Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Long-billed Dowitcher

According to Matthiessen, the name “Dowitcher” may derive from revolutionary times, when Hessians, who avidly hunted them, called these shorebirds “Deutscher Snipe.” Gruson, however, states that the name is derived from Iroquoian word for snipe, “tawistawis" (AllExperts).

This dowitcher flock loafed in the marsh at the entrance to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. I was not sure of their identification, although I suspected them to be Long-billed Dowitchers. With my scope, their flanks appeared to be barred rather than spotted. Also eBird gave me a hint—the Long-billed is the only dowitcher to be expected at this location on 3 March. Another advantage to birding with eBird is that, when you see a bird flagged as rare, you know you really should take a photo—even a poor one—to back up your sighting.

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