The waterfront of Brooklyn on either side of the Verrazano Bridge is the best place in New York City to see Purple Sandpipers. Every year they winter there on the rocky breakwater mere feet from the path between lower New York Harbor and the Belt Parkway that innumerable joggers, walkers, and bikers use. Of course, most of the folks on the path are completely oblivious to the hardy little birds making their living on the wave-washed rocks. Should they pause to take a look they would see a chunky little shorebird with orange feet and legs and a droopy bill that is orange at the base and black everywhere else. They don’t usually look very purple but they are pretty cute, at least in relation to other shorebirds.

Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima

My recent visit to the Brooklyn waterfront was on the same day that I spotted the White-winged Dove in Staten Island and it was a drizzly, cloudy, lousy light kind of day. Despite the annoying weather the sheer proximity of the sandpipers allowed me to get some decent images. Enjoy!

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.