Bird was originally found on the Nampa CBC (12/23/2017) by Brian Cooper
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, Lower Dam Canal Outlet, Canyon County.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Reservoir surrounded by ag fields. Concrete/gravel water outlet for dam.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
I watched the bird for about 15 minutes. It was foggy and cold (26°F) The water in the outlet was partially frozen. Ground covered with snow.
I was approximately 20 feet from the Dunlin. Optics used - Vortex 10x42 HD.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, during the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Sibley Guide to North American Birds, David Sibley
The Shorebird Guide, Michael O'Brian
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Medium sized shorebird in non-breeding plumage. Dull, grayish brown back and head and some streaking on underparts. Heavier streaking was in breast area. It also had a long, drooping bill and dark legs.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
The Dunlin was in the water feeding by probing with it's bill. It was near a Killdeer that chased the Dunlin 4 times. The Dunlin moved off and continued to look for food.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I knew this bird was in the sandpiper family. It wasn't a peep because it was too large. Between the coloring of the bird, the bill length and droop and dark legs I knew it had to be a Dunlin. It also stooped over as it probed the water with it's bill.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
There are two sandpipers similar to the Dunlin in non-breeding plumage:
1. Curlew Sandpiper is similar in non-breeding plumage, but has white rump and slightly longer legs. It is more gray than the Dunlin which is grayish brown.
2. Purple Sandpiper in non-breeding plumage is darker, stouter, has short greenish yellow legs, and a bicolored bill
3. Rock Sandpiper is similar to the Dunlin in breeding plumage but not in non-breeding plumage.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I have seen this species 33 times in Idaho. My first sighting of a Dunlin was in 2012.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I have been birding since 1999. My level of expertise is good.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Photo and description support identification of Dunlin.
Diagnostic pics and description
good description and photos - similar species eleminated
This was a Dunlin in basic plumage.
Generally sufficient report, though would have liked that the observer considered and discussed Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus) which can be similar in full basic plumage. However, combination of good photos and mention of "dark legs" good enough for me to "accept" in this round.