Purple Sandpiper at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto

PURPLE SANDPIPER feeding on rocky shoreline pounded by crashing waves its favourite habitat. Light was perfect for seeing the purple sheen that gives this sandpiper its name. This Purple is in first winter plumage, aged by contrasting white-fringed juvenile coverts and tertials. Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto Christmas Bird Count on 15 December 2019.

 

VIDEO: Purple Sandpiper feeding at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto

 

Purple Sandpipers like rocks covered in algae that are constantly washed by waves. They feed mostly on mollusks, crustraceans and larvae. Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto Christmas Bird Count on 15 December 2019.

 

Its plumage is generally dark grey so that many people wonder why it's called Purple Sandpiper. Only in winter plumage does it show the purple sheen and under certain light conditions, in my experience when the sun is shining, Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto Christmas Bird Count on 15 December 2019.

 

This winter-hardy sandpiper is very agile as it moves over and among rocks. As we watched, waves washed over it and it even swam between rocks. Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto Christmas Bird Count on 15 December 2019.

 

Links

Purple Sandpiper in Toronto on 21 December 2016

 

Purple Sandpiper on the Toronto Christmas Bird Count on 15 December 2013