Observation of the Spotted Sandpiper
Observers: Merrill Webb & David Ng
Location & Habitat: South of Rockville, Utah on a mud bar along the Virgin River
Date: December 28, 1978
Time: 11:30 A.M.
Light & Weather: slightly overcast to sunny and not too cold- temperature about 45 degrees
Distance: We were within 25-35 yards. I was using 8X40 binoculars and David was using 10x50 binoculars.
A small shorebird, larger than the “peeps” but smaller and more slender than a dowatcher. It had a pure white breast with brownish-gray “sideburns” extending down between the shoulders and neck from the brownish-gray back. I really wasn’t sure what it was until it started moving its tail-end by bobbing up and down. Add that behavior with the clear breast and the white line over the eye & bright colored legs it had to be a spotted sandpiper in winter plumage. We got quite close to it before it flew with the characteristic shallow, rapid wing beats to the other side of the river. It didn’t call so I can’t give a sound description.
Its behavior of bobbing its tail up and down as it walked along & the universal description given alone, I feel identifies it as a spotted sandpiper. We observed it for about a five minute period.