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Semipalmated Sandpiper

A small shorebird that breeds in the Arctic tundra of North America and migrates south to coastal areas of South America for the winter. They are named for their partially webbed feet, which have small webs between their toes.

Breeding in the arctic and wintering in Central and South America means the Semipalmated Sandpiper makes a very long migration each spring and fall. When reaching South American wintering grounds for the first time, young of the year Semipalmated Sandpipers usually skip their first chance at spring migration and spend over a year on the wintering grounds.

Using flight displays and aggressive chases, male Semipalmated Sandpipers establish nesting territories in the spring. They usually leave these territories to forage each day, sometimes traveling about a mile. Much remains to be learned about the lifespan of the sandpipers, but the oldest known bird was twelve years old.

Description of the Semipalmated Sandpiper


The Semipalmated Sandpiper is a small shorebird with dark legs and a relatively short, straight bill relative to other small Calidris sandpipers. Breeding birds are spotted below, and have grayish-brown upperparts.  In flight, a white wing stripe is visible.  Length: 6 in.  Wingspan: 14 in.

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.


The sexes are similar.

Seasonal change in appearance

Winter birds are plainer, with less heavily marked underparts and gray upperparts.


Juveniles are similar to breeding adults, but have less heavily marked breasts.


Semipalmated Sandpipers inhabit mudflats, beaches, and tundra.


Semipalmated Sandpipers eat insects and crustaceans.

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.


Semipalmated Sandpipers forage in and on mud.


Semipalmated Sandpipers breed in arctic Canada and Alaska. They winter from Mexico to South America, and occur primarily across the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. in migration. The population is stable.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the American Goldfinch.


Fun Facts

Adult Semipalmated Sandpipers migrate earlier in the fall than juveniles.

Female Semipalmated Sandpipers often leave the young with the male a few days after they hatch


The flight song is a variably-pitched trill.  A “cheet” flight call is also given.


Similar Species


The Semipalmated Sandpiper’s nest is a depression lined with leaves and moss, and is placed on a mound of vegetation or under a shrub.

Number: Usually lay 4 eggs.
Color: Whitish with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 20 days, and leave the nest shortly after hatching, though associating with the adults for some time.

Bent Life History of the Semipalmated Sandpiper

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Semipalmated Sandpiper – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.


HABITSContributed by CharlesWendell Townsend

This little sandy colored sandpiper, appropriately called the “sand peep,” seems most at home on the sea beaches, but it also frequents the sand flats of tidal estuaries, and to a less extent, the salt marshes, and is even found on the shores of inland lakes during the migrations.

Courtship: Although I have never seen this bird on its northern breeding grounds, I have been so fortunate as to have heard many times the courtship song during the migrations on the New England coast, and to have witnessed some, at least, of its posturing on the ground. This sandpiper is more of a musician than the least, and h~s song is well worth hearing. I can but repeat what I have already published on the subject (1905)

Rising on quivering wings to about 30 feet from the ground, the bird advances with rapid wing beats, curving the pinions strongly downward, pouring forth a succession of musical notes: a continuous quavering trill: and ending with a few very sweet notes that recall those of a goldfinch. He then descends to the ground where one may be lucky enough, if near at hand, to hear a low musical cluck from the excited bird. This is, I suppose, the full love flight song, and is not often heard in its entirety, but the first quavering trill Is not uncommon, a single bird or member of a flock singing this as he flies over.

Dr. Joseph Grinnell (1900) writes as follows of this species at Cape Blossom, Alaska, in July:

A few were to he found in the Interior on damp, grassy fiats, but the strip of low meadow bordering the lagoon hack of the mission was by far the most popular resort. Here the grass was short and smooth as a lawn, with occasional narrow branches from the main slough cutting their way back toward the higher ground. In one part of this stretch of tide flats the sandpipers were so numerous that as many as a dozen pairs were In sight at once, and their twittering notes were to be heard on all sides. They were flying back and forth over the meadows chasing one another, with shrill, rolling notes uttered so continuously as to become almost inaudible from their monotony. At times In an individual case this trilling would become so intensified as to remind one of the shrill notes of the white throated swift.

Joseph Dixon (1917a), writing of a bird that sang at an elevation of about 50 feet above the nest says: “His song seemed to come from every direction, and this illusion was difficult to account for even by the unusual location of the songster.” Whether the whinny heard from birds, many of which are posturing on the sand is a modification of the nuptial song or rather a partial reproduction of it, I do not know, but I am inclined to think it is. Many of these musicians appear on close scrutiny to be young birds, which would explain the imperfection of the song. The posturing is often in the nature of mock fighting: I have never seen any real blows exchanged: when two, facing each other, crouch almost flat on the sand, and then suddenly spring at each other with wings outspread. Again, two would slowly walk toward each other with neck and body almost touching the ground and with head up. This act is often performed with tail cocked up over the back, displaying a white triangle of tail coverts, and every now and then the birds would run at each other with outspread wings. All birds acting thus appeared to be uttering a series of rolling notes, which, emitted from a number of birds scattered over the flats, produces a considerable volume of sound. I have described this partial song as a whinny, and have tried to reduce it to syllables: eh, ek, eli, or what-er, what-er.

Lucien M. Turner in his Ungava notes records two individuals that “ran back and forth, uttering a purring twitter, holding their wings over their back with the head and neck depressed, while the posterior portion of the body was somewhat elevated. ‘The throat was at times inflated and at other times every feather of the body was nearly reversed, presenting a strange sight.”

Herbert W. Brandt supplies the following from observations in Alaska:

The semipalmated sandpiper flies high into the air, often almost out of sight, and pours forth a sustained tinkling song, which sounds like Its native name uttered as a high-pitched trill: “la-v-ia-v-la-v.” As it sings it rapidly fails the air with short wing heats, at the same time moving at considerable speed continuously hack anti forth over a distance of 50 yards or more. Four of the birds which I took to be males were rather noisy, twittering, and purling, and occasionally one of them rushed at another as if he seriously Intended to wage mortal combat. The feathers on his dainty neck stood out in an angered ruff; his wings were half spread, showing their light markings; and when the little warrior was just about to strike he folded his wings and elevated his tail until it was almost vertical above his long wing tips. There was, however, no real fight, for each one seemed to know his superior and gave way, after a little display, like a weaker rooster in a well-regulated barnyard.

Nesting: H. W. Brandt contributes the following:

The semipalmated sandpiper nests amid the short herbage on the grassy dunes near the moaning breakers of Point Dali, where it selects a site quite exposed to view. Among the creeping berry vines the bird simply scratches a depression in the sand, and this it lines with a few disconnected grass stems, stiff moss stems, and a handful of tiny, crisp-dried leaves of the cranberry, willow, or dwarf birch. The range of measurements of five nests is: Inside diameter, 2 to 2 1/2 inches; inside depth, 1 1/2 to 2 inches; total depth, 2 1/2 to 3 1/4 inches. The nest is very fragile and breaks up at once if disturbed. Like all shore birds that nest in the open, the brooding bird is anything but a close sitter, and in consequence the nest must be found by diligent search. An incubating female was collected as it departed from the nest.

Roderick Macfarlane, who found many nests of this species in the Barren Grounds, describes two of them as follows:

Nest was found between two small, lakes: a few withered grasses and leaves in a shallow hole or depression, partly shaded from view by a tuft of grass. The nest was a mere depression in the midst of some hay and lined therewith, as well as with a few withered leaves.

Winthrop Sprague Brooks (1915) relates his experience in Alaska as follows:

Thirteen nests were found, the first, a set of three fresh eggs, being taken on June 12. All the nests were essentially alike: mere cavities in damp tundra close to a pool, and lined with dry willow leaves. On seven nests the female was found, and the male on six. Although the male seems to take about an equal share in brooding on the eggs and taking care of the young, I could not see that he d,id this at any particular time, for I could find either sex on the nest at midnight or midday. Neither sex showed any more concern than the other when an intruder was at the nest. In most cases the bird disturbed would flutter along a few yards and then remain walking quietly and watching. On one occasion a female made a great disturbance. Semipalmated sandpipers on the breeding ground are the most gentle and interesting birds of the North.

Eggs: [Author’s note. Four eggs seems to be the invariable rule with the semipalmated sandpiper. They are usually ovate pyriform in shape with a tendency to become subpyriform. The shell is somewhat glossy. The eggs can not with certainty be distinguished from those of the least sandpiper on one hand or the western sandpiper on the other hand; the measurements overlap with both and the colors and markings intergrade with both. I have 11 sets of semipalmated, and I can match nearly every one of them with sets from my series of the other two species. In series, however, they much more closely resemble the least sandpiper.

Herbert W. Brandt has sent me a description of his sets taken in Alaska, which are probably of the normal type, as follows:

In the six sets before me the ground color is uniformly dull white and Is conspicuous. The markings are bold and individual, with most of them round instead of elongate, although there is a slight spiral tendency. These spots are dark, ranging from “claret brown’s to “burnt lake,” producing a deep red effect when examined In series. The underlying spots are numerous and rather conspicuous, due to the whitish ground color. They shade from “light Quaker drab to “Quaker drab.”

Less than half of my sets, all from Alaska, would fit his description; the ground colors in most of mine vary from “pale olive buff” to “olive buff”; in some it is “deep olive buff,” and in one “Isabella color.” The colors of the markings run from “liver brown” to “chestnut brown” in the darkest and from “hazel” to “cinnamon brown” in the lightest. There are comparatively few underlying drab markings. The eggs show the same variations in shape and arrangement of markings as eggs of the least sandpiper. I have two sets from Point Barrow, taken with the parent bird, which are almost exactly like eggs of the western sandpiper in color and style of markings but smaller, and several other sets approaching them in appearance. There ar~ 10 sets of eggs in the Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge collected by W. Sprague Brooks near Demarcation Point, Alaska, with the parent bird in each case. Three of these are of the western sandpiper type, and three others are similarly marked with different shades of brown. The measurements of 52 eggs average 30.2 by 21.2 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 32 by 21, 30 by 22, 27.7 by 21.3, and 31.5 by 20 millimeters.]

Young: According to Mr. Dixon (1~1~a), incubation lasts 17 days. It is performed equally by the male and female, as is shown by Mr. Brooks’s very conclusive report quoted above. Mr. Dixon (1917a), writing of birds observed in Alaska says the young so exactly match the surroundings that they are invisible at 3 feet. He relates the case of a snowy owl that sailed from its perch in the direction of a brood of young which flattened and froze obedient to the alarm cry of the mother. The owl poised directly over them, but evidently failed to see them and flew away. On another occasion two parasitic jaegers flew by; the young flattened, and all escaped but one that began to move before the second jaeger had passed and was promptly snapped up.

He says:

It was found that the parents made no effort to feed the young. It was soon seen, however, that such care was not necessary. The young would stumble about and pick up minute gnats and flies with great dexterity, and the shallow algae-rimmed pools furnished them many a Juicy “wriggler.” The gait of the young sandpipers was a stumbling toddle, while their large feet and legs were all out of proportion to the rest of their slender bodies. By dropping and extending their wings they were able to use them as crutches, which often kept them from falling.

In about a month they were fully fledged, and a week later the sandpipers were leaving for the south.

Plumages: [Author’s note: In natal down the young semipalmated most closely resembles the young western sandpiper, but it is generally paler, with less brown or rufous. The forehead, sides of the head, and all under parts are white, faintly washed on the cheeks and upper breast with pale buff; a median stripe on the forehead, reaching only halfway to the bill, a broad loral stripe, and a malar spot are black; there is a black spot in the center of the crown, brokefl by a few very small white dots, surrounded by “hazel” and bordered with black; a short stripe over the eye and an auricular patch are black and “hazel” mixed; between these and the crown patch there is a broad band of white dots, terminal tufts; the back, rump, wings, and thighs arc variegated “hazel” and black, with numerous small white dots, terminal tufts. The bill is broad at the tip.

Young birds are in juvenal plumage when they reach the United States on the fall migration. They can be distinguished from adults by the buffy edgings above and by the absence of dusky streaks on the throat and upper breast. The feathers of the crown are edged with sandy buff and those of the back and scapulars with “ochraceous buff” or creamy white; the wing coverts are edged with pale buff; the upper breast is washed with buff and the rest of the under parts are white. This plumage is partially molted during September and October, producing a first winter plumage, which is like the adult winter plumage, except for the juvenal wing coverts, some scapulars, and a few body feathers, which are retained. At the first prenuptial molt, the next spring, young birds become practically adult.

Adults have a complete molt from July to November, the body plumage being molted first and the wings last., the latter sometimes not until winter. Their partial prenuptial molt involves the body plumage, sometimes the tail and some wing coverts; it begins in February and lasts into May. The freshly molted spring plumage, in early May, has a “drab-gray” appearance, due to broad drabgray tips on the feathers of the mantle; these tips soon wear away, revealing the bright colors of the nuptial plumage before the end of May.]

Food: I have recorded the following found by me in the stomachs of this species taken on the New England coast; insects of various kinds, including beetles, small mollusks (Littorina), worms and crustaceans (Cammarus o~’chestia) bits of seaweed and sand. Dr. Alexander ‘Wetmore (1916) records the contents of six stomachs from birds taken in Porte Rico in August; 99.16 p~’ cent was animal matter, 0.84 per cent vegetable matter.

Beetles, bugs, fly pupae, and small mollusks form the bulk of the food. Small water scavenger beetles (Hydrophiiidae) were found in four stomachs and amount to 27 per cent. Two ground beetleg (Bcnzbidfu,n sp.) amount to 5 per cent and miscellaneous beetles to 3.34 per cent. One bird had eaten nothIng but four back swimmers (Notonecta sp.), and these made 16.66 percent. Fly pupae figure largely in two stomachs, forming 21.06 per cent of the total, and snails (Planorbis sp.) 13 per cent, while mIscellaneous animal matter amounts to 12.50 per cent. The small quantity of vegetable matter present was rubbish. The numbers of Diptera eaten speak well for this sandpiper.

Preble and MeAtee (1923) found in the stomach of a bird s’hot in the Pribilof Islands “remains of the beach beetle (Aegialitea califormicus), 10 per cent; fragments of small flies (Diptera), 85 per cent; and two seeds (not identified), 5 per cent.”

Arthur H. Howell (1924) says, “Two stomachs of this birds from Alabama contained the remains of small mollusks, fly larvae and beetles. This species is known to feed on marine worms and mosquitoes.”

Behavior: Semipalmated sandpipers are fascinating birds to watch. When feeding on the beaches, they run along in a scattered flock just above the wave line, retreating rapidly as the wave advances, but sometimes being forced to flutter above it, all the time eagerly seeking for choice morsels. With head down, not held up as is the case with its companions the semipalmated plovers, it runs along dabbling here and there irregularly, and occasionally probing with its bill in the sand. These probings are not so deep nor so systematic as those of the sanderling, which makes a series of six to a dozen holes in succession throwing up the sand on either side. In its greediness the semipalmated sandpiper sometimes attempts to swallow too large a morsel for its small round mouth, which is much out of proportion to the stretch of the end of the bill, and many shakings of the head are needed to get a large morsel past the sticking point. I have seen one try several times to swallow a large beach flea (Talorchestia megalophthalma), and then fly off with it in its bill.

On a rocky shore I have seen them hunting for insects at high tide on the smooth rocks, and at low tide, running among the rocks covered with seaweed (Fucws vesiculsus) and on the floating weed, fluttering their wings from time to time to keep from sinking. Here they find plenty of food in the small mollusks and crustaceans, Littorirta and Gammarus. On an August day on the coast of Maine I saw one searching about on floating rockweed several miles from land. Shore birds doubtless often rest in this way in their long journeys over sea.

In flight, semipalmated sandpipers in flocks, large and small, often move as one bird, and turning with military precision, alternately displaying their light breasts and darker backs: flashing white and then almost disappearing. The method which enables shore birds, or, indeed, any flocking bird, to accomplish these evolutions is obscure. In the case of the semipalmated sandpiper these evolutions appear often to be made in silence, although it is of course possible that signals, not audible to the human observer, may be given. It has been suggested that telepathy or even that “a common soul” dominating the flock may be the interpretation, but both of these explanations are at present, at least, outside of scientific ken. 1 have noticed that birds who do not habitually execute evolutions, like English sparrows and the young of those that are skillful in this direction when adult, as for example, starlings, are much less proficient at this, and it seems to me possible that the whole thing may be accounted for by quickness of observation and of reaction, inherited and acquired.

Semipalmated sandpipers like other shore birds often stand on one leg and even hop along on it in feeding and they also sleep in this attitude. It is difficult to distinguish these from cripples, and one is easily deceived; the cripples seem as happy and tireless in feeding as the others.

William Brewster (1925) thus charmingly describes the habits of this bird in the wet and soft ground at Lake Umbagog:

Here they trot to and fro, almost as actively and ceaselessly as so many ants, picking up the inconspicuous worms or larvae from the surface of the ground and seeking them beneath it by thrusting down their sensitive bills quite to the nostrils, after the manner of boring snipe, but less quickly, vigorously, and persistently. They are also given to wading out into shallow water where they pull up good sized masses of aquatic plants, such as Vtrictslaria. By shaking and piercing these with their bills they evidently obtain from them food of some kind, perhaps insect larvae or small Urustacea.

At high tide on the beaches, when the wet sand with its bountiful food supply is covered, great flocks of this species, together with the least sandpiper, the sanderling, and the semipalmated plover, often spend an hour or lnore huddled together on the dry sand. Each species keeps more or less separate. The birds generally face the wlnd, but sometimes they arrange themselves in the lee of bits of driftwood or other obstructions, and “tail out” down wind in long streamers as it were, each sheltered by the one next to windward. They sleep standing on one or both legs with the bill tucked under the feathers of the back: not “-under the wing” as in poems: or they squat down, resting their breasts on the sand. They occasionally seem to yawn by stretching one wing over a leg. They also spread both wings above the back as do many other shore birds, and they flirt the bill nervously from side to side, to relieve their ermui, perhaps shaking the head at the same time.

Voice: The varied courtship songs and notes have been described above. Their call note, to my ears, is very much like that of the least sandpiper, but shriller and less melodious. A harsh rasping note and a peeping sound- are also given and a low, rolling gossipy note is often emitted when they approach other birds or decoys, a note that used to be imitated with deadly effect by gunners. John T. Nichols (1920) says:

The flight note of the semipaimated sandpiper Is a rather loud “cherk,” softer and less reedy than the analogous krieker “kerr.” It is commonly modified to a softer “cher” or “che,” which with much variation becomes the conversational twittering of members of a feeding fThck. Soft short, snappy “chips” are characteristic of flocks maneuvering abcut decoys * Hurried cheeping notes (” kl.i-ip”) on being flushed, are suggestive of the same note of the krieker.

Field marks: These have been discussed at length under least sandpiper to which the reader is referred, but may be summed up here as follows: a little larger t.han the least sandpiper, grayer, bill stouter and straight, tarsi and feet black, semipalmated. The young can be distinguished from the old in the field by their nearly white breasts washed with a smoky tint. In the hand their tarsi are seen to be black with a slight greenish hue.

Game: The fact that so many of these birds could be easily killed at one shot, and the fact that they were so fat and palatable broiled or cooked in a pie, made them always much sought after by the pot hunter. As large shore birds grew scarcer and it became more and more difficult for the gunner to fill his bag with them, “peep” shooting, even by sportsmen, was in vogue. The Federal law has now ~visely removed this species from the list of game brds and prevented its extinction. The bird has responded to this protection in a marked degree, and flocks of 500 or more are common and pleasing sights on our beaches where one-tenth of this number was once rare.

The shooting of semipalmated sandpipers occurred largely on the beaches. The gunner dug a hole in the sand, banked it up, and put brush and driftwood, often reinfoxced with seaweed, on the ramparts. At a convenient distance decoys of wood or tin were placed, arranged like a flock of birds with their heads pointing to the wind. Occasionally large clamshells were stuck in the sand, simulating very well a flock of peep. Much depended on the skill of the gunner in calling down the birds as they flew along, by cunningly imitating their notes and by his care in keeping concealed and motionless until- the moment that he delivered his fire. To bring down a score of birds from a closely packed flock required but little skill, where, to pick off a single peep, flying erratically and swiftly by, called for well-seasoned judgment; but the chances for these birds were small indeed when the beaches were lined with inviting decoys and concealed whistling gunners.

Fall: On the New England coast the scniipalmated sandpiper is a little later in migration than its colleague, the least sandpiper. July 10 to October 30 are the usual dates, but few are seen after September 20. The adults come first, but after the middle of August the young appear, to be distinguished by their nearly white breasts washed with a smoky tint, and by their more unsuspecting ways.

The extraordinary abundance of this species at certain times on migration is well illusf rated by what Stuart T. Danforth (1925) says of it in Porto Rico. He writes:

The semipalmated sandpiper is by far the most abundant shore bird at Cartagena Lagoon, though it occurs only as a fall migrant. I have records from August 13 to October 20, 1924. During the latter part of August they are present In almost unbelievable numbers. I hardly dare estimate their numbers, but on August 26, when they were at the height of their abundance, I am sure that 100,000 would have been a loxv estimate of their numbers. They simply swarmed over the mud flats. On this date, although I was trying to avoid shooting them, I got 16 while shooting other birds. They were so abundant that stray shots could not help killing numbers of them. On other days many were also unintentionally shot In the same manner. In fact, all but 4 of the 36 that I collected were shot in this way. This species prefers the mud flats, but when they were so excessively abundant some were forced to feed in the sedge and grass associations, and when the fall rains came a little later practically all of them were forced to the sedges and grasses and even to the cane fields. But within a few days after this most of them left for parts unknown.

Range: North America, South America, the West Indies, and northeastern Siberia; accidental in Europe.

Breeding range: The semipalmated sandpiper breeds north to the northeastern coast of Siberia (Plover Bay); Alaska (Point Hope, Point Barrow, Barter Island, Camden Bay, and Demarcation Point) ; Yukon (probably Herschel Island) ; Mackenzie (Franklin Bay), Victoria Land; northern Keewatin (Cape Fullerton); Labrador (Okak) ; and Newfoundland. East to Labrador (Okak) . South to Labrador (Okak); Newfoundland; northern Quebec (Fort George) ; southern Keewatin (Severn River) ; probably eastern Manitoba (York Factory and Fort Churchill); Mackenzie (Fort Anderson) ; and Alaska (Pastolik). West to Alaska (Pastolik, Hooper Bay, St. Michael, probably Norne, Port Clarence, Kowak River, probably Cape Blossom, and Point Hope) ; and northeastern Siberia (Plover Bay).

Winter range: North to Sonora (Hermosillo); Texas (Fort Brown, Corpus Christi, and Refugio County); Louisiana (State Game Preserve, Marsh Island, False River, and Hog Bayou); and South Carolina (Bulls Point). East to South Carolina (Bulls Point, Sea Islands, Frogmore, and Port Royal); Georgia (Chatham County, Blackbeard Island, Darien, and St. Marys); Florida (Mosquito Inlet and St. Lucia); Bahama Islands (Great Inagila); Haiti (Monte Christi and Sanchez); Porto Rico; Lesser Antilles (Antigua, Barbados, Carriacou, Grenada, and Trinidad); French Guiana (Cayenne); and Brazil (Island Mexiana, Island Cajetuba, and Bahia). South to Brazil (Bahia); rarely Patagonia (Nuevo Gulf); and Peru (Parecas Bay). West to Peru (Parecas Bay); Colombia (Cartagena and Sabanillo); Guatemala (San Jose); Valley of Mexico; Sinaloa (Mazatlan); and Sonora (Hermosillo).

Spring migration: Early dates of arrival in the spring are: North Carolina, Highlands, April 12, and Raleigh, April 13; Virginia, Cobb Island, May 14, and Smiths Island, May 16; District of Columbia, Washington, May 10; Pennsylvania, Grove City, May 3, and Milford, May 9; New Jersey, Elizabeth, May 6; New York, Orient, April 16, Canandaigua, April 26, Geneva, May 5, and Rochester, May 7; Connecticut, Saybrook, May 9, and Norwalk, May 11; Massachusetts, Monomoy Island, April 22, Ipswich, April 24; Maine, Lewiston, May 6; Quebec, May 2; Missouri, Appleton City, April 3, and Boonville, April 16; Illinois, Springfield, April 25, Quincy, May 3; Indiana, Camden, April 18, Bicknell, April 24, and Bloomington, April 26; Ohio, Lakeside, May 3, New Bremen, May 5, and Oberlin, May 7; Michigan, Ann Arbor, April 1; Ontario, Toronto, May 14, and Ottawa, May 14; Iowa, Keokuk, April 19, Emmetsburg, April 27, and Sioux City, May 2; Wisconsin, Elkhorn, May 1, and Madison, May 7; Minnesota, Wilder, April 19, Jackson, April 24, and Hallock, May 9; Kansas, McPherson, April 15, Lawrence, May 5, and Emporia, May 9; Nebraska, Neligh, April 30, Omaha, May 4, and Lincoln, May 5; South Dakota, Sioux Falls, May 5, and Harrison, May 8; Manitoba, Gimli, May 10, and Shoal Lake, May 19: Saskatchewan, Dinsmore, May 13, and Indian Head, May 19; and Mackenzie, Fort Chipewyan, May 24, and Fort Simpson, May 26.

Late dates of spring departure are: Cuba, Guantanamo, May 8, and Mariel, May 10; the Bahama Islands, Hog Island, April 27, Salt Key, May 5, and Inagua, May 27; Florida, Whitfield, May 11, Fort De Soto, May 25, and St. Marks, May 26; Georgia, Savannah, May 22; South Carolina, Ladys Island, May 26; North Carolina, Fort Macon, May 17, Cape Hatteras, May 20, and Raleigh, May 22; Virginia, Smiths Island, May 22, and Cape Charles, May 27; District of Colmnbia, Washington, May 22; Pennsylvania, Warren, May 24, and Erie, June 4; New Jersey, Camden, May 25, Long Beach, June 1, and Elizabeth, June 18; New York, Rochester, June 2, Syracuse, June 4, Poughkeepsie, June 5, Geneva, June 8, and New York City, June 15; Connecticut, Norwalk, May 30, and Fairfield, June 9; Rhode Island, Sakonnet Point, June 4; Massachusetts, Dennis, May 30, Lynn, June 2, and Harvard, June 9; Maine, Portland, June 3; Louisiana, Lobdell, May 28; Missouri, Boonville, May 31; fllinois, Oak Park, May 26, Shawneetown, May 27, and Chicago, June 13; Ohio, Oberlin, June 1, Port Clinton, June 3, and Lakeside, June 10; Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie, May 31, and Detroit, June 2; Ontario, Toronto, June 2, Hamilton, June 5, and Todmorden, June 13; Iowa, Clear Lake, May 20, Mason City, May 27, and Sioux City, May 30; Wisconsin, Madison, May 31; Minnesota, Leech Lake, May 27, Minneapolis, June 1, and Lanesboro, June 3; Texas, Texas City, May 17, Point Isabel, May 19, and Gainesville, May 24; Kansas, Fort Riley, May 22, Republican Fork, May 25, Emporia, May 27, and Stafford County, June 6; Nebraska., Long Pine, May 25, Valentine, May 30, and Lincoln, June 8; South Dakota, Faulkton, May 27, Forestburg, June 2, and Harrison, June 3; Manitoba, May 31, Dominion City, June 1, and Shoal Lake, June 14; and Saskatchewan, Quill Lake, June 11, and Kutanajan Lake, June 13.

Fall migration: Early dates of fall arrival are: British Columbia, Okanagan Landing, July 15, Atlin, July 16, and Courtenay, July 24; Colorado, Larimer County, July 18; Saskatchewan, Quill Lake, July 4, and Kiddleston, July 16; Manitoba, Russell, July 11, Red Deer River, July 23, and Shoal Lake, August 3; North Dakota, Mouse River, August 10; South Dakota, Forestburg, August 2; Kansas, Emporia, August 31; Texas, Brownsville, October 1, and Lake Worth, October 19; Minnesota, St. Vincent, July 24; Iowa, Sioux City, July 12, and Winnebago County, July 29; Ontario, Todmorden, July 21, and Amherstburg-Colchester, July 29; Michigan, Charity Island, July 9, and Detroit, July 22; Ohio, Columbus, July 12, Bay Point, July 16, and Painesville, July 19; Illinois, Chicago, July 2; Missouri, St. Louis, August 6; Mississippi, Biloxi, July 10, Beauvoir, July 18, and Bay St. Louis, July 21; Nova Scotia, Wolfyule, July 10; Maine, Portland, July 23, and Pittsfield, July 24; Massachusetts, Monomoy IsLand, July 3, Marthas Vineyard, July 8, and Ipswich, July 10; Rhode Island, Newport, July 14, and Providence, July 22; Connecticut, Milford, July 28, and New Haven, July 30; New York, Orient, July 4, East Hampton, July 8, Freeport, July 12, and Rochester, July 12; New Jersey, Long Beach, July 7, and Cape May, July 14; Pennsylvania, Carlisle, July 27; District of Columbia, Washington, August 10; Virginia, Cobb Island, July 15; South Carolina, Frogmore, July 22; FLorida, Palma Sola, July 8, Fernandina, July 14, Pensacola, July 16, and Fort De Soto, July 17; Cuba, Guantanamo, August 15, and Batabano, August 26; Porto Rico, Mona Island, August 11, and Cabo Rojo, August 24; and the Lesser Antilles, St. Croix, August 14, and Barbados, August 18.

Late dates of departure in the fall are: British Columbia, Lake Teslin, September 12, and Okanagan Landing, September 16; Saskatchewan, Ravine Bank, August 25; Manitoba, Winnipeg, September 13; Nebraska, Lincoln, October 30; Kansas, Topeka, September 15; Minnesota, Lanesboro, September 15; Wisconsin, Racine, October 1; Iowa, Marshailtown, October 12, and Burlington, October 15; Ontario, Ottawa, October 5, London, October 10, and Point Pelee, November 15; Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie, October 1, and Detroit., October 15; Ohio, Salem, October 9, Youngstown, October 26, and Dayton, November 10; Illinois, Chicago, October 9, and Cantine, October 17; Missouri, St. Louis, October 17; Prince Edward Island, North River, October 27; Nova Scotia, Wolfville, September 24; Quebec, Montreal, October 18; Maine, Lewiston, October 17; Massachusetts, Dennis, October 21, Boston, October 23, Harvard, October 24, and Lynn, October 25.; Connecticut, Middleton, October 7, and New Haven, October 23; New York, Canandaigua, October 14, Sing Sing, October 20, New York City, October 24, Shinnecock Bay, October 30, and Ithaca, November 1; New Jersey, Morristown. September 24, Cape May, October 2, and Elizabeth, October 16; Pennsylvania, Beaver, October 3; and District of Columbia, Washington, October 26.

Casual records: The semipalmated sandpiper is not common in Colorado and Utah, although in both of these States it has been taken on several occasions. Other casual records are Wyoming, Horse Creek, 1859, and Alkali Lake, October 31, 1897; Montana, Fort Keogh, May 15 and 16, 1889, Sweetgrass Hills, August 11, 1874, Billings, August 12, 1900, and Miles City, August 14 and 15, 1900; Washington, Blame, August 4 to 8, 1900, Puget Sound, July 15, 1857, Shoalwater Bay, May 3, 1854, and Simiahmoo, May, 1858; and Pribilof Islands, St. Paul Island, June 12, 1890.

There also are at least three records for the British Isles: Romney Marsh, Kent, September, 1907, Marazion Marsh, Cnrnwall, October 10, 1853, and Northam Burrows. I)e~on, September, 1869.

Egg dates: Arctic Canada: 70 records, June 12 to July 24; 35 records, July 3 to 6. Alaska: 33 records, June 2 to July 5; 17 records, June 6 to 18.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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