Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima)

Number of accepted Purple Sandpiper records for Louisiana = 6 as of October 2017

Accepted Records

One female (1974-13; formerly 1973-13) molting from basic to alternate plumage on 4 April 1974, Cameron: near east end of the East Jetty of Calcasieu ship channel; Robert B. Hamilton and Robert E. Noble (LSUMZ 75533) and George H. Lowery, Jr. (*). This represents the first state record (Lowery 1974).

Photo by Donna L. Dittmann

One (1984-02) in winter plumage collected (LSUMZ 113130) west of Holly Beach, Cameron Parish, on 12 January 1984 (Van Remsen; Bruce Crider, Larry McQueen, David Muth, Gary Rosenberg). The only previous record for Purple Sandpiper is also from Cameron Parish, at Calcasieu Pass on 4 April 1974.

One in basic plumage (1988-47; formerly 89-42) from 17 Dec. 1988 (SACBC) -2 Apr. 1989, Cameron: Cameron, East Jetty(1/2 mi. S Calcasieu Pass); Donna L. Dittmann (ph), Jim Stewart (Cardiff and Dittmann 1989, p. 599, 987); What was most likely the same individual was present on the east jetty at mouth Calcasieu Pass on 28 Feb. 1989 (Stephan J. Schoech; erroneously reported as 28 Jan. in AB 43(2):326), 30 Mar.11 Apr. 1989 (Janice Nicholls, Tom & Anne Marie Moorman), and 2 Apr. 1989 (Steve P. Gary, Charles Butterworth, Henry Miller; AB 43(3):493). Presumably all sightings pertained to the same individual. This is the third state record.

One in basic plumage (1988-46; formerly 89-39) on 18 Dec. 1988, Cameron: 2 mi. west of Holly Beach; Phillip Wallace, Cecil Kersting, Curtis A. Marantz, Curtis SorrelIs, Steven W. Cardiff (ph), Donna L. Dittmann, David. P. Muth, Kenneth V. Rosenberg, Gary H. Rosenberg, Peter E. Scott, Al & Gwen Smalley (ph), (AB 43(2):326). This record is the fourth for Louisiana.

One in basic plumage (1994-021) from 3-29 Apr. 1994, Jefferson: W. end of Grand Isle, jetty at Caminada Pass; Jim Holmes (ph), Joseph P. Kleiman, Dave Patton (ph), and Charles E. Lyon (drawing) (FN 48(3):308; LOS 159). This is the sixth state record.

One (2001-38) on 23 Dec 2001, Orleans: New Orleans, Lakefront Airport; David P. Muth and K.V. Rosenberg (ph only); NAB56(2):185.

Photo by K.V. Rosenberg

Unaccepted Records

One (89-144) on 28 Aug. 1989, Cameron: 3 mi. west of Holly Beach. All Members agreed that the description provided by the observer was suggestive of this species in basic plumage, but the bird was seen by a single observer for only 3-4 minutes, in the rain. The date is well outside the normal pattern of occurrence of Purple Sandpiper on the Gulf Coast, and would have surely represented a summering bird rather than a very early fall migrant, but the observer gave no indication of how unusual was the date. Of course, it cannot be ruled out that one of the two birds sighted the previous winter (see above) had remained to summer. Additionally, the observer did not report any presence of molt, which would have strengthened a sight record of a summering bird. Rock Sandpiper is virtually identical to Purple Sandpiper in basic plumage, and would also have to be taken into consideration in such an anomalous case. Without additional descriptive documentation (e. g., more detailed plumage description, photographs, reports from additional observers) all members agreed that a conservative decision was warranted.

One (1997-14) on 26 April 1997, Jefferson: Grand Isle, Exxon fields. Most of the Members believed that the description did not eliminate similar-appearing shorebird species and, considering the habitat in which the bird was observed, Members did not believe description eliminated a Pectoral Sandpiper or Ruff.

One (2014-101) on 22 November 2014, St. Tammany: Slidell, Convention Center on Oak Harbor Blvd. The description was considered too vague for acceptance of such a rare shorebird observed only in flight by an observer with no prior experience with this species. Some superficially similar species were not considered in the write-up.