Purple Sandpiper -Calidris maritima

Purple Sandpiper -Calidris maritima

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
” The purple sandpiper (Calidris maritima) is a small shorebird. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-colored waterside birds. The specific maritima is from Latin and means “of the sea,” from mare, “sea.”

Adults have short yellow legs and a medium thin dark bill with a yellow base. The body is dark on top with a slight purplish gloss and mainly white underneath. The breast is smeared with grey, and the rump is black. They measure 20–22 cm (7.9–8.7 in) in length and 42–46 cm (17–18 in) across the wings, and weight is from 50–105 g (1.8–3.7 oz)

Their breeding habitat is the northern tundra on Arctic islands in Canada and coastal areas in Greenland and northwestern Europe. They nest on the ground either elevated on rocks or in a lower damp location. The males make several scrapes; the female chooses one and lays 3 or 4 eggs. The male takes the primary responsibility for incubation and tends the chicks. The young feed themselves.

They are late migrants and move to rocky ice-free Atlantic coasts in winter. Most go no further south than North Carolina and northern Portugal. They are relatively gregarious, forming small flocks, often with ruddy turnstones. This species is tame and approachable.

These birds forage on rocky coasts, picking up food by sight. They mainly eat arthropods and mollusks, also some plant material.”

Although their status is that of a least concerned species, however, the number of individuals cited has been decreasing due to loss of habitat.

Purple Sandpiper -Calidris maritima

Each year, it is getting harder to locate the species and the locations that I have found them in the past.

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus

One of the locations we visited on Victoria Island was Goldstream Provincial Park, which is an old growth temperate rainforest. Besides photographing the beautiful scenery, we were looking for three species of birds, Pacific Wren, Red-bellied Sapsucker, and the American Dipper.

The first bird we found was the American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus. The American dipper’s notoriety is that it is the world’s only aquatic songbird. It used to be known as the water ouzel. The American dipper lives in western North America with the range from Alaska to California and isolated populations in Central America. They live in swift streams where they have plenty of boulders to perch on. They nest 6 to 20 feet above a deep portion of the stream, under bridges, on cliffs, or underwater falls.

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus

Dippers food consists of mainly aquatic invertebrates which they feed by waiting to fast-moving water and some virgin airheads to catch their prey, they also can do the same while swimming on top the water like a duck or they dive to the bottom of the stream and walk along it by grabbing at rocks.

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus
Looking for food

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus
Looking for food

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus
Looking for food

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus under the water catching food

Dippers have developed physical adaptations to help them thrive in their aquatic habitat. They can hold their breath for up to 30 seconds, they have stubby wings and tail feathers which are better suited for swimming, they have twice as many contour feathers and a thick down layer to help keep them warm in the cold mountain streams. They can change the curvature of their lenses so they can see above and below water. To help maintain their feathers waterproofed this they preen longer and more often than other songbirds. They close their nictitating membrane which allows them to see underwater.

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus Bathing

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus Bathing with nictitating membrane closed

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus Bathing

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus Bathing

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus Bathing

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus preening

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus preening

American Dipper – Cinclus mexicanus
Preening