I hate to do this - and I saw the bird in question - but it looks like a
Dunlin to me. While I wait to see other people's photographs showing a white
rump, I've gone over my pictures. All other characteristics are perfectly in
line with what a juvenile Dunlin might exhibit in late September. Most
importantly, the breast is streaked with black. I don't know of any plumage
of Curlew Sandpiper that would have that. The upperparts are rather typical
of a juvenile's molt. Gray feathers have replaced most of the juvenile
feathers on the back. The coverts and tertials are still juvenile, with some
of the latter still showing some rufous edging. There is one rufous feather
in the scapulars; often there will be a couple more. The bill, while on the
longer extreme of Dunlin bill length, doesn't appear to be out of range. I
could find a few others in my photo collection of the same length and
curvature. The bird's overall structure, including thick neck and large
head, also favor Dunlin.

 

 

Steve Walter

Bayside, NY


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