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Purple sandpiper        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Purple sandpipers are the Atlantic equivalents of the rock sandpiper of the North Pacific .   Both usually spend more time on rocks than on sand or mud.   This individual is a far off-course bird that managed to end up on a barnacle beach on the Salton Sea in extreme southern California in March and April 2016 -- far out of its normal range and the first record from California.   At the time I write this most authorities think it is a purple sandpiper, but the ID was a little uncertain because of the great similarity between the winter plumages the two species.   This one has a few breeding-plumage feathers, which helped push the diagnosis towards purple among the experts.

  • Canon 7D2, 800 mm f5.6 IS lens + 1.4X converter, fill-in flash (2016)