|Can you identify this wader, photographed on the Azores in October?|
In many real-life situations, of course, most individuals of all these species are readily identifiable, or at least usually so. Less clear-cut was the small Calidrid depicted in a photo which we published in Birdwatch (172: 37) in Peter Alfrey’s excellent ‘Eye of the Storm’ article, about birding on the Azores in autumn 2005. The middle ‘peep’ in a trio of shorebirds on Terceira, identified as White-rumped, Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers at the time, was latterly suggested by Marshall Iliff (and eventually many others) to be a Little Stint.
Nearctic peeps are far more numerous in the Azores than in Britain, to the point where Semipalmated Sandpipers are said to be outnumbered by Little Stints only by about 2:1. I have seen obvious examples of both species in the archipelago, and also less clear-cut individuals (including a wintering bird which I consulted Peter about).
So having recently revisited the ID issues surrounding small Calidrids, I was reminded of a bird (see photo above) which I myself saw in the Azores one October. Before discussing this wader further, readers are welcome to suggest an identification – it’s not a trick question, anonymous contributions are welcome (the more the merrier) and just a species name will suffice, but do please have a go and post your entry in the comments box below this post. I’ll be back again on this once a few answers are forthcoming.