Shoreline consisting of mud with some grass and willows.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Length of observation about 30 minutes. Distance about 40 yards with Nikon 10x binocs and Swarovski 80mm scope with 20-60x eyepiece. Sun was high in the sky and from the side of the bird. Wind was light and sky was clear. Temp about 60 degrees.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, later the same day
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Smallish shorebird larger than a peep or Sanderling (present for comparison) and similar in size to Killdeer (also present for comparison). Body was chunky. Bill was black and kind of long, heavy (though not as heavy as Willet), tapered towards the tip and slightly drooping. Upper parts gray with some scaps having orange center, black bars across the feathers, black shaft streak, and white tips giving the upperparts a brightly patterned gray/black/orange/white appearance. Nape and crown mottled gray. Face, sides of neck, breast, flanks, and belly back to the legs were clean orange with no streaks or barring. Vent, real flanks and undertail coverts white with black spots on rear of flanks. Legs were dark but I could not say what color.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Foraging by probing in ground on edge of reservoir. Did not move around much, spending all the time we were there going back and forth along about 20 feet of shoreline.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I first saw the bird standing still and partially screened by willows. I could see it was larger than a nearby Sanderling and was kind of chunky bodies. I moved to the side until I had an unobstructed view and could see the patterned upperparts, contrast between pale crown and darker face, and longish heavy bill so I suspected Red Knot. When I finally could make out a hint of orange on the flanks I knew my suspicion was correct.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
No other shorebird could be easily confused with breeding Red Knot. Short-billed Dowitcher is similar in overall pattern but has a much longer bill, flanks and breast sides with black markings, and usually less white below (at least the expected cuarinus ssp has less white).
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
Limited to one observation each of breeding (3 individuals), non-breeding adult (4 individuals), and one juvenile. I've spent quite a bit of time studying dowitchers during spring migration at this location for approximately the past 15 years.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
Roughly 24 years. I'd say I'm an advanced intermediate level birder regarding shorebird identification.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Diagnostic pics of unmistakable bird
well documented including photo and video
Photo and video are good
Excellent and convincing report!
Great report with all key field marks mentioned. Diagnostic photo and video support an accept vote.
Diagnostic photos, video, and detailed written description. No provenance issues.
Well documented report. Photo, video and description all confirm proper identification of a alternate plumage Red Knot.