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Devereux is perfect.....for the "Short-billed Western Sandpiper"!

Joan Lentz <joanlentz@...>
 

Hi All: This morning was so much fun—lots of shorebirds packing in and out of Devereux as water levels are dropping. The list hasn’t been posted to eBird yet, but wanted to give you the highlights.
Every year, there’s always the search for the first Semipalmated Sandpiper, a rarity amongst our Western and Least Sandpipers, and every year I mid-identify a “short-billed Western Sandpiper”, thinking it’s a Semipalmated Sandpiper. Never mind, it’s a humbling experience, but who cares? Figuring out shorebirds when they’re this close to Slough Rd. is what it’s all about. This morning we (Libby, Glenn, and myself) thought we had a candidate, but it didn’t pass the test of taking the photos home and looking at them! Alas. Indeed, bill length is variable in Western Sandpipers, and for Semi Sand you need a short, tubular bill that’s even to the tip; our candidate had a short bill, but it tapered. It’s so amazing how you can’t tell this well in the field, but it comes out in the photos.
Other highlights were an avocet, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, 2 Greater Yellowlegs, 5 Wilson’s and 7 Red-necked Phalaropes, 5 or 6 Black-bellied Plovers, many Semipalmated Plovers, a dowitcher (sp.), 3 Caspian Terns, and many peeps. Of the ones we could identify close by, on the eastern side of the slough, there were about 20 Westerns and about 6 Least Sandpipers. But there were a lot of birds over on the western side, which were too far for i.d.
Happy humbling experience!!

Joan Lentz
Santa Barbara

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Joan Lentz
Santa Barbara