American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Spotted Redshank – Michigan

On November 2, Alan Ryff and Maggie Jewett discovered an ABA Code 4 Spotted Redshank in a farm pond in Washtenaw County, Michigan. The bird was refound the next day by other birders and since November 3 has been seen each day at the same site more or less without fail. This is a 2nd record for Michigan and one of only a few recent records of this elegant European shorebird in North America.

The bird has been reliably seen at the corner of Scio Church Rd and Parker Rd, just west of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and about 5 miles south of I-94. It is not more than an hour west of Detroit, Michigan, and the Wayne County International Airport. Birders have been present nearly every day and law enforcement encouraged people to park entirely off the road walk on the grass to find a spot to observe the bird.

Spotted Redshank is a wide ranging Eurasian shorebird similar in size and shape to Greater Yellowlegs. It is a very rare vagrant to North America with no really clear pattern of vagrancy, having shown up all over the continent over the years. It is even rare in Alaska, which, unusual for shorebirds, has surprisingly few records.

There is a previous Michigan record of this species, from 1976 in nearby Monroe County, this came during a time when Spotted Redshank was seen somewhat regularly in the 70s-90s. Records since have been much more rare. The last few North American records of Spotted Redshank have occurred on the west coast, in Washington (2014), British Columbia (2015), and Alaska (2014). Also during this period was another record from the Great Lakes Midwest, from Indiana in 2013.