The winner of today’s photography challenge is the migratory spotted sandpiper (as Oklahoma is at the northern end of their migratory path). I’d noticed the solitary sandpiper walking up and down a log at the edge of the lake, and was able to get several pictures before it noticed me and flew off.
During the breeding season they are easy to identify, as they have dark spots on their white breast, and the back is a dark brown; they also have a white strip above their eyes.They are also one of the most widespread breeding shorebirds, meaning they can be found near almost any type of water (streams and rivers, ponds, lakes, and even beaches).
Their diet consists of insects, earthworms, crayfish, and small fish.
So what are some unusual facts about the spotted sandpiper?
It’s the female that establishes and defends the territory—so she will arrive earlier in the areas where they breed, which is most of the northern US into Canada and Alaska. The males take the primary role in incubating the eggs (this is usually about three weeks) and taking care of the young.
The female may (or may not) mate with several different males and lay eggs in different nests which then the different males will then incubate.
The young are able to feed themselves soon after hatching, but are still tended by the male. The young are usually able to fly about three weeks after hatching.