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Hi Folks... since I am no shorebird wizard I was hoping for some expert
input. Sorry, no photos.

Went down to Horseshoe Lake, IL to look for the ruff, which I did not find,
although a handful of black terns was a nice consolation prize. Then went to
the boat launch on the 111 side. The lake here is gone, just mud and grass
and dying cattails. A few shorebirds out there, and one in particular caught
my eye:

overall size similar to killdeer
bill was short, straight, and yellow with black tip
face was a plain grey with minimal markings and a prominant dark eye
face was lighter at the base of the bill
dark cap with a thin white stripe at the crown
neck and chest very light with fine streaking, no abrubt edge
white belly
deliberate streaking on flanks, perpendicular to the wing edge
complicated pattern of markings on back and wings
legs were lightish, but not bright yellow or orange

Also, the behavior was not the same as the other birds around who were quite
active. This one stayed in the same spot for the 30 min. or so that I was
there. It rarely moved, but when it did it made very slow steps as if
hunting. Never saw it pounce or peck or eat anything...

The best match I found was upland sandpiper, but I did not appreciate an
especially long neck, and I have not heard of this species at Horseshoe
before. But I have never been there when there was no water however...

If anyone has any other ideas, I'd love to hear them.

-Steven Ewer
St. Louis

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