Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-23

Common name:


Scientific name: Calidris pugnax
Date: September 6, 2016
Time: 8:45 am
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unkown
Location: Utah Lake State Park
County: Utah
Distance to bird: 50 yards
Optical equipment: Canon 7D, Swarovski Spotting Scope (60X), Nikon Monarch Binoculars (10x42)
Weather: Crisp September morning
Light Conditions: Excellent lighting as the morning sun rose behind me.
Description:        Size of bird: Medium-sized shorebird
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Similar to Lesser Yellowlegs
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Buffy tones on head and breast/flanks; darker mantle
(Description:)            Bill Type: Short with a slight droop
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
- Short, dark-colored bill with a slight droop.
- Pale face with buffy cap trailing down the back of the neck.
- Buffy wash on breast and flanks.
- Yellow/orange legs.
- About the same size as lesser yellowlegs (see picture), but larger than Stilt Sandpipers.
- Posture/stature is consistent with Ruff.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Behavior: Feeding with other shorebirds (seemed to be most closely associated with Pectoral and Stilt Sandpipers) on the mudflats.
Habitat: Mudflats on the edge of Utah Lake.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Lesser Yellowlegs: Lighter-colored mantle, buffy tones on the body and head, shorter bill. See photo for comparison with LEYE.

Stilt Sandpiper: Much shorter bill, larger in size. Directly compared with two Stilt Sandpipers as can be seen in the photos.

Pectoral Sandpiper: No streaking or markings on the breast or flanks. Instead, the bird showed buffy-coloration.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
No previous experience.
References consulted: Sibley, online sources.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer's address: 2622 w Dry Creek Drive
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None.
Date prepared: April 11, 2017
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: This bird was not identified as a Ruff in the field. After reviewing photos, I felt more and more confident that this bird was a Ruff. Nothing else seems to fit the bird. I asked for opinions on the bird and the unanimous conclusion was that it was indeed a juvenile Ruff.