The much sought-after Buff-breasted Sandpiper.
I had been hoping to find a Buff-breasted Sandpiper for a few years already. They are only on Bonaire for a short time, historically only during October and November in fall migration, on their way to South America where they will spend the winter. This sandpiper is another migration marvel, traveling twice a year between the Arctic tundra, where it breeds, to its wintering grounds, which can be as far south as Argentina.
Per eBird, historical sightings on Bonaire list two observations in 1970, two observations in 1984, one by Peter-Paul in 2016 of 45 birds, and one additional observation by Peter-Paul in 2018.
So, it would be pure luck if we found the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, but since hope springs eternal, we went to look for what would be a life bird for two of us.
Lia Avis was the first to say, “Whoa! What’s that?” She had discerned the very first Buff-breasted Sandpiper of the day! Since this species is not shy and doesn’t appear to mind a closer inspection, we were able to walk within about 10 meters/30 feet of the first sandpiper. What a beautiful bird!
The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is an elegant sandpiper, buff-colored on its breast and chest, as its name implies. It has a large eye and a rather plain face, with a short bill and yellow legs.
Our four-some found a total of three on Saturday, and I found a total of five on Sunday! I wonder how many more will appear?