Wood Sandpiper page from The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America.
Lesser Yellowlegs, might be confused with Wood Sandpiper. The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America will help you sort out the differences in the most complete way of any other field guide.
A rare bird, a Wood Sandpiper, is now in Rhode Island and birders are flocking to see it. Although this species is a regular visitor to western AK, it is only a rare vagrant to the Northeast Coast and this is only the 7th time it has appeared in the lower 48! We are happy to say this species is included in our new The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. It is not included in many other field guides and our guide has the most extensive photos and text on this species of any other guide. We show all of the major plumages of the Wood Sandpiper: summer adult, winter adult, juvenal, and in flight. So, If you are a birder looking for how to identify this rarity, ours is your go-to guide. To quote the Stokes guide,
Tringa glareola L 8"
“Fairly regular visitor to w. AK; vagrant down West Coast and along Northeast Coast. Shape: Much like Solitary Sandpiper but with slightly longer legs. Primary extension past tertials very short, less than 1/4 bill length (almost length of bill in similar Lesser Yellowlegs).
Ad. Summer: In all plumages, broad whitish eyebrow (from forehead to nape) contrasts with dark caplike crown and dark eye-stripe. Upperparts dark grayish brown with bold white notches along feather edges (similar Lesser Yellowlegs has finer spotting); head and neck finely streaked; breast and flanks lightly barred; legs yellowish green. Bill with paler base (all black and longer and thinner in Lesser Yellowlegs). May bob front or rear of body.
Ad. Winter: Like ad. summer but with muted markings; spotting smaller on upperparts; neck and breast indistinctly streaked and washed with brownish gray. Bill with paler base.
Juv: (Jul-Aug) Like ad. summer but back dark brown with finer buffy spotting.
Flight: Dark wings and back; no wing-stripe; rump white; white tail with narrow barring. Toes extend fully beyond tail.
Hab: Bogs, marshes in summer; inland wetlands in winter. Voice: High-pitched mellow dewdewdew or slowly repeated jit.
Hope you get a chance to see and enjoy the Wood Sandpiper and, if not, keep looking at those Lesser Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers to be sure they are not a rare Wood Sandpiper!
For more photos of the RI bird go here.
For updates on where to find it go here.