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Dowitcher - July 19, 2004

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.

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Unless explicitly indicated otherwise in the photo caption, all photos on this website were taken by and are 2003-2013 by Geoff Malosh. Unauthorized usage of these photographs for any purpose is strictly forbidden. If you are interested in using any photo for publication or if you are interested in obtaining a print, contact me at pomarine -AT- earthlink -DOT- net.