dowitcher ID question & some Skagit birds

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at
Sat Sep 11 19:47:54 PDT 2004

Dear Tweeters,

Today I saw a dowitcher that gave very good views. It
was a lone, silent bird, resting on the shore of the
slough at the Padilla Bay Trail, Skagit County. I was
able to make some sketches of tertials and scapulars,
but am still not sure which dowitcher it was. I looked
at seven or eight books, but none are very generous
with details on such feathers on moulting adult birds.
The seasonal bar graphs in Paulsen would lead me to
assume it was a Long-billed. Actually, that was the
species to which most characteristics pointed.
However, my question is, can any Tweeters recommend
any good websites that have large numbers of quality
images for ID purposes?

Other birds at the Padilla Bay Trail included fifty or
so Least Sandpipers, a dozen Caspian Terns, three
Cinnamon Teals (which were accompanied by two puzzling
other teals), and a Greater Yellowlegs.

Most enjoyable bird today was a Parasitic Jaeger at
Samish Island Public Beach. It zoomed around for five
mintutes or so. I looked for tern victims, but saw
none. There were some smallish white seabirds way out
in Samish Bay that could have been terns or small
gulls, but it was too far out to be sure. There were
also single Western and Red-necked Grebes there,
several Surf Scoters, and five Common Loons.

On the Green Road (Butler Flats north of Burlington)
was a flock of "stackbirds" that included at least a
hundred Brown-headed Cowbirds, one of the "best"
cowbird flocks I have ever seen. There were lots of
the black-and-dun mottled males, plus numerous
yellowish immatures. A little pure white dove was
keeping company with this flock of dark birds. It was
too small to be a Rock Pigeon, being more the size of
a Mourning Dove, and is presumably someone's escaped
pet. It made for a handsome contrast against its
flock-mates. The rest of the flock included hundreds
of Eurasian Starlings and Brewer's Blackbirds, with a
few Red-winged Blackbirds, and at least fifty House
Sparrows--a veritable junk-birder's paradise. Down the
road a piece, I was unable to relocate the Great Egret
seen at Green Road Pond a few days ago by Howard

At a farm just south of Burlington Hill were over
forty Killdeer, a flock which has been hanging out in
a recently tilled potato field there for a week or
two. That field used to get Pectorals and other
sandpipers in the fall, but this year, it seems to be
a Killdeer-only sort of place.


Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

near Lyman (Skagit County), Washington

garybletsch at

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