Dowitchers

On my recent trip to the beach I got some nice shots of Short-Billed Dowitchers, as I usually do. I had some of the best lighting conditions I’ve ever had when shooting them. It was full sunshine, coming from over my shoulder instead of from behind them as it often does. It’s hard to imagine how I could get a better closeup than this.

Short-Billed Dowitcher

I even managed to get a nice shot of a small flock of them on an “island” as the tide rose.

Short-Billed Dowitchers I’d entirely forgot I got this shot because I was focusing on getting good shots of the Ruddy Turnstone, a much rarer sighting.

I guess I took both of these shots for granted and didn’t post them because I usually see dowitchers during Spring and Fall migration, and they lack the bright plumage of a Ruddy Turnstone or Western Sandpiper.

So, it seemed a little strange to me that I got excited when a small flock of dowitchers (John Riegsecker told me these are actually Long-Billed Dowitchers, not the Short-Billed I shot at the beach) landed in the Theler wetlands during my last walk there.

Long-Billed DowShortitchers

I must admit this was an “action” shot compared to most shots I get of them when they’re focused on feeding.

I also like this rather strange “line-up” shot.

Long-Billed Dowitchers

I even spent more time than I should have trying to get a better shot of this dowitcher that was hidden behind the trees between the trail and the refuge (looks remarkably similar to the shot above, though definitely not as good).

Long-Billed Dowitcher Familiarity doesn’t necessarily produce “contempt,” but it may well produce indifference. If we’re lucky, something may happen that will make us see the familiar in a new way. Short-Billed Dowitcher

2 thoughts on “Dowitchers

    • Well, the two at the top are Short-Billed, while the group at Theler are apparently Long-Billed. Even experienced birders have a hard time telling the difference between short and long billed dowitchers. A sighting of dowitchers often sparks a lively discussion over whether they are long-billed or short-billed dowitchers. Personally, I can’t tell the difference in the field and don’t particularly try to. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says, “Long-billed Dowitcher is extremely similar [to short-billed] and difficult to distinguish in most plumages.”

What do you think?