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Yet another poorly-lit, flying, quiz subject; oh, joy.
Our bird seems to have long legs, as the feet appear to extend past the tail, but our angle may be throwing off that estimation; if it were right overhead, we could be a lot more sure about that feature. Though the bird may not be incredibly long-legged, we can see enough leg well enough to know that it is very far from short-legged (considering that we cannot see even the metatarsal joint – ankle, despite that length of visible leg). However, there are quite a few other features that seem less subjective, including the pale of the secondaries extending distally into a basal primary stripe that continues all the way the to the leading edge of the wing. There are really very few ABA-area bird species, regular or rare, that sports something like that. Additionally, the tail seems just about as pale as the secondaries and the apparently dark wing linings may actually be such.
With all of these clues, we can probably start amongst the shorebirds to find our solution. The extent of that wing stripe and the pale tail rule out the wing-striped godwit species, as well Common and Spotted sandpipers, and the two pied species of oystercatcher. Sanderling has a wing stripe like this, but our bird’s bill seems to stout-tipped and long to be that of a Sanderling, and the wing linings are awfully dark.
Hmm, does this all sound familiar? Perhaps, we might jump back a couple of quiz subjects and find very similar discussion about quiz subject 117. Though this is not the same individual, I did take this picture of an adult Willet at Rio Grande, Cape May Co., NJ, on 5 June 2012.
The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the January Bird Photo Quiz—Willet:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.