You might not be thinking of bird migration in July and August, but this is the peak of southbound shorebird migration, when any mudflat is likely to provide a resting place for a few species, and the best locations can host 20 or more species together. Shorebirds (sandpipers and plovers) provide some of the most exciting late-summer birding opportunities, but they are widely known for being among the most challenging birds to identify. Many similar species are often in mixed flocks.
As with any other large group of similar species, the shorebirds can be subdivided into smaller groups of related species based on shared characteristics. Once you have found a flock of shorebirds, one of the best first steps is to figure out which of the subgroups are represented. Pay special attention to overall size and proportions, habitat choice, and foraging motions. Don’t worry too much about details of plumage at this stage.