Saturday, May 10, 2014

Solitary Sandpiper

As we birded together on Wednesday, John Holden spied a Solitary Sandpiper in a Rice County, roadside ditch.  The photos I took did not come out to my satisfaction, so I returned the next day. At least a half-dozen of these common sandpipers fed in the area. 
The main food eaten by Solitary Sandpipers includes insects, small crustaceans, mollusks, and tadpoles (Moskoff 2011). This sandpiper often wades in puddles, delicately moving its feet to flush out aquatic prey such as mosquito larvae and midges.
Solitary Sandpipers also eat grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, dragonfly nymphs, caddisfly larvae, spiders, and even small sails.  Moskoff (2011) also lists worms among the Solitary's diet, and to this John and I can attest. 
One sandpiper patrolled a  water-logged, grassy field. After searching intently, in a flash, the bird speared a worm and then struggled to pull the annelid out of the ground.
The worm held on for dear life until it broke in two. (Fortunately for the worm, annelids are often able to regenerate missing halves.) The sandpiper carried the worm carcass for several seconds, before rapidly swallowing it whole.

1 comment:

  1. magnificent photo's - great insight to this species.
    thanks - John