Occurrence Maps

Upland Sandpiper

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The animation for “Uppies” shows several things of interest. The arrival timing on the Texas coast in mid-March is spot on and you can see the birds streaming northwards from Mexico. The area of breeding concentration in the Dakotas and Montana is just right, and a close look in the summer can see small spots of color all the way east to Massachusetts, upstate New York, and western Maryland. Many of these spots correspond to specific airports or other grasslands where relict populations of Upland Sandpipers persist. Such is the nature of this species’ breeding distribution–widespread, and common where habitat exists, but East of the Great Lakes that habitat is extremely rare, and usually at airports. Their departure in fall is mostly through the middle of the country as well, and notice how early their movement starts. Some are on the move by late June and by July they are well underway.

As a rarer species, it suffers from some of the irregularities seen in the Hermit Warbler and Cerulean Warbler maps. The bright zone on the East Coast (especially the one in the piedmont of North and South Carolina) is an artifact that can’t really be trusted. Some Uplands do migrate along the East Coast, but they are widely spread and probably don’t concentrate as much as this map suggests. However, the bright spot on Maryland’s upper Eastern Shore, does highlight an area important for the species, where it stages or stops in alfalfa fields and short grass fields. Do some depart this region and fly overwater directly from East Coast states, like American Golden-Plover and Hudsonian Godwit do?