Stilt Sandpipers - High Island Texas

Earlier this week I saw several Stilt Sandpipers feeding in small pools of water in the pasture area between the beach on the Gulf of Mexico and the more elevated wooded areas that attract migrant songbirds. The birds were in breeding plumage (see details in the image descriptions) which facilitates identification.

Note the yellow legs and the reddish patch below the supercilium (the white eyebrow stripe).

The long black beak is slightly down-curved and wider at the tip. The underparts of the bird are heavily barred.


Three Stilt Sandpipers feeding as a group. All the other Stilt Sandpipers I saw were feeding with Yellowlegs and Dowitchers with no other Stilt Sandpipers around. Note that the color of the legs of the bird on the right is obscured by shadow. 

Stilt Sandpipers are long distance migrants. They breed in the open arctic tundra of North America and migrate, primarily, to inland central South America. Although some overwinter in the southern U.S., I have seen them only during fall and spring migration.

David Sparks

I retired in 2005 after 40 years of research and teaching at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (24 years), the University of Pennsylvania (8 years) and the Baylor College of Medicine (8 years). Photography is my retirement hobby.

Nature photography, especially bird photography, combines a number of things that I really enjoy: bird-watching, being outdoors, photography, travel, messing about with computers, and learning new skills and concepts.  I now spend much of my time engaged in these activities.

David Sibley in the preface to The Sibley Guide to Birds wrote "Birds are beautiful, in spectacular as well as subtle ways; their colors, shapes, actions, and sounds are among the most aesthetically pleasing in nature."  My goal is to acquire images that capture the beauty and uniqueness of selected species as well as images that highlight the engaging behaviors the birds exhibit.