An Alert Spotted Sandpiper in Nonbreeding Plumage

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County, Spotted Sandpipers/An Alert Spotted Sandpiper in Nonbreeding Plumage

An alert Spotted SandpiperAn alert Spotted Sandpiper – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/750, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

This alert Spotted Sandpiper was photographed at Fort De Soto County Park in January of 2009 as it walked down some rip rap towards the water. The tide was low that day and it exposed oysters that had attached to the rip rap and the sandpiper hurried around foraging for prey in the nooks and crannies of the seawall. Looking at the shorebird in this image might make a person wonder why it is named a Spotted Sandpiper and that is because this bird is in nonbreeding plumage where they show very few, if any, spots during the winter. They do get spots during the breeding season.

When Spotted Sandpipers walk or forage they bounce up and down and their tails teeter which has earned them the nick name of “teeter-tail”.  I just call them bouncy butts. Chicks teeter not long after they hatch, the reason for the teetering is unknown.

There have already been reports of Spotted Sandpipers this year in southwestern Utah and a few that are here in the Salt Lake area which means I will now be keeping an eye out for these bouncy shorebirds. I adore them.

Life is good.



  1. Nancy Collins February 9, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Such clarity Mia! Love it!

  2. Elephant's Child February 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Beautiful things. And bouncy butts has me smiling.

  3. April Olson February 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Such soft subtle colors, I think I like it without spots.

  4. Patty Chadwick February 7, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I love the name “bouncy butts”…a perfect fit…much better than teeter tails”…These little birds are always so much fun to watch as the scurry around and play catvand mouse with the waves…

  5. Bob McPherson February 7, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Beautiful image, Mia.

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