Friday, August 14

Shore Birds at Bear Butte Lake

I did go to Bear Butte Lake on Wed. to look for shore birds. The bobolinks were an added bonus. Besides white pelicans, cormorants, and killdeer, I saw some of those "sandpiper-like" hard-to-ID waders along the E shore (past the sign w/ a line slashed through a car shape on it, oopsie...)

My best guess is that these are Wilson's phalaropes, possibly going into their winter plumage, or females...?

There were several lesser yellowlegs wading around. I managed to creep closer for better pics w/o causing much disturbance.

Trying to ID a "sand-piper-like" shore bird is quite the cheap thrill. Fortunately, one can narrow it down by leg color, bill length, and the regions the bird is found in. Having done so, I believe this is a willit.
Update: My 2nd ID choice for this bird was to say it's a short-billed dowitcher. With reader Hap's input, and closer examination, this would seem to be the dowitcher, not a willit.


  1. Hi Jann, I agree, those look like Wilson's
    Phalaropes to me too, possibly immatures or
    fall plumaged; liked the Lesser Yellowlegs,
    but not sure about that Willet. With Willet,
    you should notice the large black and white
    marking on the wings. I believe you have a
    dowitcher here, probably a Short-billed, but
    I am uncomfortable id'ing them without hearing
    them call. Terrific photography!
    Hap in New Hope (MN)

  2. Hap, I wondered about the 'willit' being the short-billed (yea right the thing's a mile long) dowitcher! You're probably right. I read about those black/white markings, I thought maybe they were on the underside but I guess not. Thanks for your input.

  3. Your photos are so nice Jann...and every time your page opens I'm struck by the beauty of the stone bridge...just like I was with the painted pony!

  4. Jann, I was just wondering are you self taught, or have you took any type photography lessons...

  5. Great job again, Jann. Keep the pictures coming.

  6. Like the waders J'ellen. They are very difficult to ID at this time of year, what with all the Juv. plumages and moulting adult birds.