My bird sighting last week at a nearby birding hotspot caught me by surprise: the Upland Sandpiper has arrived in southeast Michigan.
When I checked my past bird sightings, I learned I usually see Upland Sandpipers in early May.
A long distance traveler, the Upland Sandpiper winters in South American pampas of Paraguay and northern Argentina before migrating through the Great Plains and Midwest of the United States in early spring.
Their breeding grounds are in Canada and northern portion of the United States.
The tall, slim brown and white sandpiper with long yellow legs can be hard to see in the tall dry grasslands, meadows, and prairies; quite a different habitat from the wetlands where I usually see sandpipers.
The Upland Sandpiper are often seen near airports, perching on fence posts. Which is where I’ve seen them over the past few years. We have several that nest at a nearby airport.
I was driving on the perimeter road of a local airport a few days ago when I looked at a grayish bird on the fence post and said, “That’s not a Mourning Dove.”
It was too slim to be a Mourning Dove.
When I slowed down, I noticed the long neck and knew I found my first Upland Sandpiper of the year!