Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

October 2015

Vol. 43, No. 5

At a Glance: August 2015 Revealed

Wayne R. Petersen


by Wayne Petersen

At one level this month’s mystery photograph is straightforward: the bird is a shorebird. To be precise it is a sandpiper, not a plover. Plovers have short, relatively stout bills, somewhat steep and angular foreheads, large eyes, and in some species prominently ringed or banded breasts. This bird has none of these features so we can conclude it belongs in the family Scolopacidae (sandpipers and allies) and not Charadriidae (plovers). Knowing that the species is a scolopacid eliminates the five regularly-occurring species of Massachusetts plovers.

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