Today I learned that not only am I hopeless at identifying shorebirds, I can't see them either. Unless they move. In these rocks at Fort Stevens State Park, near the South Jetty of the Columbia River, were about 30 peeps (small sandpipers). The biologist I was with said they were Least Sandpipers. I'll take her word for it. They looked like rocks to me most of the time. Here is a picture I took. Honest, there are many small birds in this photo.
Give up? I'll enlarge a small portion of the photo. You may see peeps magically appear.
We were actually looking for Snowy Plovers. Those are sand-colored birds about the size of the Least Sandpipers above. See if you can find any on the beach where we were looking.
No? Neither did we. But the others spotted a Sanderling, which is a sand-colored bird slightly larger than a Least Sandpiper with a slightly longer bill. I didn't get a photo. It was too far away and I was supposed to be looking for Snowy Plovers.
I think I should stick with Black Oystercatchers. Although they hang out on black rocks, at least they have long, bright red bills and they're between two and three times as big as these little sand birds.
I fear the only way I'll find a Snowy Plover is if it runs across my foot.