Young Birder Rock Sandpiper Twitch!

Happy Young Birders after getting their lifer Rock Sandpiper - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Well we got nine youth together and we biked out to the end of the south jetty in order to attempt to get them their lifer Rock Sandpiper! 

We had a great time riding out but I could tell the youth were anxious at the fast rate they were pedaling the 4km out in order to get to the end. Who can blame them really?!

When we got to the end there were many friendly familiar  HAPPY faces. The bird was not visible at the moment and a hovercraft had gone by honking and the shorebirds flushed. We could see Sanderling, Westerns and Dunlin. They all came back but the Rock Sandpiper was not visible (probably hiding in the rocks). I assured the kids not to panic and that it would be back.

All of a sudden, I spotted it in flight and then it landed on a log and then on a rock in front of us, giving everyone present, awesome views. You could notice how much darker it was and of course the yellow legs and yellow basal part of the bill.

Rock Sandpiper at Iona South Jetty in Richmond - Photos: Daniel Graca

Rock Sandpiper at Iona - Photo: Daniel Poon

Rock Sandpiper at Iona - Photo: Heather T.

Sanderling and Dunlin in Richmond - Photo: Josh Yiu

Sanderling at Iona - Photo: Heather T.

Dunlin in Richmond - Photos: Raymond Liu

Western Sandpipers in Richmond - Photo: Daniel Graca

Young birders looking down on their lifer Rock Sandpiper - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The youth were simply giddy to get such great views of their lifer. The ones who came out yesterday got much better views today as the bird was stationary. They kept commenting how beautiful it was! We did not see a Snow Bunting today on the way out but we were blessed with a great view of an uncommon Eared Grebe that Bentley spotted and some Common Murres that Cam spotted at the end of the jetty. We also had Barrows and Common Goldeneyes, Red-throated and Common Loons, Greater Scaup, Red-breasted Mergansers, White-winged and Surf Scoters and Horned and Red-necked Grebes. We searched the Snow Goose flock but could not find a Ross's Goose. On the drive out Raymond spotted a Kestrel.

Eared Grebe at Iona - Photo: Daniel Graca

Barrow's Goldeneye in Richmond - Photo: Daniel Graca

Red-breasted Mergansers at Iona - Photo: Heather T.

It was a great long weekend ringing in the New Year with these young birders. Thanks to all the youth that came out and to the parents that brought them with their bikes!


  1. What a great way to start the New Year - inspiring young people to chase after their dreams - and birds! Well done Mel!! Great photos - I must try get to the end of the jetty too! lol Happy New Year - and great job by all the young birders too! Keep it up!


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