Date: 3/24/18 8:04 am
From: Robert DeCandido PhD <rdcny...>
Subject: [JERSEYBI] Ruff NJ [1933]
On October 2, 1932, about a shallow pond on the salt marshes near Tuckerton, N.J., the writer saw two birds which were identified, first by sight and later, for confirmation, by careful examination of skins, as Ruffs (Philomachus pugnax). The birds were seen first at a distance of fully one hundred yards, walking about in search of food, on the salt meadow. They appeared at that distance, with the rising sun striking them, quite light colored, the underparts of one being especially light, the other definitely tinted with and finely streaked with buffy across the breast. The birds were not as long-legged as the Greater Yellow-legs, of which many were present, but their bodies were fully equal in size. They were decidedly larger than Stilt Sandpipers which were close by for additional size comparison. The bodies were rather chunky, and when the birds stood at attention they reminded one, in general proportions and profile, very much of overgrown Buff-breasted Sandpipers.

The length of bill in relation to head conformed to that of the Ruff skins examined. The upper parts, while considerably darker than the breasts, seemed, when the birds took flight (they circled twice and lit gain), a bit lighter and burlier in color tone than the Greater Yellow-legs. The span in flight was somewhat less than in that species. The outstretched wings showed a narrow white line, contrasting noticeably when the birds were near at hand with the darker wing. The rump and tail showed two conspicuous white areas on the sides, divided by a darker medial line, broadening out at the tip of the tail. I got very satisfactory views at about 40 to 50 yards. The birds left when startled and did not return.

The fall specimens of the Ruff that I have examined show quite a variation in color and while I have not yet found one with underparts appearing as light as the lighter of the two birds seen, there was a September skin matching perfectly the color scheme and pattern of the darker bird. There was also more difference between the two most similar fall skins than between the two birds I observed. I have no hesitation in recording the birds as Ruffs. This is not the first Ocean County, N.J., record as I understand an adult female, taken at Barnegat, is in the Elliot collection at the American Museum of Natural History. CHARLES A. URNER, Elizabeth New Jersey.

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