Least Sandpiper in transitional plumage or?? I spotted this peep on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge today, not long after I found my first of the year Stilt Sandpiper. A few of us, including Seth Asubel, Phil Jeffery and Heydi Lopes began working through the field marks.
Initially it looked bigger than the nearby Least Sandpipers, but after studying it for a while we concluded it was comparable in size to a Least. Despite leaning towards Least, we were puzzled at the "buffiness" of the bird. Here are a few photos. What are you thoughts?
UPDATE: 7-10-12 The initial assessment of Calidris minutilla Least Sandpiper stands! Despite the aberrant plumage - the structure, virtually no primary extension and dark centers in the scapulars hold consistently for Least. Thanks to all who weighed in with their input especially Seth Asubel and Shai Mitra.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens