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#ABArare – Marsh Sandpiper – California

On April 16, an ABA Code 5 Marsh Sandpiper was discovered, or perhaps re-discovered, at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Yolo County, California. This is the same site that hosted a Marsh Sandpiper in 2016.

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area lies directly between West Sacramento and Davis, California, just off of I-80. To access the area, take the “County Road 32A East Chiles Road” exit immediately west of the Yolo Causeway, turn right at stop sign and head south under freeway to west levee access. The bird has been see on the return leg of auto tour loop, on the west side of road with Greater Yellowlegs, about 300 yards south of where return leg starts. It was still present as of yesterday evening (4/17).

Marsh Sandpiper is extremely rare in the ABA Area, and known from only about 13 records, most of which come from the central and western Aleutians and the Pribilofs. Outside of the ABA Area, there are at least 2 records from Hawaii and one from Baja California, Mexico (2011). A Marsh Sandpiper found and photographed at the northern Salton Sea in fall of 2013 was California’s first, and the the first ABA Area record away from Alaska. Another bird, or perhaps the same individual, was present for several days in Solano County that following spring. As mentioned before, a Marsh Sandpiper was seen at this same site, on nearly the same day, 2 years ago.

This individual represents the third spring record for the ABA Area following the 2014 bird. According to Howell et al, Marsh Sandpiper distribution is too westerly and migration is too much overland to contribute to the spring drift migration of vagrant shorebirds in the western Alaskan islands, furthering the theory that this bird has overwintered in the Americas at least a couple times before.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
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