Saturday, March 27, 2010


In my last post, I commented that I still have problems with identifying shorebirds. This became
clear again on Thursday, when I popped in at Paul Rushing Chain-of-Lakes Park on the Katy prairie on my way to work.

The first shorebirds I spotted were American Golden Plovers, too far away for photos but easy to ID through binoculars.

The next birds up were even easier to identify: Nothing else looks even vaguely like a Black-necked Stilt!

I felt fairly secure, too, in identifying these birds as Greater Yellowlegs.

Then the problems started. I spotted a host of Long-billed Dowitchers. Or were they Short-billed Dowitchers? They were quiet when feeding, which Sibley says is a feature of Short-billed Dowitchers. On the other hand, these birds were on grass and Sibley says Short-billed favor beaches rather than grassy areas. Also, the secondary wing feathers looked too dark to be Short-billed. So they must be Long-billed, right? But the tail on these birds looked too pale for Long-billed.

As I often do when stumped by birds, I've now posted photos on Birdforum and asked for help. I'll let you know what people think.
Most people on BirdForum seemed to think the Dowitchers were Short-billed. However, some people weren't so sure!

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