I would have liked to have have photographed some juvie Long-billed Dowitchers for comparison but they don't seem to be down yet. Adult shorebirds migrate south before the youngsters and juvenals are just starting to show up. The Adult Long-billed Dowitchers were in various states of alternate (breeding) plumage moulting into basic (winter) plumage.
Rex and Birgit Stanford dropped by so Rex and I got into some vigorous shorebird identification discussion. A Least Sandpiper in its scaly rusty juvenile plumage was my first for the fall. Compare it to the worn adult. Notice the narrow bill that tapers to a droopy tip. Actually I'm starting to think the adult is in fresh winter plumage.
A small group of juvie Semipalmated Sandpipers had me scratching my head for a few minutes. Don't go looking for webbed toes in this mud. The brownish gray scaly plumage and short thick bill are field marks. Rex was looking for leg color which is black for Semipalms and yellow for Least but legs were muddy today.
A couple of juvenile Western Sandpipers were only slightly larger but the longer drooping bills really stand out. Plumage often has some rusy feathers on the scapulars and the faint streaking on the sides of the breast is a good field mark.
By now it should be evident that juvenile shorebirds exhibit pale feather edgings that give them a scaly appearance. Even this Spotted Sandpiper shows some pale feather edgings in the wings.
A young Black-necked Stilt with pale feather edges.
Here's an adult Solitary Sandpiper with a moulting adult Lesser Yellowlegs. The dark center to the barred tail makes IDing a Solitary in flight pretty easy. Some of the speckles are still present on the old breeding plumage on this adult Solitary.
Congrats if you made it this far! Here's a couple of lists for the day.
Hwy 490 and Brushline, Hidalgo, Texas, US
Aug 19, 2015 10:45 AM - 1:20 PM Protocol: Stationary 18 species Cattle Egret 2 Green Heron 2 White-faced Ibis 8 Common Gallinule 2 Black-necked Stilt 10 Killdeer 3 Spotted Sandpiper 2 Solitary Sandpiper 2 Greater Yellowlegs 1 Lesser Yellowlegs 8 Stilt Sandpiper 270 Least Sandpiper 15 Semipalmated Sandpiper5 Western Sandpiper 2 Short-billed Dowitcher 3 Long-billed Dowitcher 63 Wilson's Phalarope 2 Gull-billed Tern 1
Hargill Playa, Hidalgo, Texas, US Aug 19, 2015 8:20 AM - 10:40 AM Protocol: Stationary 33 species Fulvous Whistling-Duck 1 Northern Pintail 1 continuing female Neotropic Cormorant 4 Great Egret 2 Snowy Egret 12 Tricolored Heron 1 Cattle Egret 1 Roseate Spoonbill 2 Turkey Vulture 1 Black-necked Stilt 20 American Avocet 15 Snowy Plover 4 Wilson's Plover 1
Killdeer 2 Spotted Sandpiper 2 Greater Yellowlegs 8 Least Sandpiper 20 Western Sandpiper 5 Long-billed Dowitcher 1 Wilson's Phalarope 8 Laughing Gull 12 Least Tern 1 Gull-billed Tern 25 carefully counted Caspian Tern 1 Black Tern 7 Forster's Tern 1 Black Skimmer 4 Mourning Dove 1 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 3 Horned Lark 1
Northern Mockingbird 1 Cassin's Sparrow 1 Dickcissel 1