Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 3, 2014: Long-billed Dowitcher
Where to find it: A single Long-billed Dowitcher has been present at the Birdseye Street boat ramp in Stratford for the past two weeks where it has been roosting along the shoreline. For a map, click here; for the Connecticut Coastal Access Guide, click here.
How to find it: Look for a larger-sized sandpiper sitting along the shoreline on the left (western) side of the boat ramp near the water’s edge.
What it looks like: Most common west of the Mississippi, this dowitcher is a stocky, grey-brown sandpiper about 11 inches long with a long bill about half the length of its body. The Long-billed Dowitcher can be distinguished from its close relative the Short-billed Dowitcher, not by the bill length, surprisingly (there is a miniscule difference!), but by its larger size, shorter wings and legs, and mostly by its flight call, a sharp “keek!”
What if the bird isn’t there: This boat ramp often winters American Coot, several duck species, Wilson’s Snipe, and an occasional Iceland Gull, so it is a good spot to put on your birding list! It is also close to our Milford Point Coastal Center and our Stratford Point coastal restoration area (which is generally open when staff is on site, Monday through Friday); the Milford-Stratford area offers some of the best birding in the state.
This week’s Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder was contributed by Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation for Connecticut Audubon Society.
Photos by Donna Caporaso.
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