Looking at the photos that are included with Stacy Meyerheinrich's eBird checklist (link below) I would suggest the observers reconsider the ID. IMO this bird is very clearly a Dunlin, as proposed in a follow up posting by Steve Walter.
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39350964 Dunlins with very long and slightly decurved bills are typical of the North American subspecies, particularly *C. a. hudsonia* ('Hudsonian Dunlin'), which breeds in the central Canadian arctic and is the predominant migrant through coastal NYS. Individuals are frequently mistaken for Curlew Sandpiper, in large part because bill length is especially pronounced in females. When identifying shorebirds it's important to establish the age of the bird as this influences feather details, which can be critical. This bird looks to be transitioning into first basic plumage (i.e., first fall). Few of the upper part feathers (scapulars, wing coverts) have pale edging as would be expected for juvenile plumage; these edges have already abraded. The centers of the grayer feathers have a short dark central vein, this dark line is longer and often more prominent in Curlew Sands. Note also the very short supercilium (a characteristic feature of Hudsonian dunlin) which is limited to a pale arc above they eye. In Curlew Sandpiper this usually extends further forward and behind relative to the eye. As for the absence of dark central upper tail coverts ('white rump'), I've always found this is exceptionally difficult to assess with accuracy in the field. It's a negative mark, meaning you are hoping to see something that's not there. The central line could be hidden by the way the feathers are folded over each other. Although touted as a key mark in the field guides, Curlew Sandpipers often have dark spots and darker feathers peaking through so this is a very problematic field mark. Best ignored in favor of feather details (as discussed above) and structure such as leg length. Returning to the Jones Beach bird, the photos aren't ideal to assess uppertail coverts. There are hints of dark but I'm not sure exactly which feathers are involved. Certainly the images don't prove this point. You can read more about this reoccurring ID challenge in a feature I posted on OceanWanderers.com, many years, and many miles, ago. http://www.oceanwanderers.com/BSmallSHorebird.html Anyhow, sorry to throw water on the sighting. Regardless its always instructive to take a close, hard look at interesting birds and we should thank Stacy for getting the photos on line so quickly. Angus Wilson NYC/Springs, NY -- NYSbirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsWELCOME.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsRULES.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L 3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01 Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --