Purple sandpipers spotted at Pier 26 tide deck

Photos by Andrea Evans

Local photographer and birder Claudine Williams was good to let me know about the work of fellow birder (and artist) Andrea Evans, who caught these wonderful shots of the rare purple sandpiper at the Pier 26 tide deck. I will let her explain more below. But she also added this, which is a nice coda to the Hudson River Park anniversary celebration: “At least 40 or so top-notch birders have come down to Tribeca see the sandpipers at the pier. I happen to bird there every day and usually I’m the only one reporting to eBird [an online database of bird observations]. The birders I’ve met there in the last few weeks are very impressed with Pier 26 and the tide deck.”

From Andrea:

This bird is always rare for New York County, though they have been seen recently on Governor’s Island. There is some speculation it’s a first sighting for Manhattan proper.

Two were spotted on December 9 on the rock at the end of Pier 26, and since then one or two have been seen sleeping, foraging and feeding on the rocks almost daily. They can be seen at both low and high tides. It was a great surprise to see three on January 2, undaunted by the crashing waves! (The photo below shows one sleeping on the big rock at high tide!)

The purple sandpiper is distinguished from other sandpipers by their plump shape, drooping bill with an orange base, orange legs, and gray feathers with a scalloped pattern. In the right light, the feathers have a purple sheen. In the late summer of 2023, more common sandpipers were seen at Pier 26 — semipalmated, least, and spotted — stopping off on their long journeys to Central and South America.

They breed in the Arctic tundra in Canada and winter along the rocky coast of the Atlantic; their range is the furthest north of all the sandpipers. Pier 26 offers a suitable habitat and terrific viewing for humans from the tide deck. It’s great to see the tidal flats of Pier 26 attracting these birds, as was intended!



  1. Love this 🥰

  2. Claudine is the best . I met her on my daily walks along the river.
    She has taught this non birder so much about birds.
    I look forward to running into !!!!!!!

  3. How cool! Thanks for sharing, we keep our eyes open for them.