Birders notoriously find it difficult to tell Short-billed and Long-billed Dowitchers apart. I have got a request to do an identification explanation on them so here goes, I hope it will be helpful.
Short-billed Dowitchers and Long-billed look so similar. Using their habitat is helpful but not diagnostic. Short-billed Dowitchers tend to prefer Salt water and brackish water and Long-billed Dowitchers tend to prefer fresh water. However, I have OFTEN seen Short-billeds in freshwater and Long-billeds in brackish and salt water.
Therefore, DO NOT rely on habitat.
Another feature many people will tell you to rely on is spotting on the side of the flanks of Short-billeds and barring on the side of Long-billeds. Usually this is a mark that you can use but it is not always as distinct as you like. I have seen Short-billeds with a barred appearance to the flanks. It is only at the side of the breast where you have to look for this diagnostic feature for the spots on a Short-billed and the bar…
As per request, here are some tips that I hope will be helpful in identifying and differentiating Red-necked Stint from Little Stint. I will also do a brief intro on Long-toed and Temminck's Stint... if you build it they will come right?😉
I get several questions about the difference between accipiters. The most common ones are between Sharp-shinned Hawks and Cooper's Hawks and between Cooper's Hawks vs Northern Goshawks (to a lesser degree). Next, I get many questions dealing with a certain race of buteos the Western Red-tailed Hawk and Harlan's. So I thought I would do a post on these to help answer those questions.
I will deal with Cooper's and Sharpies and not Goshawks because they are much more common here and look much more alike. My friend John Reynolds inspired me to write this up.
COOPER'S AND SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS EYE COLOUR - YELLOW OR ORANGE? RED? Normally a juvenile Cooper's hawk has a bright yellow eye and a Juvie Sharpie has a orange eye but some cooper's can have a dull yellow eye that looks a bit orangish. Cooper's Hawks usually only transition to the orange eye colour when they are sub adults, so in good light, it's a very very reliable feature. However you can't rel…
By now you have probably heard about the racist Canadian-born White woman who did a racist attack on a Black birder named Christian Cooper in Central Park in NYC. All he asked was for her to leash her dog in a on-leash dog area. If you haven't heard of this story you can watch the video and read about it HERE. It's a vile video of a vile person who knew her White privilege and used it as a weapon against this man.
We all know that in America many Black people especially Black men are killed by police for no reason at all but the colour of their skin. A good example is George Floyd who was killed by a police officer (while 3 other cops looked on) for what they said was a possible 20$ forged bill. The White police officer put a knee on his neck on camera for over 8 mins until he died, despite having the victim completely restrained, begging for mercy and not being able to breathe. Only one police officer was charged and not for 1st degree murder but third and manslaughter.
Seeing an owl anytime is special, they are rare and beautiful and when they look at you, you are entranced. You can't blame people for being excited when they see one. It's a thrill! Especially when you see ones that you don't normally see in the area you live, like the ones from the Boreal. This year I successfully completed an owl big year, seeing all 19 North American Species. So no one has to tell me twice, how special they are.
Speaking of Owls, here is a gorgeous photo of a painting of a Snowy Owl that young birder Viktor Vandereyk completed recently. Man these youth are talented!
It seems this year may be a flight year for Snowy Owls in the Lower
Mainland. Time will tell. Snowy Owls are here now and getting lots of
attention. Photos are posted on Facebook and sightings are all over eBird.
This year many incidents have occurred already. People have witnessed a Snowy Owl flushed 4 times in 30 mins by photographers approaching it on both sides. Another one was ca…