With Hurricane Irene around several good birds including Sooty Terns, Bridled Terns, and most excitingly a BROWN-CHESTED MARTIN have been seen by good birders, especially on the Eastern Shore (5 hours from me) so I couldn't see them, but I had a great day today. A good birder about 45 minutes away reported a Baird's Sandpiper, a rare bird here and a lifer I needed, so my dad and I went to the site. We arrived on site but Pete (the guy who found it) was there and it turned out he had a misidentification and it was a common Least Sandpiper. Oh well. We went to Shenandoah National Park for a quick hike on the way home and then something happened just before we got home. Let's back this all up a bit. Earlier this morning I made a quick run through my neighborhood to look for birds. I found 5 sandpipers at a local pond but I'm not good with identifying shorebirds and they remained "unknown" to me but I posted photos of them asking for ID help to a local birding listserv. So, when on the way back from the failed search for Baird's Sandpiper I came across Allen Larner, one of the best local birders. He gave me the exciting news that 2 of my sandpipers were lifers for me and fairly rare for the area. One was a White-rumped Sandpiper and the other was a BAIRD'S Sandpiper, the species that was mistakenly reported by Pete that I was on my way back from looking for! The other shorebirds at the pond of the Baird's and White-rumped were Leasts. Allen taught me all the distinguishing features of Baird's. Thanks so much Allen!
What a great day.