Showing posts from August, 2008

An Old World Dunlin, and hybrid

While birding South Beach, MA on Friday the 22nd, I came across two interesting calidris sandpipers that were feeding on the incoming tide in the same general area. The first bird was a small alternate-plumaged Dunlin that immediately caught my eye. Especially after having just seen a couple of typical hudsonia Dunlin, this bird’s small size and short bill were striking. In addition to the size and structure, a few other things stood out as well. It’s scapulars seemed to lack any trace of red. Instead they showed a golden-buff. The bird’s face was also decidedly brownish and not very pale, and the upper breast was very heavily streaked, nearly all the way down to the upper border of the black belly patch. It had a dark-headed and dark-breasted look…obviously darker than your typical hudsonia . I caught up with a group of birders and got them on the Dunlin, which we watched for quite some time. One of them mentioned that the bird almost had a Least Sandpiper feel/giss to it, which I tho

8/22 - South Beach

Here are some other images from South Beach on Friday. 21 species of shorebird were tallied on the day. I didn’t stumble across anything rare (except maybe a certain Dunlin subspecies and a hybrid, which I'll post in the coming days), but it was a spectacular afternoon to be out there. The temp was perfect, a slight breeze blowing, and the visibility was fantastic. I couldn’t tear myself away in time to catch the last ferry back, so I ended up walking instead. It was worth it, as thousands of shorebirds came in to roost. A small portion of a large mixed flock Western Sandpiper (center) American Golden-Plover Whimbrel White-rumped Sandpiper White-rumped Sandpiper From front to back: Black, Common, Roseate, Roseate One of 23 Hudsonian Godwits One of three Marbled Godwits A mixed flock of godwits, yellowlegs, and more. NB

BBC Pelagic #3 - Hyannis to Veatch's Canyon on 8/23

The third and final deep-water BBC pelagic sailed out of Hyannis early on Saturday morning. Our target was Veatch’s Canyon. Unlike the July trip, no rarities were to be found. It was still an enjoyable day out on the water. Highlights included 3 Audubon’s Shearwaters, a Pomarine Jaeger, Red-necked Phalaropes, 2 Sperm Whales, Risso’s Dolphins, and my life Manta Ray. Pomarine Jaeger Red-necked Phalaropes Manta Ray Risso's Dolphin Audubon's Shearwater Audubon's taking flight

8/20 - Charlestown Breachway

Vacation started on a bit of a sour note when a pelagic trip out of Rhode Island was called-off halfway through our ride to Block Canyon. However we were able to make the most of the afternoon with a visit to the well-known Charlestown Breachway. Fifteen shorebird species were tallied, with highlights including an AMERICAN AVOCET and 8 Whimbrel, plus a single Forster's Tern. NB

Western Willet vs. Eastern Willet

While birding Sandy Pt on Saturday afternoon, a juvenile Western Willet was present among five or so juvenile Eastern Willets (the local adult Easterns seem to have departed). I was able to grab a few decent images of both subspecies. Separation of Western ( inornatus ) from Eastern ( semipalmatus ) Willet is something that is being attempted more and more lately, and it is very doable especially when both subspecies are present side-by-side. Someday these two subspecies may be split into full species, so it would be outstanding to get a head start on identifying every Willet we see. Western Willet: - longer-legged, larger size, and more lanky overall - longer, thinner bill (especially the tip) - paler than Eastern; juveniles appear grayish - less contrast between scapulars and wing coverts than Eastern (does not apply to adults) Note the long legs, size much larger than the adjacent Greater Yellowlegs, bill shape, grayish coloration, and the degree of contrast between the scaps and co