April 15th I encountered my first Spotted Sandpiper of the year. I have read where April 20th is considered the average date for the spotted sandpipers to arrive in Pennsylvania so this bird was right on time. These interesting little birds are commonly seen running along the edges of ponds and lakes bobbing their tails when standing as well as when running. During flight they repeat a series of rapid stiff wing-beats followed by short glides.
Although our area is listed as being part of their breeding range I have only observed them during a few weeks during spring and fall. This bird is displaying full breeding plumage, when they return in autumn the breast spots for which they are named are conspicuously missing.
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