Studying basic plumaged Dowitchers is either stimulating, entertaining, head-scratching, exasperating or all of the previous. Tom Smith found a presumed Long-billed Dowitcher (LBDO) at Kitchell Lake, Loantaka Brook Reservation in Harding/Morris Townships on Saturday, Nov. 10. It has been many years, if not decades, since a LBDO has been reported in Morris County. The LBDO was viewed again this morning, Sunday, Nov. 11 by this author, Simon Lane and Jamie Glydon. All concurred that it is probably a LBDO. Using all available resources but especially the American Birding Association’s Birding article located at http://www.aba.org/birding/v38n5p34.pdf reinforces this conclusion
This is a brief summary of identification features. Any more detail and this post may not see the Internet until much later.
- Time of year – November, could be either species, although common practice in New Jersey is to lean towards LBDO. Inconclusive.
- Jizz – if it’s plump, chunky and the back is rounded like a grapefruit, it’s LBDO. This individual showed that sometimes but was flat-backed on others. Inconclusive
- Unspotted breast, unstreaked face – leans heavily towards LBDO.
- Tail appears darker than hendersoni and caurinus. Not sure of griseus. Lean towards LBDO.
- Forehead slope is shallow unlike steeper SBDO. Leans towards LBDO.
- Supercillium lacks the flared appearance in the front of SBDO – appears thinner and straighter. Leans toward LBDO.
- Is there a narrow loral angle?
- And on it goes. The individual “looks” more like the LBDO on page 37 of the Birding article.
Tom Smith’s photos taken yesterday are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsmzth/8173674747
Following are photos taken this morning.