All right, folks. I am not a shorebird genius! I saw a bunch of birds at Julian Wetlands today and I need help! These are almost all the same bird, and all of them were the same size and displayed the same bobbing-head behavior:
My feeling--based on size, length of bill compared to head size, leg color, and behavior--is Lesser Yellowlegs. But I might be wrong!
So I tried to digiscope...A few field marks of note: the complete white eye ring says Solitary Sandpiper. But even here, you can tell the legs are kinda yellow; a Solitary Sandpiper's legs are olive.
It's possible that I saw both Solitary Sandpipers AND Lesser Yellowlegs. HELP!
I saw other, more easily identifiable birds too:Eastern Kingbirds everywhere.
A young Chipping Sparrow trilled away and then posed for me.
This long tall gentleman was joined by two of his friends:
The two herons sailed over my head from behind me and gracefully landed near the first heron. It was beautiful.
I was out there for a couple of hours, a reward for making two big sales today. At one point, all the little Killdeer and Solitary Yellowlegpipers started flying around crazy. Then I saw it: A NORTHERN HARRIER! He glided around, landing low in the grass, watching the pond, though I didn't see him take any prey. I saw the white rump patch, the low flight and low perching; the dark brown coloring indicated a female. I watched through my bins for a long time and didn't get a photo until she was too far away.
When I filled out my eBird list, I had to click on "Rare Species" to put a "1" in the NOHA box. According to my range maps, they're found year-round here, though. So why the special thing?