by Bruce Mactavish and Ken Knowles

On November 8, 2003 Ken Knowles and Bruce Mactavish were birding Bear Cove on the southeast corner of the Avalon Peninsula. Renowned for vagrant passerines, this site also has a short gravel beach where a build-up of rotting kelp attracts small numbers of shorebirds. Ken had reported seeing a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the beach and, realizing how late such a record would be in North America, I had to see the bird.