Grrrrr… Shorebirds (Corrections Welcomed!)

If every there was an exercise in frustration, at least for me, it would be identifying shorebirds.  My philosophy has always been to really know the common birds.  That way when I see something that seems a little off when looking at those birds, I know that I need to hit the field guide to see if I have spotted a rarer species.

To be honest, more often than not I am noticing a new detail and learning more about a common bird.  Perhaps there is a change in plumage or just some detail I never noticed before.  But every now and then I see that I have spotted a lifer or a bird that is a little out of the ordinary.

Today I decide to hit the pannes of of the Eastern Trail in Scarborough Marsh.  I got there before daybreak and staked-out one of the pannes  waiting for the light of day.  Sunrise was cloudy and it was several hours before I had good lighting, but I was still able to observe a lot of birds and get some pretty good images.

I will post more in the next few days, including some great views I had of a Northern Harrier and something a bit more narrative, but asides from the first two images, the other 8 are all shorebirds.  These images have all been reduced to 1024×768 pixels.  If you’d like a larger resolution image to help with an ID let me know.  If you want a print, I can make arrangements too.

1)  The first shot of the day, a Great Egret catching the daybreak in its wings.

2)  A hovering Kingfisher

3)  Two Dowitchers.  I think that the one in the foreground is a Short-billed Dowitcher and the one behind it is a Long-billed Dowitcher.  (Incidentally, the Queen Mother was a Dowager not to be confused with Dowitcher)  The tail feathers have a lot more banding on the long-billed dowitcher, which is also a slightly larger bird.  Incidentally, bill length overlaps and isn’t really a good indicator.

4) Long-billed Dowitcher

5)  A distant bird I couldn’t get close to which I believe is an American Golden Plover.

6)  Much better look at this plover, very good lighting and I was able to get close to capture this image of a Black-Bellied Plover in its winter plumage.

7)  In one of the pannes I found a group of shorebirds that included (to the best of my abilities a Short-Billed Dowitcher, a Long-billed Dowitcher, a Stilt Sandpiper, a Lesser Yellow Legs, and a Hudsonian Godwit.  Here you can see the Stilt Sandpiper, a Dowitcher and the Hudsonian Godwit.

8)  The Stilt Sandpiper (or is it?)

9)  Hudsonian Godwit

10)  Lesser Yellowlegs



3 thoughts on “Grrrrr… Shorebirds (Corrections Welcomed!)

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