Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 8-2001

Common name:

White-rumped Sandpiper 

Scientific name: Calidris fusciollis
Date: May 28, 2001
Time: 8:30am
Length of time observed: 1 hr
Number: 9
Age: Adult 
Sex: n/a
Location: Ouray NWR, auto tour stop #3
County: Uintah
Latilong: 8
Elevation: Unknown
Distance to bird: 25 to 30 ft
Optical equipment:  
Weather: Overcast--High clouds
Light Conditions: Variable but fairly bright with sunlight filtering through the high clouds.
Detailed description of bird: Plumage varied slightly from bird to bird, however all birds displayed the following characteristics:
Black legs
Dark gray to black bill with slight droop at tip
Wingtips extending beyond the tail tip
Totally white rump without a median stripe
White breast with dark streaking
Darkly streaked flanks
Wings dark overall with buffy edges to feathers
Light (whitish) supercilium

All but one bird had the following features in addition to those listed above:
Rusty crown, ear patch and scapulars
Mantle dark with rusty and buffy edges to feathers

One bird was more buffy overall (lacking the rusty coloring) and had less extensive streaking on the flanks and breast.

Song or call & method of delivery: Not heard
Behavior: We observed the birds feeding in shallow water, on mudflats and among low grasses and plants dotting the mudflats.
Also, we saw a couple of the birds preening. We watched the birds fly on two short "alarm" flights. They flew as a group and returned to the original area within 15 to 20 seconds.
Habitat: A small shallow pond with sparsely vegetated mud flat surrounding it. More dense vegetation surrounded the immediate mudflat area. The vegetation consisted of low grasses and low small shrubby plants.
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
Baird's Sandpiper--Eliminated because it doesn't have dark streaking on it's flanks, and also because it has a white rump with a dark median stripe.
Previous experience with this & similar species: White-rumped: We identified one bird in Ontario, Canada in May 1993.
Baird's: We regularly see and identify birds migrating through Utah.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds
Description from: From memory
Observer: Kathy Beyer and Joel Beyer 
Observer's address: 1719 Hillcrest Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah   84106
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Terry Sadler
Date prepared: June 2, 2001
Additional material:  

Go to Main List of Sighting Under Review