I spent an afternoon on the Conejohela Flats on the Susquehanna River yesterday. The water behind the dam was amazingly low, resulting in acres of mud. This benefited the birds by giving them more foraging habitat but made it a bit more difficult to get close looks at the birds. Least Sandpipers and Dunlin outnumbered everything else. A couple dozen Semipalmated Sandpipers, two Black-bellied Plovers and one each of Greater Yellowlegs and Spotted Sandpipers wrapped up the shorebird action.
Initially the birds were far off, but we hunkered down at a good vantage point on the mud flats and allowed them to get accustomed to us. They would slowly forage towards us, getting closer and allowing me to do some digiscoping.
The birds would periodically flush, flying in large circles across the water until they felt safe enough to sit down again. Sometimes they seemed to flush when a gull flew over, other times there didn’t seem to be a good reason.
The Least Sandpipers were in a wide array of plumages, ranging from the worn drab brown to bright rufous tones.