What kinds of shorebirds are these?

Hello again folks!

Between road trips, I thought I would once again ask your advice about a couple of shore birds. Both were taken in late July (a couple of days ago, in fact) on Long Beach, Vancouver Island (on the Pacific side, between the towns of Tofino and Uculelet) in B.C., Canada.

In the case of the gull (on the first photo), there isn’t much doubt in my mind that this is a California Gull except for one point: the handsom bird in the photo is clearly a breeding adult, but this species usually only winters on the Island.

In the case of the second shore bird, I am about 98% certain that this is a Western Sandpiper, but I would like another pair of eyes to take a look at the picture (to confirm). It’s not great, but you should be able to zoom in to take a better look…

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2 responses to “What kinds of shorebirds are these?

  1. I believe you’re correct on both birds, Pierre. The California Gull and the Ring-billed Gull are very similar in breeding plumage. Both have red gapes, but the CG has a dark iris, while the R-BG has a pale iris and the bill on the California, with its red and black spots, clearly matches the one in your photo. I’m not great with shorebirds, but yours look like Western Sandpipers to me.

  2. What is your source that claimed California Gulls do not appear on Vancouver Island in July? I checked my guides and both Sibley and Smithsonian agree that is accurate. Please see my post.