Wandering Tattler at Iona

On Saturday evening I drifted into Iona Beach Regional Park after spending most of the day birding Boundary Bay and Reifel Bird Sanctuary. A pair of juvenile Wandering Tattler had been reported throughout the week on the south jetty and despite my dislike for “target birding”, with its potential for creating an air of disappointment at the end of an outing when certain birds have not been seen, I couldn’t help but want to track this species down.

Not long after starting the lengthy, and quite frankly somewhat boring, walk down the south jetty I ran into a birder/photographer who kindly informed me that both the Tattlers were just past the second storm shelter on the south and leeward side of the jetty. This information saved me from stopping every few hundred meters to scan the rocky shoreline for two indistinct grey shorebirds. Near the second storm shelter I met another birder/photographer who directed me towards the precise position of the birds; finding them couldn’t have been much easier than if someone had pointed my binoculars straight at the pair.

Both juvenile Wandering Tattlers were sleeping, or at least trying to, when I found them. I had to balance my spotting scope in a pretty precarious position on the rocks to get some photos and a good look…

These birds could have been born in dwarf shrub upland or montane tundra in Alaska, the Yukon, northwest BC, a small section of western Northwest Territories, or possibly north eastern Russia (1). Their non breeding habitat is much like that of Iona’s south jetty; rocky shorelines, both natural and man made (1).

Iona’s checklist states that Wandering Tattler is rare in fall (which includes fall migration). Both juveniles were well worth the walk down the jetty and to top an already spectacular day off I also spotted a Wilson’s Phalarope along with three Red-necked Phalarope foraging on the southeast sewage lagoon.


  1. Gill, Robert E., Brian J. Mccaffery and Pavel S. Tomkovich. 2002. Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/bna/species/642doi:10.2173/bna.642

1 Response to “Wandering Tattler at Iona”

  1. 1 Jane September 30, 2014 at 3:57 pm

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