Don’t forget to send in your good photos (most people aren’t professionals, but by now you’ll have an idea of the quality of stuff that appears here), as I can always use more. Today’s batch comprises “peeps”, which is what birders call the five smallest sandpipers of North America. The photos were contributed by reader Mike McDowell, and his captions are indented:
Surprise! Fall bird migration is underway! This may seem like comforting news for those of us enduring the present Midwest heatwave, but the humid weather is going to be with us for a while. However, shorebirds are heading out. They’re among the first southbound migratory birds to leave northern Canada for destinations in the southern United States, Central America and beyond. Some shorebird species have already made it to southern Wisconsin from areas as far north as the Arctic Circle.
Last weekend I was searching for tiger beetles on a sandbar along the Wisconsin River and came across a flock of peeps (common birder slang for the 5 smallest shorebird species). These tiny birds are a mere 5 to 6 inches long and weigh 20 to 30
ouncesgrams, roughly the same size and weight of a House Sparrow. Anyway, there were around 20 Semipalmated Sandpipers Calidris pusilla and Least Sandpipers Calidris minutilla foraging together for invertebrates in the shallows along the sandbar.
These images were digiscoped with a Nikon mirrorless camera and Swarovski spotting scope.
Semipalmated Sandpiper, Calidris pusilla:
Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla:
And here are two from Stephen Barnard in Idaho, who apparently has taken up insect photography and—equally apparently—is good at it:
Drone fly (Eristalis tenax), introduced from Europe: