Purple Sandpiper at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on November 28, 2017

Doing some birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning I came across a stunning Purple Sandpiper. I have been looking hard all fall along the lake for this species and it finally happened. As it was, I was at Lakeshore State Park on the east end of the island on the big lake. I spotted a sandpiper type bird, darker in color bird fly out from the big rock shore at waters edge out over the water about 10 feet and then return to the big rocks at waters edge farther south about ~ 100 feet. This bird would never have been seen as no one ever walks along the water with the very large rocks but I just happened to catch the flight. I knew immediately it had to be the Purple Sandpiper, a rare bird as it’s normal range is the east coast of the US, but are seen just once in awhile late fall Nov-Dec. I climbed down to the rocks and after awhile spotted it feeding. It did not seem to mind me at a distance as it just continually fed as big waves just kept coming in.  A few times the waves pushed this bird around, obviously this is a tough bird and is used to that. This species has been seen only a few times in the state in the last few years. The day started out with some sun and then clouds moved in with very mild temps of 50 degrees plus. Awesome bird and a fun morning. The last  time and only time I saw Purple Sandpipers were December 13, 2012 at Wind Point in Racine by the lighthouse rocky shoreline and there were 2 of them. Images were taken on November 28, 2017.

Purple Sandpiper with something in the bill…

Purple Sandpiper

Binomial name: Calidris maritima

Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies

Size: 9” long, 17” wing span

Weight:  2.5 oz

Notes: Breeds in the tundra and winters along rocky shores of the Atlantic Coast making this a rare bird for Wisconsin.

Just standing pretty before a flight down the shore…I saw this numerous times. Feed, perch, look around, then fly to the next spot…

Has something to eat…

Something in the bill…

The close-up

Feeding in the wave action…

Some preening here…


Feeding in the wave action that just hit the shore…standing on large rocks here in the water, there is no beach

In the waves…standing on a large rock with a wave rolling over it…

Getting something…

It may have something in the bill…

Getting something to eat as the waves move…standing on a large rock with a wave rolling over it….

In the splash…standing on a rock with some wave action…no beach here

Coming up from the rocks at the water before the next flight…

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About admin

Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.

14 Responses to Purple Sandpiper at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on November 28, 2017

  1. Nan Wisherd says:

    Great photos, great bird. Congrats!

  2. Mark Korducki says:

    Wow! What great shots and congrats to you finding a rare for the state bird

  3. Rita Flores Wiskowski says:

    Beautiful images! Great find and stunning captures!

  4. Thomas Wood says:

    Fantastic shots, Jim! The extraordinary closeups show every detail. Congratulations on a great find.

  5. Karen Weiss says:

    So beautiful and great shots, thanks for sharing. I always learn something from you.

  6. Joan Schrinner says:

    Absolutely stunning photos, Jim, especially the close-ups!

  7. Robert says:

    Great pictures of a beautiful bird!

  8. Suzanne says:


  9. Betsy Abert says:

    Great find and photos, and good to see it somewhere other than Wind Point where it shows up in these late season visits. Racine birders will be on their toes tomorrow, no doubt! Thanks Jim.

  10. Chuck Petters says:

    Wonderful photos Jim. I always look forward to what photos you come up with next. Well done.

  11. Joanie says:

    Congratulations, Jim and thanks again for sharing your photos. Awesome find. Your patience paid off. Thanks again.

  12. Anne Koeppe says:

    I not only enjoy your stunningly detailed photos but your commentary about the bird adds insight into the bird’s life. Thank you so much, Jim.

  13. Gerald Haiar says:

    Great commentary along with the great shots !

  14. Diana Gastrow says:

    So beautiful!!

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