on their wintering grounds or south of breeding areas.  Eggs hatch in early to mid-July.

Fall migration and stopovers:

Failed breeders leave first, followed by females mid-way through the chick-rearing period, with most males departing once the chicks have fledged. Fledglings depart last, usually in mid-August, accompanied by one or two males. The morinella migrates south along both Atlantic and Pacific coasts, with a few birds also migrating through the interior, to Central and South American wintering grounds from late July through October.


Winter:

Three-fourths of the migrants in South America concentrate in northern Brazil, between Belém and Sao Luís, with moderate numbers in Suriname and French Guiana, and smaller numbers on the Pacific coast, mostly in Peru and Ecuador; and in small numbers, on both coasts, south to Tierra del Fuego.

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Sanderling Calidris alba

Description:

A small, plump sandpiper most often seen on sandy coastal beaches while on migration and during the winter, running quickly ahead of oncoming waves and chasing after receding ones, probing the exposed sand for food.

Range:

Though numbers are small locally, it is probably the most widespread maritime shorebird wintering in North America, found along all three coasts from southern British Columbia and Massachusetts to southern Argentina and Chile. Migration distances from high-arctic breeding grounds to wintering grounds range between 3,000 and 10,000 kilometers

Spring migration and stopovers:

Move northward March through June, with the main flight through the U.S. in May. Those migrating along the West Coast move through California in late April to mid-May, and through Oregon and Washington in early May to mid-June. Interior migrants appear in Texas in Late April and May; Missouri’s largest concentrations are in mid-May. Along the Atlantic Coast, the sanderlings move through Florida in mid-March to early April, with peak concentrations in New Jersey and Massachusetts the last week of May. Peak spring migration numbers appear in Florida and The Delaware Bay, where sanderlings feed on horseshoe crabs, is the most important stopover in the eastern U.S.

Fall migration and stopovers:

Most adults depart high-arctic breeding areas mid-July to mid-August, with juveniles departing late August to early September, accompanied by a few adults. In the West, migrants are most common in Washington and Oregon mid-August to mid-October, with most migrants arriving in California in August. In Missouri, sanderlings are most common mid-August through September, while in Texas the migrants move through between mid-September to early December. In the Canadian Maritimes, peak migration is between the third weeks of July and August. In the U.S., peak fall migration numbers appear in Massachusetts and the Delaware Bay. In Massachusetts, adults peak in August and continue through September, with juveniles most abundant in September and October. At Cape May, N.J., most arrive between July and September; sanderlings peak in August and September in North Carolina and arrive in southwest Florida from August through October.

Migrants who reach Argentina arrive in November.

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Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla

Description:

A small sandpiper with black legs and a short, stout bill.

Range:

Breeds in the low Arctic coast from western Alaskan coast across Canada to northern Quebec, central Baffin Island and northern Labrador. Nonbreeders mostly summer in northern South America, with some in North America. Semipalmated sandpipers winter along the northern and central coasts of South America, primarily Suriname and French Guiana.  Fewer are found in the West Indies and the Pacific coast of Central America, and very few in southern South America and Florida.

Spring migration and stopovers:

Spring migration in the U.S. and southern Canada runs from April to June, peaking in mid- to late May. Key stopovers are the Delaware Bay, Cheyenne Bottoms, Kan., and Quill Lakes, Sask. Males arrive on breeding grounds several days before females.

Fall migration and stopovers:

Most western breeders, along with some from the central Arctic, migrate south through the prairies to wintering sites farther west in South American than more eastern breeders; the remaining central Arctic and eastern breeders return to South America via the North Atlantic coast, often flying directly over the ocean.

Adults – females first – start migrating south in mid-July and peak in late July to mid-August. Juveniles migrate from mid-July to late October, peaking between late August to mid-September. The greatest fall stopovers in central North America are Cheyenne Bottoms, Kan., and Quill Lake, Sask., but the largest flocks, accounting for 40 percent to 74 percent of the world’s population, congregate in the Bay of Fundy.

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American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus

Description:

A large shorebird with a long, straight, bright red to orange bill, a black head contrasting with a brown mantle and long, pale pink legs. One of the few birds to specialize on bivalve mollusks living in saltwater, it frequents coastal salt marshes and sand beaches.

Range:

There are two races that breed in North America, a well-studied eastern race that ranges along the Atlantic Coast south from Massachusetts and a second, less-studied race that ranges southward from northwestern Baja California. Little is known about migration patterns, with populations from Virginia south tending to be year-round residents and those from Maryland north tending to be migratory – although some have lingered into the winter at sites such as Cape Cod.

Spring migration:

In Massachusetts, spring migrants appear between the end of March and mid-April.

Fall migration and Winter concentrations:

In Massachusetts and New York birds congregate in large numbers in Aug and early September and are gone by late September. The largest winter concentrations occur in Cape Charles and Chincoteague, Va., and Charleston, S.C. In Georgia, where residents are non-migratory, northern migrants arrive in August and early September, flocks reach their winter peak in October and break up in March.

Report your Oystercatcher resightings Here.

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