Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2016-32

Common name:


Scientific name: Calidris pugnax
Date: 9-16-2016
Time: 1800
Length of time observed: 27 minutes
Number: 1
Age: juvenile
Sex: unknown
Location: Farmington Bay WMA
County: Davis
Distance to bird: 50 meters
Optical equipment: Swarovski 60x spotting scope and 420mm DSLR camera lens
Weather: Sunny, clear, warm
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: Lesser Yellowlegs
(Description:)       Basic Shape: similar to LEYE
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Buffy
(Description:)            Bill Type: Short, black bill with hint of yellow at base
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
From my field notebook at the time of sighting:
- Same size as surrounding Lesser Yellowlegs
- Black bill with hint of yellow at base, much shorter than Stilt Sandpiper (which I had seen only an hour earlier), and fairly stout at base
- Color buffy overall
- Few breast markings
- Legs yellow in color
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Behavior: Actively foraging except when flushed by Peregrine Falcon and took flight with other shorebirds. Foraging method more like Yellowlegs than Stilt Sandpiper, which forages like a Dowitcher by probing bill deep into the substrate and sticking rump into air.
Habitat: Wetland. Shallow pond near emergent vegetation.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Pectoral Sandpiper: eliminated by larger size as many Pectoral were seen immediately next to bird in question. Also breast was unmarked.
Stilt Sandpiper: eliminated by warm buffy tones overall, shorter bill with pale base, and foraging style more like yellowlegs than dowitcher (STSA).
Lesser Yellowlegs: eliminated by general shape (bulkier), warm buffy tones overall, slightly shorter, decurved bill, and white "U" on rump when photographed in flight.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
No experience with Ruff, but extensive experience with Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpiper, and some experience with Stilt Sandpiper (two previous sightings).
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds: second edition
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Neil Paprocki
Observer's address: 777 East 1st Ave #2, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 9-16-2016
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: Have a number of photos of this bird foraging and also in flight.