Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-34

Common name:

White-rumped Sandpiper

Scientific name: Calidris fuscicollis
Date: 23 AUG 06
Time: 4:00 PM
Length of time observed: 3 1/2 hours
Number: 1
Age: juvenille
Sex: unknown
Location: Decker lake
County: Salt Lake
Latilong: unknown
Elevation: unknown
Distance to bird: 30 to 150 feet
Optical equipment: Brunton Epoch 10.5 x 42 binoculars and Leica Televid 20 to 60 power scope
Weather: Mostly cloudy at the beginning full sun later
Light Conditions: good lighting at first, no glare- perfect lighting with sun at back later
Description:        Size of bird: Noticably larger [1/3 to1/2] than Least Sandpiper standing next to it.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Sandpiper shape
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Scalloped rufous and brown back, white undersides
(Description:)            Bill Type: Medium shorebird type bill with slight droop at tip, bill about same length as head

Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Top of head and nape grizzled rusty brown.
Eyes dark.
Face- extremely strong white supercillium starting at top of bill between the eyes, forming almost a complete 'vee' shape on forehead.
Bill as above, did not see any reddish at base of lower mandible, otherwise dark gray to black.
Lores were brownish, with brownish gray stripe through eye.
Cheek is grayish brown and joins the eye stripe.
Mantle and scapulars brown and rust colored feathers outlined in white or light buff.
Primaries-dark centers light edging.
Undertail coverts, belly, flanks and breast fairly white.
Sides of throat and upper breast with smudged streaking.
Wingtips longer than tail.
Rump patch completely white with no central stripe.
Legs dark.
Wing feathers seemed to have a larger scalloped effect than other sandpipers I have seen.
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: Actively feeding for much of the time, from picking in shallow water to probing deeply with face completely submerged while standing in belly deep water. While preening and on a few short flights the solid white rump patch was obvious.
Habitat: Shallow urban lake with a few exposed mud flats and reed beds.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Bairds sandpiper-No rust or red coloration and doesn't have white rump.
Western sandpiper-Much smaller, no solid white rump, wings do not extend beyond tail.
Least sandpiper-Has yellow legs and was standing next to review bird and was much smaller as noted above.
Curlew sandpiper-is the only other bird with completely white rump that might be considered, But its legs are much longer than this bird and also it's bill is longer and much more decurved.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
No experience with White-rumped sandpiper, Have watched many Bairds, Western and Least sandpipers, and seen one Curlew sandpiper
References consulted: Sibley, National geographic, and The Shorebird Guide by O'brian, Crossley, and Karlson
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Stephen Sommerfeld
Observer's address: 462 East Willow Ave. SLC,UT 84107
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Cindy Sommerfeld, Pomera Fronce, Anne Halley
Date prepared: 1 SEP 06
Additional material:  
Additional comments: