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A potentially helpful ID tool this time of year is primary molt.  Short-billed do not undergo wing molt this time of year, but Long-billed would be in active primary molt, thus fly-by birds would typically show large gaps in the inner-to-mid primaries.  This is undoubtedly one of the main reasons Long-billed are not expected quite yet.

Chris Hobbs
Shawnee, KS
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Hazelwood, Susan" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 8:18 am
Subject: Dowitcher ID

> From: Edge Wade <[log in to unmask]>
>
> Date: Mon Jul 26, 2004 07:41:02 PM US/Central
>
> To: Mobirds Mobirds <[log in to unmask]>
>
> Subject: Dowitcher i.d.
>
>
>
> I suspect many would be interested in further discussion of dowitcher
> i.d. The message below was just on the San Diego listserve. Please
> notethat he does NOT refer to differences in subspecies. Those
> that stray to
> the UK may not be the subspecies we get in the interior.
>
> Edge Wade
>
> Columbia, MO
>
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
> From: [log in to unmask]
>
> Date: Mon Jul 26, 2004 05:29:40 AM US/Central
>
> To: [log in to unmask]
>
> Subject: [SDBIRDS] Dowitcher identification
>
>
>
> Hi Drew
>
>
>
> The separation of dowitchers is a very difficult pastime and as both
> species
>
> are so rare here in the UK we study them in great detail. They are
> best
>
> separated in JUVENILE/1st WINTER plumage when under good viewing
> conditions,
>
> differences can be found in the tertial pattern. Short-billed
> Dowitchertends to have
>
> quite rufous-toned internal barring or notching in the feathers whilst
> the
>
> tertials of Long-billed are plain and grey. Furthermore, young
> Short-billeds
>
> tend to be much brighter and richer in colouration (even on the crown)
> until
>
> mid-September.
>
>
>
> Adults or first-summers are much more problematical but tend to
> have a
> very
>
> slight primary projection beyond the tail and on average show more
> whitein the
>
> tail barring. Bill length of both species is extremely variable and
> therefore
>
> an unreliable tool of identification.
>
>
>
> At any time and any age, the call of the two species is
> diagnostic. The
>
> Long-billed utters a short, sharp 'yip' or 'kyip', generally uttered
> singly or when
>
> disturbed three times in quick succession. Short-billed is
> markedly
>
> different, being fast and very clear. It is a clear double or triple
> 'tudu', somewhat
>
> similar to Common Greenshank.
>
>
>
> Although Short-billed is known to undertake southward migration up
> to a
> month
>
> earlier than Long-billed and is by far the much commoner species down
> the
>
> Pacific Seaboard, it would be unwise to assume that all early
> returningbirds
>
> were of this species. With good views and a little patience, these
> superb birds
>
> are 'do-able'
>
>
>
> All the very best and Good Birding Always
>
>
>
> LEE G R EVANS
>
> UK400 Club, Rare Birds Magazine & Ornithological Consultancy
>
> Discussion Forum/Email Group:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UK400Club/
>
> Email Address: [log in to unmask]
>
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>
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> [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
> 8 Sandycroft Road
>
> Little Chalfont
>
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>
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>
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>
> Mobile/Texting: 07881 906629
>
> (Specialising in and documenting Rare Bird occurrences around the
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>
>
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