Scott Schuette has passed on this spectacular photo of the St. Paul Broad-billed Sandpiper, still present and showing beautifully this morning.
Broad-billed Sandpiper, St. Paul Island--courtesy Scott Schuette.
They are sensational even where they occur regularly as they must be amongst the most impressive small shorebirds.
I’ll see one someday, I hope!
Is the journal Limicola still being published?
I was lucky to live at the Baltic near Greifswald during a time when a newly restored marshland on the coast was incredibly good for watching shorebirds. It was not very unusual in September to see more than 20 (the record being 27) species from just one spot by scanning the mudflats and Broad-billed Sandpipers were a regular feature in small numbers. On a good day you’d find a small flock of maybe 10, on a bad day you’d find singles. But even after a few years and a few hundred Broad-bills, each and every one was still a highlight.
Now of course the reeds have grown, other vegetation is high as well and shorebird numbers are down (and I moved away from the Baltic as well). I still regularly read reports of Broad-billed Sandpipers from the area, but now they are what one could call a semi-rarity, with only a handfull being found each migration season (and a 20-species day is still possible but not the norm).
I’ve read reports though that they can be rather numerous along the northern Black Sea coast during fall migration. That alone would justify a trip there even though they would not be lifers to me…
The birding magazine Limicola is still alive and kicking and a few of the recent issues were very good. Sadly, most top-notch articles even by German birders get published in more international magazines like Birding World or Dutch Birding because Limicola publishes in German and thus its readership is limited: if you find out something great, you want the world to know, and not just Germany.
All the best on your quest to find a Broad-billed Sandpiper. They’re a hard nut to crack (as we say in German and I think it works in English as well?) but worth all the effort in the world.
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