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Falls lake shorebirds


I have just came back from Ellebre Creek mud flats. That was hard walk
through 3-4 feet vegetation with hundreds of mosquitos every step. I was
completely wet up to my chest.  Not easy but nice experience.
Not too many birds, but so far the best area for last three weeks.

Killdeer - 8
Semipalmated Plover - 3
Greater Yellowlegs - 2 ad  4 juv.
Lesser Yellowlegs - 5 ad 28 juv.
Short-billed Dowitcher - 3 juv.
Pectoral Sandpiper - 16 (still good number of adults)
White-rumped Sand. - 1 ad (where are juveniles?)
Western Sand. - 4 juv.
Semipalmated Sand. - 23 juv.
Least Sand. - 8 ad 65 juv.

Sora - 5 (there must be much, much more - perfect place!)
Bobolink - 12 in vegetation + 6 flying W (the life bird for
Merlin - 1 juv.

In addition there was one Willow Flycatcher singing along RR.

I have been thinking about that Reeves reported from that place.  I have
seen thousands of these birds in Europe (with someand... have some
1. The bird is not so uniform, there are very scaly or blotchy pattern
on upperparts (ad and juveniles) (back and scapulars) with distinct
pattern on tertials (if not moulted yet)(juveniles have more uniform
tertials). If birds are moulting to winter plumage the blotchy pattern
is even more obvious. So if you can see bird from short distance (that
had to be short if there was description of red tinge to the base of the
bill) it should be very scaly-blotchy on all upperparts.
2. Legs in Ruff are very variable indeed however usually they have some
yellowish-greenish colors in juveniles. In adults they are more orangy
or even reddish, sometimes yellow but not greenish or green.
3. There is nothing about wing-tail pattern in flying bird whereas it
had to be seen if you noticed the long legged appearance.
4. How about size?

In case of shorebirds the edge has to  (sometimes sex as well)
determined BEFORE we can make positive ID. So, if there are some doubts
about edge (juvenile or ad or transitional plumage) it is in most cases
impossible to identify the species! In other word if there are some
hard-to-identify shorebirds listed without edge or plumage stage there
are always some doubts of positive ID.
To know plumage changes in particular species means to know how to ID
this shorebird.

So, see you tomorrow at Falls lake if not be too much raining!


Michal Skakuj  Ph.D.
4600 University Drive apt. 1312
Durham, NC 27707
phone:        919 402 9961
mobile phone: 919 599 3040