Spotted Sandpiper & I Brave the Rain

It was a gloomy day yesterday when I decided to go for a walk in the rain. To the beach at Ocean View I went. This is the place many sunny summer days I have enjoyed. However, I have visited there during inclement weather many times too. Rain is not very photogenic when compared to bright sunny days.  Alas, I was in for a surprise as I got soaked by a rain squall.

Spending some time on the rain and it’s grayness consumed me for a bit.

Rainy Puget Sound looking West at Vashon & Blake Islands

The beach was washed to a fine flat plane with rocks and chunks of cement poking up. The cement is an interesting feature down here. They originated years ago when the bluff above the beach collapsed and brought down someones backyard walls and walkways. The power of water and wind has moved this debris northward. Different times of year the sand covers the chunks but today they are all scrapped clean and exposed.  Mother Nature rules no matter what Man thinks.

Cement chunks migrating north on the beach

Then there is the log jutting out into the surf. This log has moved several times over the years. Today it would be a highlight of my adventure.

Log with surf pounding away

The waves were washing back and forth creating a calm meditative moment. This video will lull you a bit. It will also give you a view of the logs root ball and the tangled driftwood I was climbing around on.

As the wind was blowing and I decided it was time to go find a bit more shelter a small bird flew by. He was close to the waves and landed in the rocky beach. He wasn’t too big, perhaps the size of a sparrow but with long legs and beak. A shorebird I had never seen before. I froze in place and started capturing him on film.

The Sandpiper tilts his head to look above for danger.

Was he looking at me? or a larger predator?  Not sure but I found him super cute. At the time I did not know what his species was. Researching later at home in my dry jammies I found he is a non-breeding Spotted Sandpiper. If he was breeding his breast would be full of spots. Here is what Cornell Labs – All About Birds says about them.

The dapper Spotted Sandpiper makes a great ambassador for the notoriously difficult-to-identify shorebirds. They occur all across North America, they are distinctive in both looks and actions, and they’re handsome. They also have intriguing social lives in which females take the lead and males raise the young. With their richly spotted breeding plumage, teetering gait, stuttering wing beats, and showy courtship dances, this bird is among the most notable and memorable shorebirds in North America.

At first he was walking the shoreline feeding as he went. Then to my delight he jumped onto that log I just mentioned.

Great view of Spotted Sandpiper at Ocean View – So CUTE!!

Check out his feet and  how he is clinging to the log. It gets better!!  I have a video of him walking the log and dancing with the waves.

Then he disappeared over the log. I raced through the logs on the beach to see where he went. He is tough to spot but there he was bobbing and weaving around the rocks.

Sandpiper taking care of business on the stormy beach
Big rocks and surf do not stop this little guy

This shorebird has a behavior that is a key to identifying them.  They bob their little butts up and down as they make their way around. Cornell Labs says this about this little quirk

Its characteristic teetering motion has earned the Spotted Sandpiper many nicknames. Among them are teeter-peep, teeter-bob, jerk or perk bird, teeter-snipe, and tip-tail.

The function of the teetering motion typical of this species has not been determined. Chicks teeter nearly as soon as they hatch from the egg. The teetering gets faster when the bird is nervous, but stops when the bird is alarmed, aggressive, or courting.

Check it out & you will smile all day!

Then he flew back to the other side of the log.  Can you see me jumping and climbing again all soaking wet over the driftwood?  That was me desperate to get more of this wonderful piece of serendipity.

I got lucky and found him for a few more shots.

In the rocks looking for aquatic larvae and small crustaceans.
Just a little bit closer view of his busy ways.

I leave you with a smile on my face as I remember the rain and this little guy that made for a wonderful late fall (felt like winter) day.

Then he just walked away took flight.

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