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Old Jul 10, 2004, 4:29 AM   #11
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Please post, this bird is strange and I'd personally like to resolve the issue quickly, if possible,


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Old Jul 10, 2004, 9:30 AM   #12
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To all interested in what the second bird is...

I posted this image on birdforum.net (please, bobbyz, I hope that was ok with you and I stated the picture was not mine) and got back the following answer within 30 minutes:

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Yes, that's a Least Sandpiper.

And you've a good shot of it there showing what's called rhynchokinesis - in most (if not all) shorebirds, the bill is flexible and under a degree of muscular control, they can bend the mandibles like that, to help them catch their prey. Not something seen very often as they mainly do it when the bill is stuck into the mud where the food is, but sometimes you can see it when the bird is yawning, like here.

I'm schooled in wildlife biology and been heavy into birding off and on for 40 years and I'm ashamed that I'd never heard of rhynchokinesis before. You learn something new every day!!!!

Geoff


(Edit: For anyone that might be interested, here is a webpage with a picture of a snipe that is exhibiting rynchokinesis. It seems that this mechanism in shorebirds is something that has only been discovered in the last 10 years or so?)


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Old Jul 10, 2004, 9:59 AM   #13
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Geoffs thanks for your help.

I was able to get a better shot last evening. Here it is. I observed these birds closely as they were feasting on some critters buried in the mud flats of palo alto baylands preserve.



There were hunderds of these birds. Wish I had a wide angle lens. Here is one of the shots taken with my telephoto.


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Old Jul 11, 2004, 8:26 PM   #14
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Rynchokinesis is the missing info link, cool...andto a degreeexasperating in the sense that, even ifI see something strange the answer lies somewhere in the realm of that book I haven't yet read or the fact thatI haven't yet dawned mask and snorkel to watch the bird feeding underwater. Another good reason to leave the identifications up to you guys.

Thanks for solving the dilemma geoff
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Old Jul 11, 2004, 8:39 PM   #15
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Normcar wrote:
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Another good reason to leave the identifications up to you guys.
No, no, keep on trying to id the birds Norm. Look at how much you are learning (and me too in the process!)
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Old Jul 11, 2004, 11:31 PM   #16
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Not to worry, I'm not a quitter, just a complainer. My complaining drives me.
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Old Jul 16, 2004, 4:02 PM   #17
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That follow-up shot clinches the ID well - a classic Least: thin slightly decurved bill and greenish/yellowish legs. Plumage coloration is also a hint - browner than the other peeps, although this can fool you in bad light, and that's what you usually have with Charidrii, bad light. ID is difficult without any way to gauge size.

The bill flexing was a new one on me too - COOL
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Old Jul 16, 2004, 5:02 PM   #18
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Hi toxomerus - you sound like another birder! Good! We need some additional expertise. Some of the bird pictures posted can be confusing...
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