20 Mile South Farm to the south of Boise - Farm managed by City of Boise
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Agriculture land. Initially in a fallow part of the field, then flew to alfa alfa area before moving to another fallow field
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Initially seen for about 15 minutes at about 30m distance before flying off to another field. About 15 minutes later we re-found the bird at greater distance ... about 100m when everyone got to see the bird. I can't remember the exact weather conditions but there was no wind and it was warmish. No heat haze. I have a pair of Zeiss 10x42 and was using a swarovski zoom scope.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, during the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
No, not at all
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Seen along side a pair of Long-billed Curlew. A little smaller and more compact than the male of the Curlew pair. More grayer in general appearance than the curlews without the buffish tones with the typical "curlew-like" de-curved beak and long legged look of this shorebird. The dark stripe through the eye and on crown was very obvious as was the less pronounced de-curved beak when compared with the male curlew. In flight gave its characteristic trill call a couple of times.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Feeding with a pair of long-billed Curlews, probing in the short vegetation ... running very short distances before probing and then walking on a little further. Flew off with the curlew pair before landing in a more distant field.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I was carrying out Curlew work for IBO and was therefore searching for Curlews. Initially I was a little confused as I saw the two curlews, then the Whimbrel and then didn't see it again for a moment so I thought I had been mistaken before seeing all three birds together. It was very obvious straight away then. The striped head pattern, smaller size and lack of buffy tones were key to the ID ... and the flight call helped to verify the species
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
From Long-billed Curlew by head stripes, call and lack of buffy tones.
From Bristle thighed Curlew by lack of buffy rump and call.
from other Asian / Eurasian species by call and general size and plumage details noted above
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I have seen Whimbrels in many locations throughout the world and as vagrants in central Oregon. I was carrying out Long-billed Curlew work so was very comfortable separating the sexes of this species on most occasions (especially the shorter billed birds of western idaho). I have seen most of the curlew species world-wide whilst travelling and birding.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
grew up in the UK and started birding when i was very young. I have traveled widely and birded in many countries. I have worked in bird conservation for a number of years carrying out banding, bird counts and behavioral observations. I have led birding tours and field trips. A certified bird nut!
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
ebird list here and a very bad photo taken through scope ... https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55656304
Jay got a video and posted to IBLE?
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Description and photo support identification of Whimbrel.
good description eliminated similar shorebirds - photo helped some
I'm convinced that this was a Whimbrel.
Description is good. The photograph helps support the description.
Excellent report with comparative analysis to other curlews. Diagnostic photo also helps.
Diagnostic photo and good written description including of vocalizations.