Long-billed Dowitcher at Bald Knob, Allegheny County, PA
This (silent) dowitcher was one of three present at Bald Knob on July 19, but the identification is not straightforward.
It shows characteristics that can lead to identification as either Long-billed or Short-billed, but the majority verdict, having
been deliberated by some of Western PA's finest birdbrains for nearly a month, has come back as Long-billed. Along
with many others, I believe this bird to be a Long-billed, and as such it represents the first record for Long-billed
Dowitcher for Allegheny County and a very early date for PA in general!
An interesting footnote after the fact was the poor breeding season for shorebirds in general in the Arctic during 2004.
This dowitcher was the first of three long-billed dowitcher reports thoughout Pennsylvania in a one-week span in mid-July,
all indicating an early southerly movement of Long-billeds this year. Perhaps the horrendous Arctic summer forced a large
number of early migrants south--accounting for PA's mini-invasion of Long-billed Dowitchers in July.