Date: 1/22/19 11:38 am From: Frank Mantlik via CTBirds <ctbirds...> Subject: Re: [CT Birds] 2016 Avon - Curlew Sandpiper?
Hello David,Thank you for your post about a very interesting shorebird that you observed and photographed in Avon in Sept 2016. Several of the state's top birders saw your eBird list with three photos, and we agree it is an unusual bird. It is clearly not a typical Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, nor Dunlin. (The photo of a shorebird by Lea Shaw earlier does look like a Pectoral Sandpiper to me). Several of us think that your bird might be a "Cox's" Sandpiper. This is a little known taxa that was once (1955?) thought to be a new species, but since with the aid of DNA analysis, is described as a hybrid between Pectoral and Curlew Sandpipers. While the photos aren't great, your bird seems to exhibit a decurved, fine-tipped bill (recalling Curlew Sandpiper), a heavily-patterned breast (like Pectoral Sandpiper), and dull greenish/dark legs. Several of us think the bird looks too "leggy" and the bill too uniformly decurved for an aberrant Pectoral. Cox's Sandpiper has occurred in Australia, Japan, and a juvenile from Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts (Sept. 1987- a bird which I chased, but did not see). Another possibility would be Pectoral X Dunlin. I/we would love to see the original photos, if possible. Thanks much for bringing this to our attention. Hopefully others will also chime in On Monday, January 21, 2019, 8:00:06 PM EST, David Lawton via CTBirds <ctbirds...> wrote:
Spent a couple hours this evening uploading photos from various birding trips over the past few years and happened upon some ID photos from a bird I believe I misidentified as a Pectoral Sandpiper at Fisher Meadows in September 2016 (light wasn't great and I believe one had been reported there... so I was biased). I took some photos but didn't study them, until this evening.
Here is the eBird report, with the photos I uploaded and my thinking re the ID: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S31659641 Here is the description based on going through the photos and looking at a lot of books and photos online:
I have been adding photos I've taken over the past several years to eBird sightings. When I came upon this bird that I had identified as a Pectoral Sandpiper previously, I realized it didn't look quite right. Even a juvenile Pectoral doesn't have a bill like that. Bill is long and downcurved. Scaly above (unlike Dunlin, and base of bill thinner than Dunlin); stature not like Stilt Sandpiper, and bill not as thick. Bairds would be scaly but not as reddish and would not have quite the long, decurved bill and greater primary projection. Appreciate any comments, but it sure looks like a Curlew Sandpiper to me. The contrasty breast is not typical for Curlew S. but some juveniles have it more than others. Note in one photo (with Semipalmated Sandpiper, the white blotch by the throat, I believe, is a plant and not part of the bird.