[TN-Bird] Re: Eagle Bend Fish Hatchery

  • From: Michael Todd <birder1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "kde@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <kde@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Sharon Monett <sbm4him@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2013 08:23:52 -0700 (PDT)

Thanks Dean for taking the time to give some detailed answers! I agree almost 
On the Dowitcher, I also think Short-billed on bill shape with downward kink 
towards end, very pale coloration below blending to white, and the sparse but 
pretty uniform spotting down down breastsides and flanks. Long-billed lose the 
barring more readily than Short-billed, so that by August they usually have 
markings heaviest at breast sides and very light to absent along flanks. 
Better/additional looks would be nice on this bird though.
1814 I would call an adult Pectoral, with the long primary extension and 
yellowish bill base.
Good Birding!!
Mike Todd
McKenzie, TN

 From: "kde@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <kde@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Sharon Monett <sbm4him@xxxxxxxxx> 
Cc: Tennessee Birds <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 9:25 AM
Subject: [TN-Bird] Re: Eagle Bend Fish Hatchery

See my notes below...

Dean Edwards
Knoxville, TN

On Mon, 12 Aug 2013, Sharon Monett wrote:

> 1574: Least sandpiper seems to be the consensus.

Correct. Juvenile.  Note the fresh plumage and the pattern of the 
scapulars (the feathers just over the folded wing on the back)... black 
center with rusty orange edges and white tips.  These white tips on the 
mantle (center part of the back) make two white lines that form a V.  The 
white tips are a key point to look for in Least SP, and I will come back 
to that below.  Also note the yellow legs which help distinguish Least 
from other peeps... this can be a good point if seen but should not be an 
end-all-be-all field mark... other peeps can rarely have yellowish legs or 
legs covered in yellow-looking mud or Least can have legs covered in dark 
mud, etc.  Finally, note how the coverts (small feathers covering the 
wings) and tertials (wing feathers covering the tail) are also dark 
centered with rusty orange edges giving a uniform appearance to the back 
(except for the white spots).  Remember this for later.

> 1675: Spotted, maybe winter plumage?

Correct but a juvenile.

> 1688: No guesses yet

Spotted SP.  Looks like a molting adult as there appears to be some 
spotting underneath.  These guys are IDable in flight from great distance 
by their stiff-winged flight style.  Here, note the white wing stripe and 
all dark tail and rump.  Also note the white eyering.

> 1713: One guess for semipalmated sandpiper, one guess for Least.

Juvenile Least SP.  Compare with 1574.  yellow legs, scapular pattern, 
etc.  Coverts and tertials are more contrasty than in 1574 with buffy 
edges instead of rusty orange but still good for a Least.

> 1746: Consensus is Dowitcher; no one so far ventured a guess as to whether
> it's short-billed or long-billed.

I'm going to go with adult "hendersoni" Short-billed Dowitcher.  Note the 
worn state of the feathers clearly indicating an adult, still mostly in 
breeding plumage.  The orange wash to the underparts goes all the way to 
the tail (eliminates "griseus" SB Dowitcher but not LB).  The spotting up 
top and small chevrons on the flanks (rather than heavy, long bars as for 
LB) and the more slender overall shape (not the "I just swallowed a 
grapefruit" look of a LB) points me to SB.

> 1758: Guesses have included Solitary or Yellowlegs. I was thinking Solitary
> originally.

Juvenile Spotted SP.  compare with 1675.  Note the back is barred with 
buffy edges to the fresh juvenile feathers, NOT spotted as in Solitary.  
Also note the classic eye ring of a juvenile Spotted... Solitary have 
spectacles with white loral strip (like it's wearing glasses).  The 
overall posture is classic Spotted SP.  Note how the brown on the neck and 
upper breast a) does not connect in the middle and b) makes a "thumb" that 
sticks down in front of the wing surrounded by white.  Finally, look at 
the tail.  First, it extends beyond the wingtips as in Spotted and unlike 
Solitary.  Second, it is brown.  Solitary have a very distinctive tail 
pattern... dark center, white edges with lateral dark stripes.  From the 
side on a standing bird, the white with black stripes is very evident.

> 1781: Spotted

Correct.  Adult in breeding plumage.

> 1814: No guesses given

Adult Least SP.  Note the worn, tattered feathers ageing this as an adult 
bird... not the bright, fresh plumage of the juveniles above.  Legs are 
yellow, scapulars and coverts have dark center and buffy edges.  Overall 
brown appearance with heavy coloration on the upper breast.

> 1853: Guesses included Least, Semipalmated and Western. So far, Western
> seems to be the consensus.

Juvenile Least SP.  Compare with above.  First, note the fresh plumage so 
this is a juvenile something.  The yellow legs are not as obvious here so 
focus on the scapulars, coverts, and tertials and compare with 1574.  
Scapulars are dark centered with rusty orange edges and white tips.  You 
can see a bit of the V on the back.  Coverts and tertials also have rusty 
orange edging.  Also note the heavily streaked upper breast.  Western 
should have more reddish color on the scapular edges without the white 
tips and the coverts and tertials have cold, grey edges that contrast with 
the scaps... not the uniform orangey look of a Least.

> 1858: Spotted

Correct.  Adult in breeding plumage.

> 1969: Consensus is Pectoral

Correct.  Adult in breeding plumage.  Note the heavy barred upper breast 
that ends sharply.  Also note the worn feather edges on the scapulars and 
coverts that help age the bird.  Can look similar to Least SP but much 

> For the non-shore birds:
> 1984: Red-winged blackbirds. Maybe young? Maybe female? Maybe young
> females? I had previous pictures of female rwbs that didn't seem to look
> like this (but that was back in the spring, so different plumage, I guess?)
> so I'd never have guessed that's what these were. Several though
> meadowlark, which had been my initial thought until I realized the beak was
> all wrong.

Juvenile RW Blackbirds.  At least one looks like a male with red coming 
in on sholder.

> 1987: Juvenile Starling. This was actually my initial thought because of
> the beak. But again, just last week, I was at Eagle Bend and saw a MUCH
> larger bird that looked TOTALLY different from this one that also turned
> out to be a juvenile starling, so that threw me. Interesting how quickly,
> and completely, their plumage can change.

Correct.  In heavy molt.  Note the "stars" coming in on the chest.
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