A Discovery

My wife Linda and I took a walk to the beach and back with Toby, our yellow lab, today. It was a nice walk, with an unexpected surprise: As we were on our way back, we found a dead bird next to the sidewalk. I snapped a few photos with my phone; I’m going to put them below the fold in case people don’t want to see pictures of a dead bird.

Here’s the first view I had of the bird (click for a larger image):

The first thing I thought was that it was a Short-billed Dowitcher, a bird I see pretty frequently at the nearby Carpinteria Salt Marsh. So I flipped the bird over, expecting to see the long white stripe up the back that a dowitcher has. Instead, I saw this:

I wasn’t sure, but I wondered: Could it be a Common Wilson’s Snipe? It’s a bird that I know lives around here, but for whatever reason I’ve never seen one. So I got home and checked the field guide, and yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was: a Common Wilson’s Snipe. Pretty cool (albeit sad; I wish I could have seen it alive).

My wife and I speculated about what had happened to it. My guess is it flew into a telephone pole, or a street light.

Update: idbirds pointed out in chat that the Common Snipe was split into two species, Common and Wilson’s, a few years ago, and that this bird would be the Wilson’s Snipe. I’ve got to get a new field guide. 🙂

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