Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marsh madness

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?


John said...

The shorebird looks good for a yellowlegs. Both greater and lesser can show a narrow eyering. It may be more apparent on some individuals than others, and it's usually less bold than on a solitary sandpiper.

On eBird: the entry forms you see when you submit data are based on month-by-month checklists of what birds are expected for each county. Some counties have more complete lists than others. I suspect that how complete a county list is depends on how many checklists have been entered and how active the local reviewers are. It may just be that no one has reported a summer harrier from your county, even though they breed in the region.

dguzman said...

John--Gotcha. And thank you for the info on eBird! That makes sense. I liking knowing that I'm contributing to a more complete listing of birds in my county!

Rabbits' Guy said...

Boy, if you can identify the different long-legged, flock living, long beaked shore waders - that is something. There are several types around here too, but they sort of all look the same to me - just some bigger than others!