Spotted Sandpipers – Non-breeding

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Back in late August, for my brother’s birthday we visited Union Reservoir in Longmont. I’d never been there before, but it was a nice, peaceful little lake. Earlier in the day we had visited an animal refuge here in Colorado, where abused and otherwise mishandled animals from circuses and the like are taken in, nursed back to health, and given a permanent place to live. I had all my photography gear with me at Union, including my big lens. While walking around the lake, I noticed that there were actually a good variety of birds around. Lot of ducks, gulls, a couple herons…and, barely visible along the rocks of the shore, a bunch of Spotted Sandpipers in non-breeding plumage.

These cute little shorebirds gave me some wonderful poses as they poked about the moss and algae along the shore of the lake. I’ve photographed Spotted Sandpipers before, however almost always in the summer. During summer, their namesake is revealed by the beautiful spots dotting their underbellies and necks. At first, I wasn’t sure what type of sandpiper these were, given the simple and fairly drab appearance they have when not in their breeding plumage.