Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2020-37

Common name:

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Scientific name: Calidris subruficollis
Date: September 9, 2020
Time: 5:40 pm
Length of time observed: 1 hour+
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Antelope Island Causeway
County: Davis
Latilong: 41.0859, -112.1982
Distance to bird: 150 m
Optical equipment: 20x60 Swarovski Spotting Scope
Weather: Steady winds
Light Conditions: Great lighting. Was able to view the bird as the sun was setting in beautiful golden light, which accentuated the buffy color dramatically.
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
First noticed the bird fly directly in front of me while driving east on the causeway between mile markers 2 and 3. Noted intense buffy-coloration on a medium-sized sandpiper with plain underwings. Relocated a half hour later on the north side of the causeway on expansive mudflats with little vegetation.

Alone as it high-stepped around the flats picking for food. The bird was alone for the most part, but compared at one time to another peep. I was so focused on the BBSA, I disregarded the other bird completely, although from the photos it appears to be a Dunlin for size reference.

• Very bold-buffy coloration, especially apparent in the golden-light just before sunset
• Clean face
• Large black eye
• Thin, relatively short black bill
• Long and bright (!) yellow legs
• Fine black-patterning across wing-coverts, scaps, mantle and tertials.
• Hint of a collar on the hind-neck wrapping to crown.
• In flight, plain underwing with distinctive black crescent at bend.
Song or call & method of delivery: Silent
Behavior: Foraging behavior quite similar to Pluvialis plovers. Distinctive high-step walk also noted. Have video of this behavior upon request.
Habitat: Expansive Mudflats, little-to-no vegetation.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Pectoral and Baird’s Sandpipers can show buffy-coloration, but we were able to get close enough to see distinguishing field marks. Plain face with large black eye, buffy-colors all across the body through the face and back. Long yellow legs, posture, and distinctive high-step walk also eliminated similar species.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen this bird once before – Utah Lake State Park on September 1, 2016 in similar habitat.
References consulted: None
Description from: Memory
Observer: Kendall Watkins
Observer's address: 2622 W Dry Creek Drive, Riverton  Utah ZIP: 84065
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Lauri Taylor, Bryant Olsen, Max Malmquist
Date prepared: September 10, 2020
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: