Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2021-49

Common name:

Upland Sandpiper

Scientific name: Bartramia longicauda
Date: 9-4-2021
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Length of time observed: ~3 minutes
Number: 1
Age: uknown
Sex: uknown
Location: Northlake Park and Loch Lomond Pond (eBird Hotspot) - North shore of Utah Lake
County: Utah
Latilong: 40.361063, -111.855632
Elevation: ~4,500
Distance to bird: 100 yards
Optical equipment: Leica Ultravid 8x42 HD, Kowa TSN-883 Prominar and Razor HD 27-60x85
Weather: 85 degrees, sunny
Light Conditions:  Harsh mid-day sun, but bird was in a good direction for lighting when observed.
Description:        Size of bird: ~12 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Pretty Unique, tall shorebird, fairly long legs, long tail and short bill
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: brown and white
(Description:)            Bill Type: Fairly short and straight
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I was with Bryant Olsen and Charles Hurd looking for the recently reported Ruff on Utah Lake. After striking out at the original location of the Ruff observation (over by Saratoga Springs), we decided to try our luck on the north shore of the lake. We went over to the Loch Lomond Pond parking area, and proceeded to walk south towards the lake shore. The lake has receded in recent months and after walking through some brush and phragmites, the damp lakeshore has grown in and is full of short grasses and weeds. The second we moved beyond the taller vegetation into the grasses, we heard the bird do the classic, unmistakable "pledubup" flush call. We had been talking earlier in the day about Bryant's observation of an UPSA farther north on the Jordan River the day before, and had just played the call in the truck on the drive over. I was so taken by surprise my first thought was to check my phone to see if I had accidentally played the call in my pocket. Realizing that this was not a recording, we began scanning the shoreline and grassy/weedy area for the bird. We spotted the bird within about a minute and watched it running in the grass ~100 yards away for about 30 seconds. Unmistakable bird. Noted the short, straight yellow bill with a black tip. Fairly long legs, rounded lumpy body contrasting with the long neck, small head and short bill. Brownish tones, fairly uniform above with streaking on breast, giving way to a whitish/creamy belly and undertail. After confirming the ID through the scope I proceeded to try to get a digiscope photo. The bird took flight and then called 3 more times. We took some distant flight shots, the shape of UPSA is very distinct (see photos) - fairly long, tapered wings, noticeably long tail for a shorebird, small head and rounded body is hard to confuse with any other species. It landed briefly 150 yards away, and then took flight again (calling for a 5th time) and flew NW towards the ag fields/Jordan River.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Intermittent "flush" call, unmistakable "pledupub" heard 5 times. First time was while the bird was on the ground, other 4 times was during flight.
Behavior: Obviously disturbed (by us), frantic running through grasses and weeds. Then seen flying with shallow, almost flittery wingbeats, which was also pretty distinctive compared to other shorebirds.
Habitat: 6"-12" grasses and weeds along the lake shore.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The shape, habitat and sounds of UPSA are difficult to say what other shorebirds it could have been confused with. Maybe yellowlegs? Brown tones and short bill eliminate LEYE. Long tail eliminates everything else.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I observed UPSA a number of times this spring in South Texas, both on the ground and in flight/flyovers.
References consulted:  
Description from: From memory
From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Max Malmquist
Observer's address: 2377 East Boyes Street
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Bryant Olsen and Charles Hurd
Date prepared: 9-4-2021
Additional material: Photos Ebird Checklist:
Additional comments: