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By adamj008
Hi there.

I took this photo at Iona last week and just want to confirm the ID's of these birds.

The bird on the left I know is a Western Sandpiper. The one on the right I am not so confident about. Its proportions and size points to a Western Sandpiper (mainly bill length and legs) but the markings are not quite the same as other Western Sandpipers.

I'm also a bit unsure about the dowitcher in the centre. I'm thinking it's a long-billed due to the bill proportion to the head.


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By Owlet
Both of the birds are Western Sandpipers, I am pretty sure. The color and patterning can vary between individuals of a species and what stage of molt they are in, but the difference isn't big enough to be that much of an ID problem. Least Sandpipers, the most common 'peep' at the Iona Sewage Lagoons, have yellow legs which is not the case for these. Semipalmated's are tougher, but they have shorter blacker bills and are much more gray in overall color. Dunlins have a large black patch on the belly, and other sandpipers that would look similar would be major rarities such as Long-Toed, Temminicks and Red-Necked Stint.

The dowitchers are a whole other case (not very good at IDing them) but from what I've seen is that almost always Long-Billeds in the ponds. They are also more accustomed to fresh water environments, such as the sewage lagoons. Barring vs. Spotting (LBDO and SBDO respectively) are a ususally reliable ID feature and I would say yours is barring so I would go with Long-Billed.

Voice is the best characteristic (although i am not great at utilizing it for ID of most species) but here they are if you would like to compare!

Long-Billed Dowitcher ... her/sounds

Short-Billed Dowitcher[/b ... her/sounds

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