Aug 30 2012

If Only They Were All This Easy

Published by at 7:30 am under Water and Shore

At this time of year I swear I'm "shorebird challenged."   Some days I can barely identify them.

A couple of years ago I learned to look at legs and beaks ... leg color, beak color, leg length, beak length, beak shape ... but I forget what I've learned and get them mixed up and I have to start over.

None of their names come easy.  Except this one.

When a black-bellied plover opens his wings his armpits give him away.  His black belly turns white in the winter but he never loses his black axillaries.

The only trick is to get him to open his wings.

I wish all shorebirds were this easy.

(photo by Chuck Tague)


3 responses so far

3 Responses to “If Only They Were All This Easy”

  1. Carol Smithon 30 Aug 2012 at 9:46 am

    Thank you for pointing this out. So far, I have only seen these birds in winter when to identify them as black-bellied plovers seems so completely wrong.

  2. kcon 30 Aug 2012 at 10:28 am

    I have to laugh sometimes at the seemingly strange statements only birders understand. For instance, “I knew it was a black-bellied plover because it had black armpits.” When I was fairly new to birding one spring, I was happy to see a certain bird in breeding plumage vs. its fall garb. I said to my birding friend who knew exactly what I meant, “Today I spotted a spotted spotted sandpiper.”

  3. Kate St. Johnon 30 Aug 2012 at 12:26 pm

    kc, that is so true it made me laugh out loud!

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