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Subsequently the four of us observed the shorebird resting and foraging in close proximity to about 20 pairs of nesting Herring Gulls.
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This sighting was my first for the Thunder Bay District and my first spring encounter. We later learned that this was only the second occurrence from the District. The first was found on the even more remote Caribou Island on May 25, 1984.
The scarcity of the species in the Lake Superior basin is underscored by the paucity of records - only seven - from Minnesota, a jurisdiction with many more active birders. The most recent sighting, the state's first for any spring season, was found at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, NE of Duluth, on March 17 of this year (photo here). The March and April dates of this year's Purple Sandpipers suggest that these two birds may have overwintered on Lake Superior, as they regularly do on the lower Great Lakes.